Later today Steven Gerrard will be playing his last game at Anfield against Crystal Palace. After 27 years and more than 700 games for his beloved club he’ll be leaving for LA Galaxy in the summer. Ahead of his final game, Brendan Rodgers and managers from all over the world paid their tribute to one of the greatest midfielder of the modern era.
Brendan Rodgers : “I asked a lot of my staff to describe Steven in one word and I’d use the word ‘Liverpool’. “
“I asked a lot of my staff to describe Steven in one word and I’d use the word ‘Liverpool’. What Steven has given to this city, politicians haven’t given. He’s a wonderful symbol for the people and he’s very much about looking after his people.
“Today is about commemorating the career of a wonderful player. He is one of the very few genuine world-class players who is around the game. He played 42 games in my first season, 39 last season and 38 so far this season – that shows his value and importance to me.”
Jose Mourinho : “He will be a big legend for life.”
‘What I never did was to put big pressure on him to try to persuade him to leave Liverpool and play for me. I always respect the feeling,’ said Mourinho.
‘I think that tomorrow he’s going to feel that the decision to play for Liverpool was worth it.
‘He will be a big legend for life.’
Rafael Benitez: “Steven has always led by example.”
“Steven has always led by example.Thanks to him the other good players that we had were always better.
“He talks with players and pushes his team-mates on.
“That night in Istanbul they knew he could make the difference and they were following him.
“Sometimes there is a moment when something happens to change the dynamic. Steven’s goal had such a galvanising effect.
“Everyone was lifted by his reaction to the goal. He started the feeling that the team could come back to win.
“I felt the momentum change and the reaction of our fans gave us energy.”
Arsene Wenger : “For me he is a fantastic player and I would also like to do it because he has remained loyal to his club for his whole career. “
“I would just like to pay tribute to him for a fantastic career,” the manager said. “For me he is a fantastic player and I would also like to do it because he has remained loyal to his club for his whole career.
“You don’t see that a lot, especially for that kind of quality player he was. It is a special day for English football, for Steven Gerrard and English football, because as well he was a great player for the national team.
“It would have been difficult for him to stay for such a long time at Liverpool and go somewhere else [in the Premier League],” added Wenger. “It is better maybe for him to promote football in America.”
Gerard Houllier: “I’ll take him with me.“
“I remember the first time I saw him I was looking for someone to play on the right for the first team. I went to see a game for the U19s and there was this boy who was lean, running from box to box and shouting at everybody.
“I asked who he was. What struck me was his commanding attitude. Straight away you saw his energy, his physical and mental energy. The player was always full of fire, full of drive, but the boy was generous.
“He is not someone who would show off. What he gives on the pitch, he gives in life. The player you see on the pitch is the person you see in life. His energy was made of kindness and generosity. He was U17 and helping out the U19s. I stayed for the second half and he was good. I said, ‘I’ll take him with me.”’
Carlo Ancelotti: “We had sounded him out but Gerrard’s bond with Liverpool was unbreakable.”
He said: “We had sounded him out but Gerrard’s bond with Liverpool was unbreakable.
“I don’t remember exactly what year it was but we did try. Of course, I wanted to pair him up with Pirlo, it was a fantastic combination. Putting Gerrard in midfield with Pirlo. It would have been fantastic.”
Alan Pardew : “It’s Stevie Gerrard’s last game. Who wouldn’t want to be there?”
“I heard he said his best goal was the cup final goal against West Ham, for the equaliser,” said Pardew. “Nigel Reo-Coker just dropped off him at the death, and Steven smashed it into the bottom corner.
“He’s done that consistently throughout his career, come up with an inspirational moment for Liverpool, and that’s why he’s loved – and that’s why he has that tremendous mystique to his playing career.
“He came up and consoled me after the cup final rather than celebrate, so that just shows the measure of the man.”