Steven scored twice against Leicester City at Anfield just 24 hours before announcing his departure.

End of the Adventure

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

Liverpool supporters had little inkling of what was to come when Steven Gerrard struck home his second successful penalty of the afternoon in a 2-2 New Year’s Day draw with Leicester City at Anfield.

He did so with the usual trademark poise that had been prevalent throughout his entire career. He clenched his fists and raised them towards the fans – a seemingly normal celebration from the captain on the outside, but on the inside he knew what was coming.

At 9am on Merseyside the following day, January 2, 2015, Gerrard announced he’d be leaving the club at the end of the campaign – later confirming he’ll be starting a new life in the United States with LA Galaxy.

"It's been a tough 24 hours and I've had to do some tough things that I'd never really thought of doing for a long, long time. Now that it's real, it's a bit of a strange feeling."

Steven

The reaction worldwide was simply overwhelming - so much so Gerrard revealed he couldn’t bring himself to read the tributes that had poured in from far and wide as they made him too emotional. Indeed, the club’s official hashtag for the news - #LFCicon – was Twitter’s leading global trend for several hours.

Steven Gerrard’s 17 years with Liverpool FC’s first team were coming to an end.

Tribute to Steven

"As a person, he is a really nice gentleman - and, believe it or not, in the times I've met him, I think he's also relatively shy! It's sad to hear he's leaving the club. He is more than a footballer to this city."

Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group
Steven receives a figure 8 sculpture from Gerard Houllier and LFC chief executive Ian Ayre

The Farewell Gift

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

Steven Gerrard's final game at Anfield was marked by the club with a special presentation on the hallowed turf.

After the final whistle of the clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday May 16, Gerard Houllier, the manager who helped launch the skipper's career by handing him his debut back in 1998, played a part in commemorating its end.

Alongside chief executive Ian Ayre, the former Liverpool boss presented the '8' award, which had been specially commissioned months earlier to celebrate the end of Steven’s 17-year stay at the club.

The bronze-coated piece, based on the shirt number that has become synonymous with the man, is inscribed with memorable moments - of which there are many - from Steven's career, including the 'Miracle of Istanbul' and his 2006 FA Cup final heroics.

It is the product of a four-month design and manufacture process and a small recognition of Gerrard's remarkable contributions to Liverpool history.

The plinth that holds the number reads: “Making the impossible, possible” - a fitting summary of the captain's Liverpool journey.

The Announcement

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

Tributes to Steven

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

"Steven is a special individual and will always have a home here during our stewardship of this incredible club. He can, and will, return in the appropriate capacity, at the appropriate time."

John Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon

"Liverpool FC is not just losing a great athlete, or a great footballer. The club is losing its ‘red’ heartbeat. Steve, remember, you’ll never walk alone."

Rafa Benitez

"The day we all dreaded for years. LFC’s best player of all time in my opinion."

John Aldridge

"Gutted about Steven, but what an unbelievable player."

Robbie Fowler

"In my eyes he is still one of the best players in the world. When you say Liverpool it's always Steven Gerrard. It will be different next season and Liverpool will never be the same."

Martin Skrtel

"I try to observe him in training and his playing style. He's phenomenal. It's a pleasure for me to be playing alongside him."

Philippe Coutinho

"My hero. My mate."

Xabi Alonso

"With you I have lived one of the best moments of my career in a stadium. I am proud to say I played with a legend like you."

Luis Suarez

"Stevie will always be a legend, not just for Liverpool, but for England as well. He will go down in history as one of the best midfielders in the game. He is just unbelievable every day, a great leader and the perfect example for every young player around the country."

Daniel Sturridge

"When I think about Steven Gerrard’s career at Liverpool, I am filled with gratitude. I don’t want to single out one goal or one performance. I just want to say I feel lucky that he was a Liverpool player and that I saw him play."

Kenny Dalglish

Steven's Legacy

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

Liverpool Football Club have not simply lost the services of a supremely talented footballer – they’ve said goodbye to a man stitched in the fabric of the club and indeed the city.

His is a story that will be passed down through generations, not only for the impact he made on the field, but also his contributions off it, reaching out to those less fortunate than himself.

Despite the fame, wealth and adulation that comes with being a world-class midfielder, Steven Gerrard has remained a grounded and deep-thinking individual.

And the man himself believes this isn’t the end of his Liverpool story.

“It's so tough to say 'goodbye'. But hopefully it's more of a 'see you soon' rather than a 'goodbye'."

Steven

Kopites the world over will be keeping their fingers’ crossed that is the case.

Tribute to Steven

"It is almost an impossible task to find the words to appropriately sum up Steven Gerrard and his importance to Liverpool. This is an era where the word 'legend' is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn't do him justice."

Brendan Rodgers

Telling the Family

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

The Final Game

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

The Goodbye letter

Chapter 5 Leaving Liverpool FC

On May 27th Steven wrote this open letter to the fans, which was printed in the Liverpool Echo.

To all my fans,

Saying goodbye hasn't been easy.

Liverpool Football Club has been such a massive part of my life since I was eight years old and I know how much I'm going to miss it.

It's been an emotional time for my family and I with my final game at Anfield against Crystal Palace and then my last appearance away to Stoke City.

But I've been blown away by the send-off I've been given by the supporters and I'd like to thank every one of you. It's been very humbling and it's something I'll cherish for the rest of my life.

It's been an absolute privilege to represent this football club for so long.

When I was a kid, kicking a ball around in Ironside Road in Huyton, all I ever wanted to do was play for Liverpool. I dreamed of pulling that shirt on just once.

I never thought I'd get close to achieving that so to be able to look back on a first-team career of 710 appearances spanning 17 years I'm immensely proud.

I've loved every minute of playing for the best supporters in the world.

It's been an amazing journey. There have been some glorious highs and some crushing lows, but throughout you have given me fantastic support and I'll never forget that.

The highs have been all the sweeter because they have been achieved with my boyhood club. We have shared those special moments together.

Of course the pinnacle of my career arrived in Istanbul 10 years ago. That was the best night of my life. When I lifted the European Cup, there was no prouder man on the planet.

It meant so much to me to deliver that trophy for you. The supporters played such a big part in helping to inspire that famous comeback against AC Milan. I'll never forget how they helped to lift our chins off the floor after that nightmare first half.

People have often asked me about the pressure on my shoulders to deliver for Liverpool but I've never seen that as a burden. There's been huge responsibility on me but I've always loved and embraced that.

It's been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long. I've always given my best and tried to lead by example.

I've been very fortunate to play alongside some incredible players and for managers who have all helped me to improve and develop. I'm proud of what I've given back - the sacrifices, the dedication and the loyalty over the years.

But more than anything I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to play in front of these fans for so long.

Liverpool is my home and I love this city. But I believe the time is right to open a new chapter as I prepare to move to America.

I want to keep playing every week in the final few years of my career and I'm looking forward to embarking on a new challenge with Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.

I'll be away for the next couple of years but this isn't the end of my long association with Liverpool FC. I've been a supporter all my life and that will continue.

I hope to get the opportunity to come back and serve the club again one day. I feel that I can make a contribution in some role in the future.

But today is all about looking back and saying thank-you to the fans for the magnificent support you have given me over the past two decades. You have helped me to fulfil my dreams over and over again and given me memories I wouldn't swap for anything.

Thank you.

Steven Gerrard

Up Close and Personal

Up Close and Personal

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