Recently appointed England captain Steven Gerrard celebrates his 32nd birthday today, with the midfielder hoping to add to his list of career highlights in Poland & Ukraine this summer.
The Liverpool legend has spent 14 years as a professional, making his debut for the Reds in 1998, and then the Three Lions two years later at the turn of the Millennium.
His greatest moments have come with the Anfield outfit though, often notching a vital goal or producing a match-winning performance when it matters. To celebrate his big day, GiveMeFootball remembers five great moments in Gerrard’s career to-date…
Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid
Champions League last 16; 10/03/09
After beating Real Madrid in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, the onus was on Liverpool to make their one-goal advantage count when Juande Ramos travelled to Anfield with Los Blancos.
Inspired by captain Gerrard, the Reds blasted their big-name Spanish rivals out of the water, with goals from Fernando Torres and Andrea Dossena going alongside a brace from the skipper on Merseyside.
The win also came just days before the 4-1 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and Liverpool would eventually finish the Premier League season in second under Rafa Benitez.
Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United
FA Cup final; 13/05/06
One of the great domestic finals in recent history, with Gerrard once again inspiring the Reds to a quite dramatic victory – this time ensuring silverware in the FA Cup final.
In a game that swung both ways, West Ham held early command after a Jamie Carragher own goal and Dean Ashton’s close-range effort. However, Djibril Cisse and then Gerrard made it 2-2, before Paul Konchesky’s cross somehow found the back of the net.
With Liverpool’s cup dream fading, Gerrard produced a 90th minute rocket to tie the game and send it to extra-time, and then subsequently penalties. Bobby Zamora, Konchesky and Anton Ferdinand all missed from the spot, handing the Reds the trophy at the Millennium Stadium.
Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos
Champions League group stages; 08/12/04
Had Liverpool not won the competition, this game would hold much less significance in the club’s illustrious history.
But they did, and it was all thanks to an 86th minute thunderbolt from Gerrard, who helped complete the comeback and secure a passage into the last 16 of the competition after Rivaldo had put the Greek side in-front.
Florent Sinama Pongolle got the turnaround on track after coming off the bench at half-time, and then Neil Mellor smashed home on 81 minutes – just three after coming off the bench.
His layoff fell perfectly to Gerrard as the game moved to a climax, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
Premier League; 14/03/09
Four days after the victory against Real Madrid, the Reds travelled to Manchester United full of confidence, and produced a performance few fans are likely to forget against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
After Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Red Devils the lead from the spot, things appeared to be going United’s way, but Fernando Torres pulled Liverpool level and then Gerrard gave his side the lead from the penalty spot.
Fabio Aurelio made it 3-1 from a free-kick conceded by Nemanja Vidic – who was sent off for the challenge with a second yellow card – before Andrea Dossena wrapped things up for Rafa Benitez’s side.
Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan
Champions League final; 25/05/05
The greatest moment of Gerrard’s career, as Liverpool came from three goals down to beat AC Milan on penalties and claim the Champions League trophy.
Goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo (2) appeared to put Milan’s name on the trophy, but Gerrard started the comeback in the second period, before goals from Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso completely turned the game on its head.
After neither side grabbed a winner in extra-time, Jerzy Dudek was left to steal the headlines from the spot, saving from Andrea Pirlo after watching Serginho miss the target, and then stopping Andriy Shevchenko to win it for the Reds.
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