There’s a very different view of Steven Gerrard among Liverpool players and the rest of the Premier League different fanbases. But even for diehard Anfield supporters, it’ll be difficult to argue that Stevie G failing to win any sort of trophy on his final season with the club fits the script of too many seasons for the captain and the club.
Despite the individual awards, and the Champions League title in 2005 (another final in 2007); the FA Cups (twice), which one of them came through his sheer will and amazing goal scoring ability from long range, which faded away a lot quicker than anyone expected; and other titles like the 2001 UEFA Cup and a few more League Cups which no one remembers when they tell the story of a career.
But the big zero next to his Premier League titles column makes the biggest impression. It’s not all on him, because this isn’t Tennis. It’s a team sport and Liverpool, not once over the last 25 years they’ve been unable to claim the league title, have been the best team in the Premier League. They’ve finished second three times, coming very close in 2009 and then again in 2014. Tragic, if you’re a Liverpool supporter and especially a big Gerrard fan, to have watched how the title slipped away last year.
This season wasn’t going to be the stuff dreams are made of. Luis Suarez left, and the signings that were made were not of the kind that challenges for titles. Brendan Rodgers and the signing committee working above his head wanted more depth, and a solid foundation for the future. Maybe they have that, but it came at the expense of finishing at the top 4 (probably) and doing something worthwhile in the Champions League. Daniel Sturridge’s injury didn’t help. Brendan Rodgers messing up his tactics too many times, including in the FA Cup semifinal loss to Aston Villa, wasn’t helpful as well. He has credit for one more season, but thanks to what happened in 2014-2015, not this season.
Gerrard didn’t get to have another go at lifting a trophy at Wembley. Maybe he deserved it after his tragic slip last season; some reconciliation for what turned out to be a season destroyer and championship snatcher for his club, although nothing guaranteed that they would have beaten Chelsea and Mourinho’s bus even without that slip.
Gerrard is one of the best midfielders in Europe over the last 15 years. He’ll always be mentioned among the greats of his generation. But not winning a league championship and making himself more than just an Anfield legend for his ability, but for the redemption he brought (or didn’t bring) to the fans, will always be part of his legacy.