Steven Gerrard wants to finish his Anfield career “on a high”, as he prepares to make his final home appearance for Liverpool against Crystal Palace this weekend.
Saturday’s Premier League meeting has little riding on it for either side in terms of end-of-season ambitions, but it has great significance for Liverpool fans, who will wave goodbye to a club legend.
In 17 years as a Liverpool player, Gerrard has made more than 700 appearances across all competitions and the former England captain hopes he can bid farewell on a positive note.
“I’m looking forward to the match and I want to win the game desperately,” he said.
“I want to finish on a high at Anfield in front of our supporters. But there’s no getting away from it – come the end of the game, when I get the chance to say goodbye, it will be an emotional time.
“I am not really one for attention or focus and I feel a bit sorry for my team-mates this week. Obviously, a lot of attention is on me and I am sure it will be at the weekend.
“When the whistle goes it’ll all be about the team and the team trying to get three points. All I can do is apologise if I have taken any attention away from the players.
“It’s never been my intention to grab any glory or attention all along. I am aware it’s all about the team at this club and from day one I have always tried to pull in the right direction for the team.
“I’ve been dreading this moment in a strange way because I’m going to miss it so much – playing at Anfield, playing in front of the fans.
“I am going to miss playing with my team-mates. It’ll be emotional, but the plan is to try and keep it together, stay strong and try and avoid the tears.”
Liverpool saw their hopes of UEFA Champions League qualification effectively ended with last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea, in which Gerrard netted the equaliser.
A return to the UEFA Europa League looks likely, while their opponents are in 12th place, having lost each of their past four matches.
Manager Alan Pardew, having guided the club away from danger since his appointment in January, hopes to help Palace “evolve” in the upcoming transfer market, and has a fully-fit squad to choose from for the clash.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers still has doubts over Mamadou Sakho (hamstring), as they look to earn a win that will secure a fifth-place finish and ensure Gerrard’s Anfield farewell is a successful one.