Steven Gerrard's five greatest games
Steven Gerrard will play at Anfield for the final time in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday as he prepares to leave his hometown club to join LA Galaxy
Steven Gerrard will play at Anfield for the final time in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday as he prepares to leave his hometown club to join LA Galaxy. Here we look at five of the Liverpool legend's finest displays:
Miracle in Istanbul (v AC Milan, 2005, Champions League final)
Faced with the prospect of a humiliating defeat after falling 3-0 behind against an inspired AC Milan, Liverpool overcame almost insurmountable odds to win their first European Cup for 21 years thanks to Gerrard, whose never-say-die efforts in the Ataturk Stadium ensured he would forever be regarded as an Anfield icon. In the signature moment of Gerrard's glittering career, the midfielder, who admitted he was certain Liverpool would lose at half-time, helped orchestrate a comeback for the ages, reducing the deficit with a header before winning the penalty that led to Xabi Alonso's equaliser as Rafael Benitez's side scored three times in five incredible minutes. The Reds completed their astonishing triumph in a penalty shoot-out, leaving Gerrard to experience 'the best moment of my life' as he lifted the trophy.
Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard holding the throphy after winning the UEFA Champions league football final against AC Milan at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul. Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties. Pic/AFP
The 'Gerrard final' (v West Ham, 2006, FA Cup final)
Just 12 months after his heroics in Istanbul, Gerrard added to his growing legend by single-handedly winning another piece of silverware in a final destined to be remembered for his majestic contribution. Trailing 2-0 after a woeful start at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Liverpool were dragged back into the match on the strength of Gerrard's talent and tenacity. He set up Djibril Cisse to reduce the deficit before equalising himself, only for the Hammers to regain the lead. The Reds were seconds away from a painful defeat when Gerrard struck again with a blistering 25-yard drive to force extra-time, with Liverpool going on to win in a penalty shoot-out that inevitably featured a successful spot-kick from the captain.
European heroics (v Olympiakos, 2004, Champions League)
When Rivaldo gave the Greeks a shock lead at Anfield in a decisive group stage clash, it appeared Benitez's team were destined for a lacklustre exit. But Gerrard rose to the occasion with an unmatchable fervour that inspired an epic fightback. Goals from Florent Sinama Pongolle and Neil Mellor put Liverpool within a solitary strike of progressing to the knockout stages, setting the stage for Gerrard to fire home with a sweetly-struck shot from just outside the penalty area in the 86th minute. It was a moment destined to go into Anfield folklore as Liverpool went on to become European champions for a fifth time that season.
Treble Derby delight (v Everton, 2012, Premier League)
Entering the twilight of his career, Gerrard was struggling to silence the critics who claimed he was past his best. But the sight of Merseyside rivals Everton typically brought the best out of the boyhood Liverpool fan and that was the case again at Anfield as he scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win that was just reward for a virtuoso performance. 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 in 1982, and the first at Anfield since Fred Howe achieved the feat for Liverpool in 1935.
Red revenge (v Manchester United, 2001, Premier League)
Although Gerrard never quite succeeded in knocking United off their perch as the Premier League's top dogs for much of his career, he did enjoy some notable individual successes against the old enemy. He scored nine goals against United and the pick of them came on a spring day at Anfield when he lashed a superb long-range strike past Fabien Barthez to open the scoring in a 2-0 win that gave Liverpool a first double over their rivals in 22 years.