Has Gerrard soured his Liverpool legacy?

By Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-27 5:03:02

Star might be remembered for the wrong reasons

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool leaves the field after being sent off during the English Premier League match against Manchester United on March 22 in Liverpool. Photo: CFP

The dust has about settled on last week's tempestuous encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool but the repercussions live on - certainly for Liverpool captain-cum-talisman Steven Gerrard. So much so that the question has been asked: Has ­Gerrard damaged his legacy?

The Daily Mail's Adrian Durham certainly believes so. He states that Gerrard's "violent stamp on Ander Herrera has shattered his legacy." Durham goes so far as to say that he'd be surprised if the man he describes as "arguably Liverpool's greatest ever player" is trusted by his manager to start another game for the club.

Gerrard's final season at Anfield was meant to end with one last jolly to Wembley and another shot at being the hero he has so often been before. Instead, he saw red 38 seconds after coming on as a halftime substitute last Sunday and misses his team's ­vital league games against Arsenal and Newcastle plus the FA Cup quarterfinal replay away at Blackburn Rovers. It's been 17 years at the club as a professional and now there are only six league games for him to play.

Elsewhere, Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph thinks not. He claims that the good memories outweigh the bad and that Gerrard's quick-fire apology after the game "showed the mark of the man."

Unstoppable force

Winter, a man so often right in football matters, is not wrong that Gerrard leaves a host of unforgettable experiences behind. Gerrard the box-to-box tyro, the unstoppable force of will that put AC Milan to the sword in that Champions League final comeback in 2005. Gerrard the hometown hero, the Roy of the Rovers footballer who destroyed West Ham's dreams in the FA Cup final a year later. He remains, so far, the only player ever to have scored a goal in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League.

He won 10 trophies for Liverpool and it's not out of the question that there will be one more. However, he won't forget that the red team down the road in Manchester won double that during his time and it was on his watch when Ferguson famously knocked Liverpool "off their fucking perch."

The truth is that Gerrard was equally integral to his side not winning. He may yet be remembered for the famous slip against Chelsea last year that allowed Demba Ba to score and took with it Liverpool's best chance for the league in two decades. He could be remembered for the back pass in 2010, also against Chelsea, that let in Didier Drogba to score and ended with the title in West London or for the own goal that cost Liverpool the League Cup in 2005, once again against Chelsea.

There are more instances of slip-ups for both Liverpool and England but the Gerrard you choose to remember depends on your allegiances. He either wanted to leave for Chelsea, as he admitted in his autobiography, or he was trying to convince the board to sign players to match his talent. He is either the quiet, unassuming father who we met in Being: Liverpool or the man so fond of Phil Collins that he was lucky to escape prison after an affray charge in a Southport bar.


It matters little. The lad from ­Huyton was involved in two of the finest ­memories of English football - the 5-1 defeat of Germany and the comeback against Milan.

He made Liverpool better than the sum of their parts and deserves a fond farewell from the Kop faithful. He's given his all to them and that should be marked at the club's final home game of the season against Crystal Palace on May 16.

If anyone has soured Gerrard's legacy, perhaps it is the club he has given so much. The 34-year-old is not the player he once was but nor were Giggs or Maldini as they entered the twilight of their one-club ­contracts. Whether Gerrard remains too ambitious to be on the bench is one thing but if a new contract had been offered last summer - rather than in November - he would have signed it, as he revealed the day before announcing he'd be going to LA.

It's a shame that Steven Gerrard was not one of the last one-club men. It's a shame that Liverpool so often messed him around on contract renewals. It's almost enough - almost - to make you believe former Sky Sports man Richard Keys' claim that spite drove Gerrard to get sent off so early so as to totally derail Rodgers in his bid for a Champions League spot.

That's one for the conspiracy theorists and Gerrard deserves to be remembered as one from the comic books. His head, as Bruce Grobelaar says, may already be in Los Angeles but his heart will be forever in Liverpool.

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