Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard officially announced his retirement from football on Thursday morning.
The 36-year-old leaves behind him a legacy that saw him score 186 goals in over 700 games at the Premier League club (as well as 5 in 38 for LA Galaxy), and win the Champions League, UEFA Cup,two FA Cups and three League cups across a playing career that lasted for nearly two decades.
Gerrard’s Liverpool career is littered with spectacular goals, from Premier League games to cup finals, and the sight of the former England captain lining one up from outside the box was a constant source of worry for opposition defenders.
However, is it not just the belters that deserve recognition, as he has also scored for Liverpool at times precisely when they needed it the most:
Vs. Manchester United (Premier League) 31st March 2001
20-year-old Steven Gerrard had not long been established in the Liverpool first team under Gerard Houllier, but announced himself as a star of the future with this thundering strike past Fabien Barthez from over 30 yards. Liverpool went on to beat Manchester United 2-0.
Vs. Olympiakos (Champions League Group Stage) 8th December 2004
Liverpool needed to beat Olympiakos by better than the 1-0 reversal in Piraeus if they were to qualify for the knockout stage, but fell behind in the first half to a Rivaldo free kick. However, Rafa Benítez’s side rallied back and second half goals from Florent Sinama Pongolle, Neil Mellor and this absolute screamer from Gerrard with just four minutes remaining threatened to blow the roof off of Anfield.
Vs. Middlesbrough (Premier League) 30th April 2005
The Reds’ first Premier League season was heavily eclipsed by their Champions League run, but they still found time for the odd moment of magic. Case in point: the above half-volley from Gerrard in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough. Early in the second half, Gerrard collected a ball from John Arne Riise from significant distance, composed himself and casually dropped a serving effort past Mark Schwarzer.
Vs. AC Milan (Champions League Final) 25th May 2005
Technically not his finest goal and there is an argument that Milan keeper Dida could probably have done better, but Gerrard’s header set Liverpool on their way to one of the biggest comebacks in football history. Gerrard has the distinct honour of being the only player to score in the finals of the Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup, and at times dragged them to success.
Vs. West Ham (FA Cup Final) 13th May 2006
Known as the “Gerrard Final” in some quarters, the Liverpool captain broke West Ham hearts with a strike in stoppage time to level it up at 3-3 and send the tie into extra time, having already scored earlier in the game. His side went on to win the cup on penalties, Gerrard got man of the match and Alan Pardew has probably been cursing his name ever since.