Steven Gerrard bid an emotional farewell to Anfield after his final home match as Liverpool captain ended in a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The 34-year-old was unable to rouse one more famous comeback as goals from Palace trio Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray cancelled out Adam Lallana’s first-half opener.
Before embarking on a lap of honour featuring his team-mates – all wearing ‘Gerrard 8’ on their backs – and his three daughters, the MLS-bound Gerrard addressed the capacity crowd from the field.
“It felt very strange,” he said of his last outing in front of the Kop.
“I’ve been dreading this moment, the reason being because I’m going to miss it so much.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m absolutely devastated that I’m never going to play in front of these supporters again.”
Gerrard was flanked by Gerard Houllier, the manager who handed him his Liverpool debut as an 18-year-old against Blackburn Rovers in 1998.
Despite inspiring the club to famous trophy triumphs, including in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final and the 2006 FA Cup final, the midfielder highlighted his maiden appearance as a favourite Anfield moment.
“It’s very difficult to pick one [moment], but I think the very first time I ran out at Anfield, thanks to this man here to my left [Houllier], is a moment I’ll never forget,” he said.
“The first time you ever play for Liverpool football club is a dream come true. Everything else after that was a bonus for me.”
Gerrard praised boss Brendan Rodgers and the current playing staff, before signing off by paying a warm tribute to the fans that adore him.
“There’s unbelievable potential in the squad,” he said. “I’m sure that there’s going to be some new signings in the coming weeks.
“I look at the players in front of me who a shared the dressing room with for many, many years. I absolutely love them to death and I wish them every success in the future.”
Finally, Gerrard added: “I have to say my last thank you to the most important people at any football club; these supporters stand out more than any of them
“Before I go, before the tears come, I’ve played in front of most supporters around the world but, let me tell you, you are the best.”
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