Gerrard: Liverpool's Greatest Captain

It still feels strange to watch a Liverpool side which doesn't include Steven Gerrard. It's even stranger to see him on the touchline at Ibrox. But the former Liverpool skipper was always destined for a managerial role. You could tell from the way he held himself for both club and country on and off the pitch.

Until this year, Steven Gerrard was the last captain to lift the Champions League for Liverpool, having famously comeback against AC Milan in 2005. And it was Gerrard who scored the first goal for the Reds to make it 3-1, once again coming to his side's rescue. That game really did sum him up as a player. A warrior fighting until the bitter end.

But Gerrard, although influential within that final, showed time and time again during his 17-year stint with his boyhood club as to why he was one of the club's best-ever players. Alongside the Champions League, Gerrard also won two FA Cups, three Football League Cups, one UEFA Cup, one Super Cup, and one Community Shield. Not many players will have a trophy cabinet quite as filled, especially having played for just one club for all but one year of their career.

Gerrard did move to LA Galaxy for his final year, realising he had become a lot less important to Brendan Rodgers, where he made 34 appearances and bagged on five occasions.

What makes Gerrard stand out as an individual, is the fact he carried Liverpool through some very difficult times for the club. Liverpool dropped off the top of the Premier League for many years, and they weren't a force for several years, but Gerrard didn't stray or shy away and continued to lead and play with his heart on his sleeve until the end of his time there - a rare trait among footballers in this day and age.

He's now the manager at Rangers in the Scottish Premier League, where his side are expected to compete with Neil Lennon's Celtic for the title. He has used his contacts within the game well to bring in some top talent during his time in Scotland. 

Unfortunately, he was unable to retain the services of Nottingham Forest's Joe Worrall, who returned to the Championship club at the end of last season, in his hunt to play in the Premier League with his boyhood club. Championship betting suggests Nottingham Forest have an outside chance of winning promotion under new manager Sabri Lamouchi.

Despite Gerrard's European success, he was never able to land the greatest prize of all - the Premier League. His infamous slip against Chelsea all but cost him his best shot back in 2014 - a club who he once almost signed for after his relationship with Rafa Benitez was deteriorating. But, of course, Gerrard stayed and went on to play over 500 times for Liverpool, scoring 120 goals in the process. His leadership skills and desire to pull his side through games and difficult periods makes him one of the greatest players, and captains, to have graced the famous Anfield pitch.

Jordan Henderson has since taken the captain's armband from Gerrard, and he himself has lifted the Champions League, but he himself will admit how fortunate he was to learn his trade from Gerrard, which has been key to his own progression. 

Gerrard is and will always be a legend at Anfield. We won't see many captains or players like him ever again.

Written by Alan Spencer


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