Frank Lampard v Steven Gerrard: Who did you say was better?

Lampard and Gerrard
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard played a combined 1,113 Premier League games

Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard?

Ask a blue and they will tell you Lampard is a Chelsea legend, ask a red and they will say Gerrard lives on forever in Liverpool folklore.

They were arguably two of their generation's best midfielders, the trajectories of their careers and similar playing styles meaning they were forever compared.

After both brought an end to trophy-laden careers, BBC Sport looked to tackle the debate on who was better one last time - and gave you the chance to cast your vote.

And the winner is...

Lampard and Gerrard
Lampard played 649 league games in spells with Swansea (for whom he made his professional debut), West Ham, Chelsea, Manchester City and New York City, while Gerrard's career spanned Liverpool and LA Galaxy.

The stuff of legends?

Though he went on to be a Chelsea legend, Lampard's Premier League life began at West Ham, making his debut as a replacement for John Moncur in a 3-2 win over Coventry in January 1996. Gerrard arrived in the top flight two years later in Liverpool colours, which he would sport for his entire career in English football.

There are 211 reasons to place Lampard in the Stamford Bridge hall of fame, the midfielder's goals making him Chelsea's all-time top scorer, while Gerrard's contribution to the Liverpool cause was often evident via heart-on-his-sleeve performances.

Neither were shy of goals or games - Lampard would go on to make 609 Premier League appearances to Gerrard's 504, scoring 177 goals to the Liverpudlian's 120.

In his most prolific season, 2009-10, Lampard scored 22 goals in 36 games as he claimed the third of three Premier League winner's medals with Chelsea. He had previously won the title in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

The closest Gerrard's Liverpool came to a league title was the season of his infamous 'slip' against Chelsea in 2013-14. That season, he weighed in with 13 goals and 13 assists from midfield.

Gerrard missed out on a Premier League crown, but the hometown hero guided his club to Champions League success in 2005, as well as two FA Cups, three League Cups, a Uefa Cup and a Uefa Super Cup. But it is Lampard who boasts the most silverware.

Lampard and Ronaldinho
In 2005, Lampard finished second to Barcelona and Brazil forward Ronaldinho in the Fifa World Player of the Year awards as well as in the Ballon d'Or, in which Gerrard came third. Gerrard won Uefa Club Player of the Year

How much were they worth?

Football finance expert Rob Wilson says if you took both players in their prime and sold them in last month's transfer window, Lampard would attract a marginally higher fee.

But neither would match the world-record £89m Manchester United spent to re-sign Paul Pogba from Juventus.

"I wouldn't put them on the same level as what we have seen with Pogba, simply because of the marketability of Pogba and his association with Adidas," said Wilson, from Sheffield Hallam University.

"Hindsight is a perfect science. We have seen the performances they were able to generate for their respective clubs, the consistency they were able to deliver and, particularly in the case of Lampard, the goals he scored as well.

"You would be comfortably talking £50m-£60m in transfer value - Lampard would be slightly more because of the number of goals he scored from midfield.

"If we were to have seen them sold this summer or next summer, you would be talking about wage packets of £250,000 a week."

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During their final seasons in England, both players were included in the Sunday Times Rich List, with Gerrard's wealth in 2015 calculated at £42m, and Lampard's at £39m.

While Lampard only once commanded a transfer fee, Chelsea signing him for £11m from West Ham in 2001, Gerrard left Anfield only when his contract expired in 2015, 18 years after signing his first professional deal.

The England debate

Gerrard and Lampard
Gerrard was first included in Panini's collection for the 2002 World Cup, although he would miss the tournament through injury. The Liverpool man had already made one appearance at Euro 2000, having made his England debut shortly before the tournament. Lampard got his first tournament sticker at Euro 2004

Having first played in the same England team in 2002, Lampard and Gerrard featured 73 times together before both retired in the summer of 2014.

Despite the suggestion the duo "couldn't play together", during that time England won 63% of their games with both in the team, and 51% without.

Gerrard was the more successful of the two when playing on his own, England winning 61% of 41 games, compared with 48.5% of the 33 matches with just Lampard involved.

Lampard made his debut a year before Gerrard's first England appearance, but it was the Liverpool man who established himself first, scoring his first international goal in the 5-1 win over Germany in 2001, and captaining his country at three major tournaments.

Frank Lampard
Lampard never scored at a World Cup despite 40 attempts on goal, including one against Germany in 2010 that crossed the line

Squeezing two of England's most glittering members of the 'golden generation' into one midfield was seen to be a problem for a string of national managers, but BBC Sport football analyst Pat Nevin believes the issue lay with the coaches rather than the players.

"The problem wasn't Gerrard or Lampard, the problem was the managers," said former Scotland international Nevin. "I don't think it was that complicated what they had to do, so that was a huge disappointment.

"Playing within a system, England tended to play 4-4-2 and teams were never stretched. There were two guys who were phenomenal at going into space and finding space, but had nowhere to run."

England caps
England won 46 of the 73 games that both Lampard and Gerrard played in

Who played in the better team?

Gerrard's performances in a Liverpool shirt sometimes led to the perception he had single-handedly dragged his team-mates towards glory, not least in the Champions League final against AC Milan in 2005 and the Reds' FA Cup triumph over West Ham a year later.

Lampard, meanwhile, was no doubt a great player, reaching double figures for goals in 10 successive Premier League seasons, but was his career helped by playing in world-class Chelsea teams?

In a bid to compare who played in the better side, we took the XIs that started the clubs' respective Champions League-winning finals and calculated the reported cost of each player to see how expensive the teams were to assemble.

Liverpool FC 2005 team
A Liverpool XI including youth products Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher cost the club an estimated £40.35m in transfer fees, with the amount paid for each player shown above

Gerrard was part of the Liverpool side that came from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties in the 'Miracle of Istanbul'. That team would go on to boast 635 caps between them, with Gerrard's 114 England appearances matched by Spain's Xabi Alonso, while Norway's John Arne Riise (110) and Finland's Sami Hyypia (105) also reached their centuries.

With Liverpool's success seven years earlier than Chelsea's, it is inevitable their starting XI would be cheaper than the Blues'. But at face value the Anfield outfit built their European victory for £100m less, with the side that started in Turkey costing a combined £40.35m.

Chelsea 2012
The side that started Chelsea's Champions League final against Bayern Munich cost £140.1m

Chelsea's Champions League triumph also came via a penalty shootout, the Blues beating Bayern Munich on German soil. Lampard was among the scorers from the spot after Didier Drogba's late goal levelled the game in 90 minutes.

Lampard (106) was one of four Chelsea players to win more than 100 caps for his country, with Petr Cech (Czech Republic, 124), Ashley Cole (England, 107) and Drogba (Ivory Coast, 104) contributing to a total 784 caps for the Blues.

The cost of that side? £140.1m - and that's not including Fernando Torres (£50m) and Michael Essien (£24.4m), who were on the bench in Munich.

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Phil Neville, who played alongside the pair for England and against them for Manchester United and Everton, told BBC Sport they were "always driving each other on to be better".

"If Frank scored a goal, Stevie had to score a goal," he added. "It's what great players do and you see it with how Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi compete with each other. You are inspired by the biggest challenges.

"It was a strength and a weakness of why they couldn't play together, in a way.

"I think Stevie, in his club career, maybe felt a little bit on his own at times. Maybe he looked at Frank as part of a great team, winning league titles and other cups - whereas he made Liverpool a good team by his own performances."

Going abroad

Lampard and Gerrard
Gerrard and Lampard Lego
Oyo Sports immortalised Gerrard and Lampard as figurines when they arrived in the MLS

As players of such similar style and stature in the game, leaving the Premier League for the MLS only furthered the Lampard-Gerrard debate.

Gerrard joined LA Galaxy for the 2015-16 season, while Lampard chose New York City. Over the course of two campaigns in the MLS, Gerrard made 36 appearances to Lampard's 31.

However, it was the former West Ham, Chelsea and Manchester City man who turned a stuttering Stateside start around to eventually make the bigger impact for his club, scoring 15 times including his 300th career goal.

Gerrard
Gerrard's La Galaxy career ended in a penalty shootout defeat by Colorado Rapids in the play-offs

They said it...

Lampard on Gerrard: "There were many a night I can recall Stevie driving from midfield at Anfield and I tried to reverse that at Chelsea and be our driving force.

"There's a huge respect we both have for each other. We get on very well, particularly in our latter years. It's nice to come up against Stevie."

Gerrard on Lampard: "When that whistle goes and for 90 minutes when we are competing against each other it is war. We fight against each other, we always have. And when it's over there is a mutual respect there.

"I'm a huge fan of Frank. He's a phenomenal goalscorer from midfield. I play in the same position myself so I understand how difficult that is."

Watch this space...

Following some fantastic battles on the field, will Gerrard and Lampard renew their rivalry in the technical area?

Gerrard is set to begin his coaching career at Anfield, where the Liverpool legend will work with the club's youth teams.

He was linked with the manager's job at League One side MK Dons last year but said the opportunity had come "too soon" for him.

Lampard, meanwhile, has said he will study for his coaching qualifications with the Football Association - meaning they could yet line up in opposing dugouts.

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