Steven GerrardThis weekend Liverpool number 8, Steven Gerrard, will probably play his last game for his boyhood side, Liverpool. Last week, in Listening Report: Steven Gerrard – Part 1 – we featured four facts about Stevie G, and this week we complete the eight.

5. Box to box

Steven Gerrard was a great example of a box to box midfielder. He had bags of energy and pace of short distances, could tackle, pass and shoot. Although he played in a variety of positions, even right back, he has always been the driving force in the team. He was committed in the tackle, indeed he was so committed that he has received the most red cards of any Liverpool player – seven, never shying away from a 50-50. But it is perhaps his passing that was his greatest attribute – opposition fans derided him for his Hollywood passes, but few would disagree that he had great vision and a raking cross-field pass.

6. Off the field

For such a superstar, Steven Gerrard led a relatively quiet off field life. There have been some incidents, for example a fight in a night club in 2008, but generally Gerrard is more Paul Scholes than David Beckham – preferring to keep out of the news. He’s been married since 2007 and has three daughters, and family, as with most people, is very important in Gerrard’s life. An elder cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, died at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 at the age of 10 and Gerrard has said that Jon-Paul and his family were an inspiration for him and drove him on to succeed as a footballer.

7. What they say

So what have his fellow professionals and those in the football world said about his retirement from Liverpool? This from the man who was so successful in replacing Liverpool with Manchester United as the powerhouse in the English game, Sir Alex Ferguson: “He has become the most influential player in England, bar none. Not that Vieira lacks anything, but Gerrard does more.” And another great modern manager, Mourinho: “I tried to bring him to Chelsea; I tried to bring him to Inter; I tried to bring him to Real Madrid, but he was always with the enemy.” Zinedine Zidan commented, ““Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of Messi and Ronaldo but yes, I think he just might be.” And the French striker, Thierry Henri, “I can’t think of a striker in the world who has scored as many important goals, never mind a midfielder!”

8. All time great?

Liverpool has had a long history of success, and there is a long list of great players who have worn the famous red shirt. Where does Stevie G rank as an all time Liverpool great? A poll in the Liverpool Echo had 76% of people saying that Steven Gerrard was the greatest Liverpool player ever. But the question was a simple ‘Is he the greatest? Yes or no?’ and perhaps the timing of the poll affected the answers. The famous Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has Gerrard as number two all-time Liverpool great, behind Kenny Dalglish and one ahead of Ian Rush, which is probably closer to what most Liverpool fans feel. Everyone has a different view, a different favourite player, but a majority of Liverpool fans would say that he is the best Liverpool player of his generation.

Vocabulary

driving force: a player who motivates by example; a player with a lot of energy and drive

(to be) committed in the tackle: to be brave when tackling; to give 100% in the tackle

(to) shy away from: to pull out; to avoid

Hollywood pass: a pass that is very showy; a pass that is not necessary; a player who does this is showing off

raking: a raking pass, is one that cuts diagonally across the pitch – it is also accurate

more Paul Scholes than David Beckham: Paul Scholes was famously very shy and quiet off the field; in contrast, David Beckham became an off filed celebrity

Further Links

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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