Steven Gerrard - Player Profile

A Tribute To A Liverpool Gr8

Personal information
Full name: Steven George Gerrard
Date of birth: 30 May 1980
Age: 34
Place of birth: Whiston, Merseyside, England
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position: Midfielder

Club information
Current team: Liverpool
Number: 8 

Youth career 
1987–1998: Liverpool

Senior career
1998–2015: Liverpool 709 Appearances, 185 goals

National team 
1999–2000: England U21 4 Appearances, 1 goal
2000–2014: England 114 Appearances, 21 goals 

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has brought his 17-year career at Anfield to an "emotional" end after playing his final home match for the club. The 34-year-old was given a rousing reception by supporters in his 709th game for the Reds, which ended in a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace. Gerrard has had one of the greatest English careers and he leaves Anfield on top, remembered for his inspirational qualities and steely determination.

The inspirational Liverpool captain is one of the most complete footballers in the world. Power, pace, touch and a never-say-die attitude, Stevie G has it all, and rarely have these attributes been more apparent than when he skippered the Reds to 2005 Champions League glory in Istanbul. The midfielder has collected almost every club medal during 15 years in the first team and in 2006 was awarded an MBE by the Queen. The one piece of silverware that eludes him is the Premier League title. He also had the honour of captaining England before announcing his retirement from international football on July 21, 2014.

Gerrard's Liverpool love affair began when he was spotted playing for Whiston Juniors aged nine. Eight years later, after a period as a trainee, he signed his first professional contract. Within 12 months the starlet made his first-team debut, coming on as a second-half sub for Vegard Heggem against Blackburn Rovers on November 29, 1998. Gerrard played 13 games in his debut season, in part due to the injury woes of fellow midfielder Jamie Redknapp. Persistent back and groin problems punctuated his blossoming career, though he'd managed to establish himself as a regular by the start of the 1999-2000 season. It proved to be a momentous campaign for the Whiston-born youngster, not least because of a spectacular first professional goal at Anfield against Sheffield Wednesday. Having already featured at U18 and U21 level, Gerrard was handed his first senior international cap against Ukraine in May 2000. From there he was selected for Euro 2000 in Holland and Belgium, but had to settle for just a single substitute appearance. By now regarded as the complete box-to-box midfielder, he was instrumental in the Reds winning a unique treble in 2001. With the Worthington and FA Cups already in the cabinet, Gerrard was one of the scorers in an unforgettable 5-4 UEFA Cup final triumph over Alaves. It came as no surprise when the man nicknamed the Huyton Hammer was voted PFA Young Player of the Year. Memorable moments just kept coming and Gerrard kicked off the following season by netting his first international goal in the famous 5-1 trouncing of Germany in their own backyard. The win helped Sven Goran Eriksson's men secure a World Cup place, but heartache would ensue when a groin injury ruled the midfield maestro out of Japan and South Korea. A mixed domestic season followed, the highlight of which was a Worthington Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Gerrard opened the scoring in a satisfying 2-0 win over Manchester United. By the start of 2003-04 the No.8 had firmly established himself as Liverpool's on-field leader, and it was no surprise when Gerard Houllier handed him the captain's armband in place of Sami Hyypia. The decision proved such a success that within six months Gerrard was captaining England against Sweden in the absence of David Beckham. Just when it seemed things couldn't get any better for the Scouser, he enjoyed the greatest night of his sporting career. On May 25, 2005, under new boss Rafael Benitez, Gerrard lifted the club's fifth European Cup. Having already brought Liverpool back from the brink earlier in the campaign with a superlative strike against Olympiacos, the skipper helped inspire the greatest comeback of all time in Istanbul. No one believed the Reds could overturn AC Milan's 3-0 half-time lead - until Stevie G's 54th minute header, that is. His heroics earned him the title of UEFA's Most Valuable Player, as well as a nomination for the prestigious Ballon D'Or award. He would come third in the latter, behind Ronaldinho and countryman Frank Lampard.

In the months that followed the final, captain fantastic signed a new four-year contract at Anfield to put an end to speculation about a possible move to Chelsea. With his future sorted, Gerrard went on to enjoy his most impressive season to date, scoring 23 goals in 53 games and being crowned PFA Player of the Year. He was the first Liverpool man to win the award since John Barnes in 1988. The 2005-06 campaign culminated with another FA Cup win in Cardiff, with West Ham providing the opposition. If 1953 will always be remembered as the Stanley Matthews final, then 2006 will surely go down as Gerrard's day. The midfielder twice breached Shaka Hislop's net, including a dramatic equaliser in the dying moments to send the game into extra-time and, ultimately, penalties. This 35-yard volley was voted Match of the Day's Goal of the Season. Gerrard - who's played in just about every position for Liverpool - had now scored in four major finals, something no English-based player had ever done.

Next, in the summer of 2006 and aged 26, the Scouse sensation featured in his first World Cup. After scoring twice in the group stages, he was one of three players to miss a penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out loss to Portugal. Gerrard returned from Germany for another eventful domestic season during which he broke Ian Rush's European Cup goalscoring record. His header against PSV was his 15th in the competition, one more than the legendary striker. In December 2006 the Kop idol was awarded an MBE, which he later collected from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. As if all this wasn't enough, the season ended with another European Cup final, and again it was AC Milan. This time, however, the night ended in heartbreak following a 2-1 loss. Back on the international front, there was despair in November 2007 when he skippered his countrymen to a 3-2 defeat against Croatia at the new Wembley - ending both England's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 and Steve McClaren's reign as manager. The domestic season also finished without silverware despite a 21-goal haul for Gerrard, who formed an irrepressible partnership with new record signing Fernando Torres. Now a bona fide legend of the British game, the midfielder made it a century of club goals with a powerful free-kick against PSV in October 2008. In doing so, he joined an elite band of 16 Anfield legends to achieve the feat. The strike was one of 24 for Gerrard during 2008-09, a personal record which earned him Football Writers' Player of the Year for the first time. Sadly, his haul wasn't enough to secure an elusive Premier League winners' medal, though Liverpool mounted their best challenge since 1990 before United crossed the line on the penultimate weekend. All this persuaded the pride of Merseyside to once again commit his future by agreeing a two-year extension tying him to Anfield until the age of 33. A disappointing term followed, though Gerrard still plundered 12 goals as Liverpool finished seventh. He also made his 500th LFC appearance at Ewood Park on December 12, 2009. Internationally, an injury to Rio Ferdinand meant it was Gerrard who led England in South Africa 2010, and he scored in the opener against USA before a 4-1 last 16 exit to Germany. He returned to Merseyside to find the landscape much altered: Rafael Benitez had gone, replaced for the time being at least by Roy Hodgson, and over the coming months the ownership of Liverpool Football Club would change following a courtroom battle between duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett and newcomers NESV. Injuries meant Gerrard was often helpless to aid the club on the pitch during 2010-11 as the Hodgson revolution went awry, though his ability to turn in Roy of the Rovers performances was still evident with a brace at Old Trafford and a second-half hat-trick against Napoli after he was initially rested. Still, the team entered 2011 in a worrying state - and new owners John Henry and Tom Werner decided to install the only man with a claim against Gerrard for the title of Liverpool's greatest ever player: Kenny Dalglish. Despite more injury set-backs, the No.8 would ensure there were some happy memories during The King's 16-month tenure. In February 2012 he led Liverpool onto the Wembley turf for the first time, and though he missed a penalty in the shoot-out against Cardiff City, it was the Reds who prevailed and Gerrard who climbed the Wembley steps to lift the Carling Cup. Then, just a few weeks later, he did something which, even without any of the above, would have made him a legend in the minds of Liverpool fans - he scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Everton at Anfield, a feat that hadn't been achieved since 1935. The 2011-12 campaign ended with news that new England boss Hodgson had named Gerrard his permanent captain ahead of Euro 2012. Knowing for perhaps the first time that he was the manager's unequivocal choice as skipper and the Reds die-hard flourished, assisting three goals and leaving the tournament (following a quarter-final penalties defeat to Italy) widely regarded as England's star performer.

In July 2013, Liverpool announced that Gerrard had signed a contract extension with the club, committing his future to the Reds. By finding the net with a penalty against Newcastle at St James' Park in October 2013, Gerrard reached the landmark of 100 goals in the Premier League - only the 12th Liverpool player to achieve such a feat. Steven was the heartbeat of an unexpected title challenge under Brendan Rodgers in 2013-14, having dropped into a new deeper role as the Reds ultimately took second place on the final day. He then departed for Brazil and the 2014 World Cup to skipper England on football's greatest stage with a clutch of Anfield colleagues for company as the Three Lions met Italy, Luis Suarez's Uruguay and Costa Rica. The game with Costa Rica proved to be the final time he appeared in an England shirt when he won his 114th and final cap, before announcing his retirement from international football.

Off the pitch, Liverpool’s star man established the Steven Gerrard Foundation in 2011 with the aim of supporting children's charities in Merseyside and beyond. On January 2, 2015, Liverpool Football Club confirmed the news that Gerrard will bring a glittering 17-year Anfield career to a close by leaving the club at the end of the current campaign. Millions of words have been written and published in scores of countries about Steven Gerrard’s final game at Anfield. With his girls in his arms, he looked to all corners and said goodbye to his family. Liverpool Football Club bade farewell to a son. And when he dropped into that fabled tunnel for one final time, he was hurting. But you can bet it was also over the ignominy of this defeat, the dreadful team performance. A guard of honour and a mural covering two stands were planned tributes, but an assortment of banners caught the eye. “Captain” and “SG8” welcomed Gerrard onto the pitch, while “Thank You Liverpool’s Gr8est” was held near the corner flag at The Kop end. The most Scouse farewell carried the local dialect, a plain and simple acknowledgement. “It’s been a pleasure, lad.” The result did not match the sense of anticipation in the ground, with Palace coming from 1-0 down to win 3-1. But the Liverpool faithful roared its approval as Gerrard addressed the crowd after the game, while his team-mates looked on, all wearing shirts with the name Gerrard and the number eight on the back as his name was still being echoing around the stadium at full-time. That, at least, was worthy of such a great man. Gerrard will play his final game for his hometown club away at Stoke next weekend, before leaving to play for LA Galaxy in the United States in the summer. Once in a generation a player comes along to whom nothing seems impossible. Luckily that man wore the No.8 shirt at Anfield. He will always be in the memory of Liverpool FC and supporters all around the world; such is the legend of Steven Gerrard.