STEVEN Gerrard has confirmed that he will leave Liverpool when his contract expires in June.
The Reds captain, who made his debut in 1997, has been heavily linked with a move to the American MLS, specifically LA Galaxy.
Gerrard was offered a new contract to stay at Anfield in December, with Brendan Rodgers expressing his hope that the 34-year-old would commit his future to the club, but he will instead look to finish his career away from the Premier League.
“This is an era where ‘legend’ is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn’t do him justice,” Rodgers said in a statement following Gerrard’s announcement.
“As a leader and as a man, he is probably incomparable to anyone I have ever worked with.”
The star has become a Liverpool legend since making his bow as a 20-year-old, captaining the club to Champions League glory in 2005, and he has also won two FA Cups, two League Cups, one UEFA Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. The one prize that has eluded him remains the Premier League.
But, despite his bulging trophy cabinet, Gerrard has had to cope with a withdrawn role this season, with Rodgers often opting to bench the veteran in favour of rotating his options. One such occasion came in the Champions League clash with Real Madrid, leading to reports that Gerrard was considering his future.
In total, he has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring seven goals.
STURRIDGE hails “leader” Gerrard Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool team-mates paid tribute to their captain after he announced he is to leave the club at the end of the season.
Gerrard will depart Anfield after 17 years’ service in the summer when his contract expires.
Daniel Sturridge was among 23 current Reds players to pay tribute to the 34-year-old on the club’s website on Friday morning.
The striker said: “Stevie will always be a legend – not just for Liverpool but to England as well.
“He will go down in history as one of the best midfielders in the game. He’s just unbelievable every day, a great leader and the perfect example for every young player around the country.”