A Tribute To Captain Fantastic: One Last Anfield Hoorah


Steven Gerrard takes a penalty kick (via Liverpool FC Facebook)

Its no surprise that tomorrows match verse Crystal Palace will go down as one of the saddest days in Liverpool FC history as it marks Steven Gerrard’s last trek across the holy land we call Anfield. An Illustrious seventeen year career for the Liverpool captain has seen many ups and downs but mostly ups, as he will not only go down as arguably the best player to put on the red of Liverpool, but one of the best midfielders the football world has ever seen.

Gerrard has stayed true to his Liverpool roots as the boy from Hoyton has worn his heart on his sleeve and deserves nothing but respect for how much he has given and the loyalty he has shown for the club. There is no doubt it is going to be an emotional night at Anfield for all involved and when asked in his last home press conference on whether the emotion will get to him by the final whistle this is what Stevie G had to say and I quote.

“Carra said I couldn’t cry! I don’t know, I really don’t know. I don’t want to, I want to keep it in check and say goodbye properly to the fans. I remember Sami Hyypia cried after his last game. Sami was a big, tough centre-half but definitely had an emotional side. I have, too, but I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of if you shed a tear, especially if you have a love and affection for the supporters. Even when the likes of Robbie Fowler and Jamie left it was very emotional for me as their team-mate. I am dreading that moment when the final whistle goes, actually. I know I’ll be thinking of the people who have been there with me since day one. I remember getting on the bus with my dad to the centre of excellence at the Vernon Sangster [a now demolished sports centre on Stanley Park], getting two buses in the rain and the cold and the ice and snow, and I’ll just go back to that moment when it all began.”

But enough with the emotional side of things and onto something to remember the beloved captain for. It’s only fitting that we here at Rush The Kop should show our respects for the one and only Stevie G, so I have broken down the top 5 moments in Gerrards career for all the Kopites out there to enjoy.

Steven Gerrard celebrates the penalty goal that elevated Liverpool over Aston Villa last season. Photograph: Ian Hodgson

Number 5: A Kiss For The Camera

On March 15 2009 Liverpool did what many could not believe, they went into Old Trafford against league leaders Man United and completely destroyed the Red Devils all over the pitch 4-1. The performance was one thing but it was Captain Fantastic’s penalty kick goal to give the reds a 2-1 lead. The goal was so memorable for Gerrard’s celebration that will go down as one of the most memorable in Premier League history. After famously blasting home his spot kick the Liverpool captain ran to the camera that was situated in the corner kissed the badge and then laid a smooch on the camera. He then swung the camera around to the travelling Liverpool supporters who were going ballistic in the corner. It was such a memorable stab at his most hated rivals that he couldn’t resist doing it a second time last year when he scored a spot kick at the very same end in a 3-0 win. Get in there Stevie!

Number 4: The Beginning of A Liverpool Legend

Nothings more memorable than scoring your first goal for your beloved club. Gerrard’s first goal makes this list because it seemed to only kick start his career, scoring in the manner that we all got used to seeing and adoring over the years with a screamer against Sheffield Wednesday in December of 1999. This goal put the young Liverpudlian on the map and he never looked back. 118 goals in over 500 appearances for Liverpool playing every minute like it was his last. Goals will always be something fans will remember him by, both vital and beautiful in all their glory.

Number 3: The Famous Speech

Yes last seasons famous speech that would give you goose bumps on any given day, didn’t end exactly how most would have hoped but it doesn’t take away from how amazing it really was. In a crucial match at Anfield last season during a title race that went right to the wire. Liverpool met eventual champions Manchester City who they were battling for top spot. An end to end game saw Phillippe Coutinho score the winner in a rip roaring tie 3-2. After the game Steven Gerrard like the incredible captain that he is gathered the squad in front of the Kop and ushered the words “This does not slip now!” Although he would ironically slip in a match that led to Chelsea defeating Liverpool and costing the Reds a chance to lift that elusive Premier League trophy, in those few moments during his motivational lift anyone could see how passionate Steven Gerrard really is and how much it meant to him. Listening to that can only give you chills, he would be the first guy I would follow into the trenches and I have no doubt Liverpool fan or not, football fans would have to agree.

Number 2: The Strike Of A Lifetime

On the 13th of May in 2006 we were all treated to one of if not the best FA Cup finals to date. At a packed Millennium Stadium in Cardiff City Wales West Ham and Liverpool played to a remarkable 3-3 draw before the Reds won the FA Cup on penalties. The final will go down as one of best performances Steven Gerrard has ever had for the Reds as he was front and center in all the action. After going down 2-0, Djibril Cisse got the Reds on the board and a second half volley from Gerrard tied the game but that was just the beginning. A Paul Konchesky wonder goal that still looked like a cross to me, found the back of the net and almost certainly guaranteed West Ham victory. With the clock ticking down in stepped none other than Steven Gerrard who with virtually the last kick of regulation time blasted an unstoppable strike from almost forty yards out that curled into the West Ham net. This goal will not only go down as one of his best but arguably one of the best goals of all time.

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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Number 1: One Night In Istanbul ( The Header)

It’s only fitting that number one on this list is probably Gerrard’s greatest achievement as a footballer. In the incredible 2005 Uefa Champions League Final Liverpool found themselves down and out 3-0 at half time to AC Milan. Gerrard took the second half by the scruff of the neck and without giving up, which has never been the Liverpudlian’s style leaped up to head home and get Liverpool on the board. After the goal Steven Gerrard turned to the Liverpool supporters and lifted his arms up to pump up the crowd who raised their voices for the rest of the match. That goal and inspirational celebration was exactly the push the Reds needed as Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso would score to tie the match, before Jerzy Dudek’s unbelievable saves in extra time and the penalty shootout capped off an incredible comeback win for Liverpool. The images of Stevie G lifting that trophy in one of the greatest matches of all time will go down in Liverpool folklore.

Steven Gerrard salutes the fans (via Liverpool FC Facebook)

I could sit here and write endless moments of praise for the Liverpool captain and I’m sure there will be a DVD or book written soon about his incredible career at Liverpool. However one thing I will say, he’s the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. A player who played the game with integrity, class and honor and a man who loves his club through and through, a true Liverpool legend. From the bottom of our hearts and from all the Kopites around the globe, thank you Stevie G you’ll never walk alone.