Steven Gerrard: Liverpool captain's top 10 stand-out moments

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Steven Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is due to make his final appearance for the club on Sunday after 17 first-team years, more than 700 appearances, 185 goals and 10 trophies at Anfield.

It is the end of an era for the Reds as the 34-year-old former England midfielder prepares to continue his career in America at Los Angeles Galaxy.

From leading the side in their astonishing 2005 Champions League final comeback win to his costly slip against Chelsea in last season's Premier League title run-in, Gerrard has experienced highs and lows.

Former Liverpool boss Gerrard Houllier, who gave Gerrard his debut in 1998, described him as "one of the best".

"He is very quick, very explosive, has a good technique and a good eye for the pass," said Houllier. "In his style, he is the best I have managed."

Here, based on the views of a panel of BBC Sport experts, we look at 10 moments Gerrard will be remembered for.

10 - Toffees crumble

Not everyone on Merseyside is sad to see Gerrard leave. Indeed, Everton fans could be forgiven for accompanying the midfielder to the airport to ensure he boards his flight to Los Angeles given his nine goals in derby matches.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Everton
Gerrard has experienced only four Premier League defeats by Everton

Gerrard made 33 appearances against the Toffees, but his stand-out performance in the fixture came under the Anfield floodlights on 13 March 2012.

He netted a hat-trick - scoring in the first half and then twice more after the break - to earn Liverpool their biggest win over Everton since 1982. It was also the first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby since Ian Rush scored four in the Reds' 5-0 win at Goodison Park that same day 33 years ago, and the first at Anfield since Fred Howe achieved the feat for Liverpool in 1935.

Daily Telegraph football writer Henry Winter on BBC Radio 5 live: "One of the great things about Gerrard is the impact he has had. He ripped up the history books."

9 - When Anfield was rocked

Less than two months after Liverpool won the 2005 Champions League, Anfield was shaken to the core as Gerrard said he wanted to leave after turning down a new £100,000-a-week contract.

I tried to sign Gerrard three times - Mourinho

Aged 25, Gerrard's announcement came after Liverpool rejected a £32m bid from Chelsea, managed by Jose Mourinho in his first spell at Stamford Bridge.

Some fans reacted by burning Gerrard's shirtexternal-link outside the Shankly Gates at Anfield.

Days later, he had a change of heart after talks with chief executive Rick Parry, who said: "He realises how much the club means to him."

Times football editor Tony Evans on BBC Radio 5 live: "He couldn't bring himself to leave, there is lots of mythology, that is rubbish. Ultimately his family didn't want him to leave and, after that difficult night of the shirt-burning, he sat in the night and was almost hyperventilating."

8 - A star is born

Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Gerrard Houllier and Sami Hyypia
Gerrard played the full 120 minutes of Liverpool's 2001 Uefa Cup final win

Gerrard leaves Anfield with a reputation for scoring in high-stakes games. Istanbul, Millennium Stadium, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge - he has netted on almost all the big stages he has played on.

But where did he develop this knack?

After helping Liverpool win the League Cup final against Birmingham and the FA Cup against Arsenal,external-link the then 20-year-old scored the second of his side's five goals to defeat Spain's Alaves in the 2001 Uefa Cup final in Dortmund.

It completed a domestic and European cup treble for Houllier's Reds, the Frenchman later handing Gerrard the captain's armband.

Houllier said: "Watching the highlights of the Uefa Cup final in Dortmund, even at the end when the players were gathered around me, he was talking to players. He was always fired up, his desire, his fighting spirit, was infectious. The first game he started, you could see he had all the attributes of an international player.

"He scored in the final in Dortmund. At the time he was not even 21. He played in every important game that contributed to the treble. When it matters most you can always rely on him."

7 - Red Gerrard

No-one can accuse Gerrard of not being committed to the Reds. But he was like a bull to a red rag when he came on as a substitute with his side trailing 1-0 at home to Manchester United on 22 March this year. Liverpool's number eight was sent off after just 38 seconds.

Steven Gerrard
Four of Gerrard's seven red cards in a Liverpool shirt came against Manchester United (twice) and Everton (twice)

Gerrard was punished for stamping on Ander Herrera moments after being tackled by the Spaniard. Liverpool went on to lose 2-1.

It was the seventh red card of his Liverpool career - his first also came as a substitute, against Everton in 1999 - and Gerrard later apologised for "letting down my team-mates and the fans".

Winter: "It encapsulates the quality that has given Gerrard his edge. The rivalry was huge between Liverpool and Manchester United. Growing up he always admired Bryan Robson and wore his England shirt. His father said: 'You can't wear that because he plays for Manchester United. What would the neighbours think?' That is in his DNA, the shirt was driving him on. You can't control the hurricane."

6 - Stevie's Theatre of Dreams

'Kiss cam' is popular around the Major League Soccer grounds, and Gerrard was first spotted practising kissing in front of the camera in 2009 after scoring against Liverpool's bitter rivals Manchester United.

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard scored 16 Premier League goals during the 2008-09 season

Gerrard could not resist planting a smacker on a pitch-side TV camera after scoring from the penalty spot in a 4-1 win at the then champions - a remarkable result for Rafael Benitez's side.

Liverpool were flying at the time, with Fernando Torres, who also scored, flourishing under Gerrard's captaincy.

The Reds went on to win eight of their remaining nine games but it was still not enough as the Reds finished four points behind champions United.

Evans: "Rafa Benitez would always try to act as a brake on him. Rafa tried to keep his feet on the ground. There was an edginess in their relationship."

Tom Holmes ‏on Twitter:external-link "I'll never forget that camera kiss as we mauled United in their own back garden. Still the sweetest victory over them."

5 - 'We go again'

Liverpool's 3-2 defeat of Manchester City at Anfield on 13 April 2014 was the club's 10th successive win in the league.

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard was made Liverpool captain by Gerard Houllier in 2003

More importantly, it put Liverpool in control of the title race with four matches remaining. Within seconds of the final whistle, Gerrard's thoughts were already turning to the next game at Norwich.

The Liverpool captain gathered his team-mates together for a huddle on the Anfield pitch and delivered this rallying call: "This does not ******* slip now. Listen, Listen. This is gone. We go to Norwich. Exactly the same. We go again."

4 - Greek God

"Oh you beauty! What a hit son! What. A. Hit."

Steven Gerrard
Olympiakos were Liverpool's opponents for Gerrard's testimonial in 2013

So screamed Andy Gray on Sky Sports on 8 December 2004 as Gerrard took one swing of his right boot in the 86th minute to drill home a third goal against Olympiakos to complete a stunning comeback and fire Liverpool into the Champions League knockout stage.

The visitors went ahead when Rivaldo was brought down and scored from the resulting free-kick.

It left Liverpool needing three to go through and Florent Sinama Pongolle converted Harry Kewell's cross before Neil Mellor stabbed in from six yards. With time running out, up popped Gerrard with a goal that helped propel the Reds to the final and a famous night in Istanbul.

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso said: "I have many different memories of him. He scored against Olympiakos to give us a chance of getting through and finally winning the Champions League. It was a key moment.

"He was a great influence for me. When I arrived at Liverpool he was the main man and a reference. He is the perfect captain for Liverpool. He has achieved great things in very important moments, he was the main man."

Evans: "It was a great goal but we didn't realise how significant it was going to come to be. When the ball drops out of the sky and you need a last-minute goal, he is the man in the whole of football history you want the ball to drop to."

3 - Gerrard's Cup final

Liverpool, inspired by Gerrard, beat West Ham United on penalties to win the 2006 FA Cup final, the last at the Millennium Stadium before returning to Wembley.

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard scored four FA Cup goals during the 2005-06 season

Gerrard scored two goals in normal time, his second a spectacular last-minute drive from fully 35 yards sending a pulsating match into extra time.

Liverpool's captain also went on to score one of his team's penalties as Benitez's side won the shootout 3-1. A real man-of the-match performance.

Former Reds midfielder Dietmar Hamann said: "The game looked lost. The ball drops to him 30 yards out, Stevie has been down with cramp and there is very little chance to score from there. He hit it and it was probably the sweetest strike he has ever hit.

"It was one of these moments Stevie had on numerous occasions where he pulled us out of a hole. We thought everything was lost. It was a phenomenal strike.

"I have not seen many of the all-time greats of the 70s and 80s. I hear a lot about Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Ian Rush, but the impact Stevie has had, the number of games he has pulled us through, he gave the whole city belief.

"He should rank in the top three of all-time greats."

Winter: "A couple of hours after the game was over, I was walking out and went into the dressing room where Liverpool were. As the players walked out they would have seen a sign saying 'Mission: Whatever it takes.' Gerrard would have seen that going out and that is the nature of the man."

Actress and Liverpool fan Sue Johnston: "Steven Gerrard has saved so many games for Liverpool at the right time. That is his passion. Liverpool players of old never used to give up, they played to the end and Stevie still has that."

Jack Lucey ‏on Twitter:external-link "Gerrard's amazing strike against West Ham in the FA Cup final for me was his best ever goal. The power behind it was unreal."

2 - The slip

Despite all of his talk of "not slipping" after the crucial win over Manchester City during last season's run-in, Liverpool's title charge did just - and in the most cruelly literal way possible for Gerrard.

With the 2013-14 season reaching a thrilling climax, Liverpool - five points clear at the top of the league with three matches left - hosted Chelsea on 27 April.

Steven Gerrard slip signs
Chelsea fans hold up banners in reference to Gerrard's costly slip against their team

The title looked destined for Anfield but disaster struck as the Blues ran out 2-0 winners, the first goal scored on the stroke of half-time after Gerrard miscontrolled then slipped inside his own half, allowing Demba Ba to run unopposed towards the Kop before slotting past Simon Mignolet.

The Liverpool fans chanted Gerrard's name at half-time but, try as he might with a succession of long-range shots, their usually inspirational skipper could not make amends for his mistake.

With that defeat, momentum was lost. Liverpool were held in their next match against Crystal Palace after blowing a 3-0 lead and eventually finished two points behind champions Manchester City.

Chelsea fans have not let Gerrard forget his slip since.

Winter: "That will live with him. We saw it with Chelsea fans singing about it and holding laminated cards. He will never forget that slip. A desperate moment for him because he must have known the life was going to ebb from that campaign."

Evans: "If you characterise Gerrard for that slip, you aren't really thinking about football."

1 - Istanbul

This was an extraordinary Champions League victory inspired by an extraordinary player.

With Liverpool trailing 3-0 at half-time in the final against AC Milan on 25 May 2005, Gerrard rolled up his sleeves and inspired one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in Europe's premier club competition.

His headed goal immediately after the break gave the Reds a glimmer of a chance before he midfielder created the space for Vladimir Smicer to add a second.

Gerrard then won the penalty for Alonso to pull Liverpool level - propelling the final into extra time and penalties.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Houllier said: "That day I was proud of the fans and proud of him.

"I knew at half-time things would not be finished. You know Liverpool never give up and I knew Steven Gerrard as leader would ring the charge to get back in the game as soon as possible."

Alonso added: "He is so inspirational. In the key moment he has the different thing that is difficult to find. He has been the man on great European nights.

"He could play in any national team in the world, any club in the world. He is already one of the greats."

Evans: "Stevie did a number of shifts that night for Liverpool. When he scored, he started waving his hands to call the crowd. The next few minutes were a blur. Why is football great? Because of times like those six minutes in Istanbul."

Winter: "That 15 minutes at half-time was key. It wasn't just the tactical thing, it wasn't just the dressing room being open to hear the crowd, Rafa's team talk was very emotional."

John Rogers on Twitter:external-link "I would rate Steven as No 1 Liverpool player. Dalglish was great but Steve near enough carried the club on his own at times."

Tom Salmon on Twitter:external-link ‏"Istanbul. What a night. The human body isn't built for that kind of turnaround in so few minutes."

Paul Alexander:external-link "People saying Gerrard is overrated clearly don't like football. Look at what players like Zinedine Zidane have said about him."

Listen to the BBC Radio 5 live podcast of Steven Gerrard's top 10 moments

Steven Gerrard lifts the Champions League trophy after Liverpool's 2005 victory in Istanbul
Gerrard became the first Liverpool captain since Graeme Souness to lift the European Cup

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