When you talk about FC Liverpool, inevitable, the name of Steven Gerrard passes through your mind. How could it be different when the boy from Merseyside is on Anfield since a life-time?! Born on the 30th of May 1980, Gerrard is pushing 33 years, which in field presences this can be translate into 721 matches! Exactly, 721 appearances for only two teams: FC Liverpool and the England national team. Until the date he featured in 620 official games for ‘The Reds’ and in 101 for the ‘Albion’. Stevie G came at Liverpool in 1989, when he was nine years and witnessed from the ‘location’ of the last important achievements that the squad from Anfield managed in European football: the English national championship. At the end of the 1989-1990 season, Liverpool won the 18th and last, until our days, national title. It was a record at that moment, but many changes and events succeeded in the last nearly two and a half decades.
First of all, in early ’90, the generic name of the English first league became Premier League, but ‘The Reds’ didn’t win yet any of its editions! Before the rename of the competition, FC Liverpool was the record holder of the most titles won in English football. But the situation isn’t the same now, because Manchester United came strongly from behind and under Sir Alex Ferguson put in the club’s trophy room a total of 12 such distinctions which, alongside the other seven from the before Premier League era, gather a total of 19 trophies! Probably, this year will bring the 20th one and so Liverpool decreased drastically at this chapter in front of Gerrard’s eyes who was named captain of the team a decade ago. A nightmare can say, for a player that still dreams to win a Premier League title before retirement. At least one, if not as many as needed to equalize or even overcome the great rival from Manchester. This last part is very tough, considering that Stevie G is already, almost, 33 years old. But who might answer straightly to such a question?
Only Gerrard trough his performances! And believe me, they aren’t few! From 1998, when he made his first appearance at Liverpool, in a game against Blackburn Rovers and until now, a decade and a half passed and in this period in Stevie’s personal ‘trophy room’ eleven top achievements are standing: a Champions League (2005), an UEFA Cup (2001), two European Super Cups (2001, 2005), two FA Cups (2001, 2006), three League Cups (2001, 2003, 2012) and two Charity Shields (2001, 2006)! Impressive a can say, but the gap generated by the absence of a national title makes this collection an incomplete one… Both for Gerrard and for his team! A undeserved frustration for a symbol, a man who turned down many good offers to remain at Liverpool, even though at some points he was tempted to leave the club because of the uncertain perspectives regarding trophy winning. Still, his will to play on Anfiled outcome all other feelings and the best first example was when in his teenage he receive an offer from Manchester United and he negotiated with the great rival but not because he wanted to go there, but because he wanted to attract the attention of Liverpool’s officials to give him a contract.
His first years at Liverpool were dreamful as he won four important trophies only in 2001, but the further perspectives pushed him to think about the large number of offers that came into his mail box. Chelsea and Real Madrid were, at different points, very close to have him in the squad, but eventually Stevie G changed his mind and continued becoming a legend in his native grounds. The reword came disguised in a Champions League trophy, which Liverpool haven’t won in twenty years. It was the fifth in their European history, one thanks to which they’re still England’s number one squad. Alongside those eleven distinctions, Gerrard also holds a personal record, one very hard to be concurred indifferent about which player we are talking about. The midfielder is the only man to have scored in four different finals such are UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup! All these in the conditions in which he is not a native scorer! Ok, he has put in 157 official goals for Liverpool, 19 for the national representative and has a ferocious shout from outside the box which, very often, stops behind the opposite goalkeepers, in the back of the net. Still, Steven is not a native scorer.
To supply this he makes what few footballers do, especially in our days: covers a lot of position on the field. He’s generally known as a central box-to-box midfielder, but he can as well play, depending on the team’s needs as right midfielder, left midfielder or even second striker! Both at Liverpool and national side, where he also became, in the last years, captain. A morale victory for him if we consider that in his teenage he didn’t made it even once at a youth national England squad! Nobody believed he fits there. No problem, he said, and demonstrated that he can finely fit in the first squad first eleven, for more than a hundred times, achievement which few touched in the history… And as you well know, the ‘Albion’ hasn’t a history that could be neglected! So, a successful senior career on all stages, still a thing is missing: that title about which I was talking about. The big concern might even not be that he didn’t win it, but because of Liverpool’s inefficiency, Manchester United took charge in this English football chapter. Thing which, for a Liverpool fan is very painful… Or can you explain with a different version the ‘accidental’ back pass given by Stevie to Drogba in May 2010, with the occasion of a 0-2 home loss against Chelsea? ‘The blues’ won the title in that year with only one point over United… Team which, at that moment still had 18 trophies in its CV, the same number that Liverpool still does…