Steven Gerrard has written an open letter to the Liverpool fans as he says his final goodbyes to the club which has been his home for more than two decades.
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Gerrard, who turns 35 on Saturday, joined the Reds’ academy team in 1987. He made the step-up to the first-team in 1998 and has since made more than 700 appearances in all competitions, scoring 186 goals.
Our long-standing captain has become and icon and a legend since guiding us to Champions League glory in 2005. He’s endured a difficult season this time around but has still ended the campaign with 13 goals in all competitions – more than any other Liverpool player.
He signed off with a goal against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday, but it was an otherwise disappointing day as we fell to a record 6-1 defeat.
Speaking after the game, Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo: “Saying goodbye hasn’t been easy. Liverpool Football Club has been such a massive part of my life since I was eight years old and I know how much I’m going to miss it.
“It’s been an emotional time for my family and I with my final game at Anfield against Crystal Palace and then my last appearance away to Stoke City. But I’ve been blown away by the send-off I’ve been given by the supporters and I’d like to thank every one of you.
“It’s been very humbling and it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this football club for so long.”
Gerrard saved special mention for that night in Istanbul, where he scored the opening goal in our incredible comeback against Milan. He said: “Of course the pinnacle of my career arrived in Istanbul 10 years ago.
“That was the best night of my life. When I lifted the European Cup, there was no prouder man on the planet. It meant so much to me to deliver that trophy for you.
“The supporters played such a big part in helping to inspire that famous comeback against AC Milan. I’ll never forget how they helped to lift our chins off the floor after that nightmare first half.”
He signed-off with his usual class, describing his unconditional love of the club: “People have often asked me about the pressure on my shoulders to deliver for Liverpool but I’ve never seen that as a burden,” he concluded.
“There’s been huge responsibility on me but I’ve always loved and embraced that. It’s been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long. I’ve always given my best and tried to lead by example.”