Steven Gerrard: an icon in Liverpool decline and a captivating figure

The captain’s departure after 16 years will sever another thread connecting the club’s current team with its glorious past
Gérard Houllier: he is the standout player from my whole career
• Gerrard: I will return to serve Liverpool again one day

Farewell then, Steven Gerrard. It has been emotional – not to mention glorious, thrilling and, by the end of a 16-year Liverpool career of operatic highs and lows, a little blurred, a little rancorous and above all strangely hard to classify. The temptation, it seems, is to reach for the big soaring notes here – and with good reason. Nostalgia is an easy chord to twang away at but, with Gerrard set to leave at the end of the season, it does seem a bit as if a golden thread connecting Liverpool to their glorious past is about to be decisively severed.

There is a kind of parlour game one can play here. When Gerrard made his debut Steve McManaman was still playing. McManaman made his debut in a team containing Ian Rush. Rush made his debut alongside Phil Neal. Neal played with Ian Callaghan, who replaced Billy Liddell, who made his own debut alongside Bob Paisley, arguably the single greatest figure in Liverpool’s history and a central supporting joist of the glory years to come.

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