Pako Ayestaran, the former assistant manager to ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, has lavished praise on our outgoing captain Steven Gerrard this week, as the iconic midfielder celebrates his 35th birthday.
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The Spaniard, who was with us between 2004 and 2007 and helped oversee both our Champions League and FA Cup victories, compared Gerrard with a racing car and likened his imminent departure to that of a vehicle having its engine removed.
He does of course make a good point. Even during our 2014-15 campaign, when a tiring Gerrard was far from his best, he ended the year as our top scorer in all competitions. He finishes his 17 year career with the Liverpool first-team with over 700 appearances to his name, as well as 186 goals. To say he’ll be sorely missed would be something of an understatement.
And Ayestaran, who was himself a popular figure at Anfield, has had nothing but good things to say about our LA-bound hero. In quotes taken by the Liverpool Echo, he said: “Stevie is so respectful, so committed and so determined in the way he does everything.
“When I was at Liverpool he was a real role model for other players. Jamie Carragher was the same. They were both great professionals, so deep rooted in the club. I just wish Stevie and Carra were like racing cars. With players like that you want to just change a few parts so their careers could continue running.
“But they are human beings and there comes a time when your body says ‘enough’. It’s a pity because this type are so rare. You want to change the engine and keep them at the club forever. I’m sure they will both be involved with the club in the future.”
Ayestaran, who recently celebrated winning a domestic treble in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, added: “Probably after all these years I didn’t expect Stevie to finish his career anywhere apart from at Liverpool. But I think for everything he has given the club he deserves the right to try to experience something new before he finishes.
“At times he has sacrificed his career for the sake of Liverpool. He has stayed loyal to the club because he desperately wanted to win the Premier League with Liverpool. He has given enough and I wish him all the best in America.”