Steven Gerrard decided to leave Liverpool after being dropped for Real Madrid clash

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Steven Gerrard has revealed that he decided to leave Liverpool after being dropped by Brendan Rodgers for the Champions League group stage match against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last November.

The 35-year-old, who will play for Major League Soccer outfit LA Galaxy next season, admitted he was “devastated” to be named amongst the substitutes for one of the club’s biggest matches for years.

It was the moment that convinced Gerrard his time at Anfield was effectively over, despite the fact he was subbed on by Rodgers for the final 20 minutes of the match. Liverpool lost the match 1-0, with Karim Benzema scoring the only goal of the game midway through the first half.

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"This was round about the time when I was doing a lot of thinking about what’s next for me,” Gerrard told BT Sport’s Rio Ferdinand, according to the London Evening Standard.

"I’d had a couple of initial chats with Brendan saying to me 'I’m going to start managing your games and I have to look after you and I want you to be fresh and I don’t want you to be playing three games in a week because you may be tired.'

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"But this situation was a bit unique because it was Real Madrid and I wanted to play.

"When I was told I wasn’t playing for the sake of the team and the squad and my relationship with Brendan, I took it and I accepted it.

"But I sat on that bench devastated because I wanted to play so, it is one of those situations."

Gerrard, admitting it was a pivotal moment in his Liverpool career, added: "It sort of pushed me making a decision to move on and try something different."

Brendan Rodgers was right to drop Steven Gerrard

Rodgers raised a few eyebrows on the night by selecting Joe Allen, Lucas and Emre Can all ahead of Gerrard, whose track record of producing the goods for Liverpool in big matches was second to none.

The Northern Irish manager knew it was essential to limit the amount of time the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos had on the ball, and understandably felt that packing the midfield with younger - and subsequently more energetic - players than Gerrard was the way to go.

Gerrard had played the full 90 minutes in Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid at Anfield two weeks earlier, and the fact the Reds were only defeated 1-0 in the Bernabeu suggests Rodgers got it right on the night.

But being dropped to the bench for such a glamorous fixture clearly hurt Gerrard, who would naturally have felt that he could have made the difference thanks to his experience and ability.

Did Gerrard leave Liverpool one season too late?

The fact is, though, Gerrard was not the same dynamic player in his final couple of seasons at Anfield.

The player who inspired Liverpool to multiple trophies during the mid-2000s was, unfortunately, long gone. Left was a midfielder still capable of moments of magic, but no longer able to inspire his teammates with his dynamism.

It could be argued that Gerrard left Liverpool one season too late, but nobody can blame the midfielder for wanting to make amends for that gut-wrenching finish to the 2013-14 campaign, when the Reds were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City.

Liverpool fans: did Brendan Rodgers make the right decision to leave Steven Gerrard out of the Real Madrid match at the Bernabeu? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!

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Premier League
Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League
Steven Gerrard

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