Stevie G is not just an ordinary player for Liverpool. Started his love of football since in Liverpool Academy, he has gained a lot of success in the club. His role as midfielder is undeniable. He become the soul of every Liverpool matches. At first, I didn't notice him because my main attention at that time was Michael Owen. But after watched Liverpool games constantly, that number 17's player got my attention (later Gerrard wear number 8 shirt, until now). He got real determination and he's still so young. He always tried to do the best in every games. So, no doubt that on season 2003/2004 Gerard Houllier (Liverpool's coach at that time) appointed Gerrard as Liverpool's captain.
And for one of Steven Gerrard's unforgettable moment (I would say) was Champions League Final in Istanbul, Turkey. How could you forget that match? Liverpool's comeback after leaved behind three goals. They were rampaging after half time. Made it a tie in only six minutes! And it all started with Steven Gerrard's goal in minute 54. His header scored a goal. At that time, he showed us the spirit, to not easily to give up and always try to do the best.
Pic from picasawebAfter scored a goal, you could see that he fired up the spirit of his teammates. And he did great. Two minutes later, Vladimir Smicer scored a goal. And in the next two minutes, all of Liverpudlians wouldn't know that they were gonna hold their breath, when Liverpool got a penalty after Steven Gerrard had tackled from Gattuso (AC Milan Player) in penalty area. Yes, it was because of his continuously penetration effort to get close to AC Milan crossbar.
But then, Alonso was appointed as penalty shooter. His shoot was intercepted by Dida (Milan's goalkeeper) at first, but the ball bounced back to Alonso. And without a doubt, Alonso striked the ball to AC Milan's net. That moment was soooo intense, so it was really a relieve when it ended good. Liverpool made it a tie 3-3. And finally like it or not, the match's gonna have to end with a penalty shootout. In this part, you (football lovers) should've known the rest. Liverpool won their 5th Champions League cup. In the same year, Gerrard nominated as one of Ballon d'Or candidates.
Pic from bbcAfter the match, I take a flashback of Liverpool's journey in Champions League 2004/2005, especially Steven Gerrard's role (because he is the one that we talked about in this post, without denying all of players effort). Steven Gerrard made a significant goal in group stage, when Liverpool vs Olympiakos. His late goal made Liverpool went through knockout stage. And I won't forget the semifinal. Gerrard gave his heart out to the game, helping Liverpool defence tirelessly. And it was all paid off with a ticket to final. Seeing Steven Gerrard's big smile in Champions League final when he lifted the trophy made me felt overwhelming.
The next season Liverpool didn't win Champions League, but they won FA Cup. And that FA Cup final was also one of the match that I won't forget. It started almost like in Champions League final and ended like that match. Liverpool leaved behind 3-2 until second half injury time. At that time, I said to myself that whatever the final result was, I would always be a Liverpudlian, and I know all of Liverpool players had given their best. When the match leaving only three minutes in injury time, I felt nothing to lose. So...it was really a joy to see Liverpool made it a tie in last minute. And who else could did that other than Stevie G himself. I was really happy and couldn't believe what just happened.
Pic from liverpoolc-newkitIn that last minute, 3-4 Liverpool players swarmed to West Ham area. Unfortunately the ball was punted back into the midfield. But it wasn't the end, because Stevie G already stand there and found the ball. His first-time 30-yard strike was phenomenal. West Ham goalkeeper couldn't reach the ball and it scoreeeed!! So, then it ended with penalty shootout and Gerrard become one of penalty shooters. He did well. So were Hamann and Riise. In the end, Liverpool lifted their FA Cup trophy. I was soooo happy... To be add, Gerrard also become Man of the Match for the game.
In the next years Liverpool had their ups and downs. When Torres came along to Anfield, Gerrard made a great duo with him. And not to forget, his most suitable partner in midfield: Alonso. Together (I would say), they became Liverpool's dynamic duo. When many Liverpool players come and go, including Michael Owen, Gerrard showed his loyalty to the club. After Champions League final, there was a rumor that Chelsea wanted him so bad. And we didn't talk about just a few poundsterling. Chelsea offered a really big number for Gerrard transfer. But Stevie G chose to stay at Liverpool. And that makes him stay in our (Liverpudlians) heart forever.
In two-three last seasons, I have to admit that Liverpool wasn't in their best shape. But, Gerrard didn't move his feet anywhere. He still stays and leads the team. This year Gerrard turns 33 years old, and there are a lot of rumors that he will be retired anytime soon. So that's a relieve when he said that he doesn't have a plan to retire soon. Well, I know that time would come sooner or later. But I want him to keep playing for Liverpool as long as he can, so that I could still see him in every next matches that he played. Lately, Gerrard got injured and has to have operation on his shoulder. I hope it went well, so he could come back next season.
Actually Liverpool FC has a plan to visit Indonesia in July 20. And I do really hope that Gerrard could come along. But if he couldn't make it, that's okay for me (even I'll be disappointed), because Liverpool (and Liverpudlians ) need him on his best shape next season. It's bigger than anything, so that we can lift trophies at the end of the season.
So...there it is all I can do. My tribute to Steven Gerrard, one of the best Liverpool players, great captain, and would be carved his name in Liverpool legends. You will be staying in our heart, on and off field. You'll Never Walk Alone. :)