The loss of Steven Gerrard to the MLS is not only a major blow to Liverpool FC, it is a loss that will have consequences for the entire Premier League.
English football is losing arguably one of the greatest players it has ever seen. Gerrard, and rightly so, is a Liverpool legend and certainly the fans' all time favourite player. With over 500 appearances for his boyhood club, Gerrard's legacy will be written in the folklore of English football for the rest of time.
What are Liverpool losing?
For Liverpool, Gerrard represents the identity of the football club. His career has spanned a strikingly impressive fifteen years, during which time the Liverpool captain won major honours including the coveted UEFA Champions League in 2005, where he was a catalyst for one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed in football.
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As a younger player, Gerrard was a goal scoring attacking midfielder who possessed one of the best right foots in the English game and had the vision to create wonderful passes both short and long for his Liverpool teammates.
His style of play as a box-to-box midfielder with fantastic work ethic was pivotal in his successes. Although his work rate was evident in abundance, arguably his creativity and vision of pass were his major selling points, not to mention his ability to score at big moments in big games.
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Big games, big goals
Such a time was evident in the 2006 FA Cup final when he scored in the last minute of normal time to take the game to extra time and penalties, where Liverpool would ultimately be benefactors and seal the cup.
A shining example for the youth generation, Gerrard's style of play is one that should be universally copied and taught to young central midfielders coming through all clubs. With a never say die attitude and complete and utter loyalty to his boyhood club, he will be irreplaceable.
The Premier League's loss
Simply put, the Premier League it is losing an icon. So many great moments have come from the Liverpool man and arguably it is unlikely that the division will see a player possess such loyalty towards his club again.
There has been a certain type of player to play for and become legends of the great club that is Liverpool. Heroes such as Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, John Barnes, Jamie Carragher and now Steven Gerrard. These players represented the club on a daily basis, they were the focal points of each team and its icons.
One of the most impressive aspects of Gerrard, was as pointed out by Brendan Rodgers in his post match interview following the defeat to Crystal Palace, is his personality. On and off the field, Gerrard was a leader. A loyal family man off the pitch, Gerrard is a wonderful role model to young players.
Could have moved
With the ability that Gerrard possesses it would have being easy to transfer to one of the bigger clubs in Europe, many of whom were universally known to be interested in capturing his signature for many years.
However Gerrard remained loyal to his club, where his ultimate goal was to be crowned a champion of the Premier League. It is unfortunate for such devotion to go unheralded as the league slipped past Gerrard and his 2013/14 teammates by the slimmest of margins to Manchester City.
In his latter era of his Liverpool career the Liverpool captain had understood the limitations of his body and accepted the physicality and pace of the Premier League was becoming too much for him.
It was not possible to control the midfield and be a box-to-box man on a weekly basis. With that knowledge however, Gerrard used his intelligence and with the guidance of Brendan Rodgers became a holding midfielder, still with the ability to make forward passes to cut open defences.
This was evident when Gerrard had the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Fernando Torres up front, when the Liverpool man made many assists.
The timing of his departure may seem premature to many fans, however arguably the Liverpool man has had his final push. He understood that he would not be able to play every game for his club and the time seemed to have come that he was no longer needed by Rodgers. Arguably a shortsighted decision, only time will tell whether the loss of Gerrard will have detrimental effects on the club and the Premier League.