Saturday, 16 May 2015

Gerrard Takes One Last Swipe at Chelsea Fans

Steven Gerrard is one of the iconic players in the Premier League, but he certainly does not rank at the top when it comes to the number of domestic trophies won. His time at Liverpool has coincided with a long drought in terms of a league title for the Merseyside outfit; Gerrard has been at the receiving end of several taunts from opposition fans for the same. The 34-year-old will be ending his Liverpool career in the summer, as he moves to the MLS in search of a new adventure. He will be joining LA Galaxy, who are backed in the 2015 MLS Cup odds from Betfair at 5/1 to lift the title.

Top coaches like José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have consistently maintained that Gerrard remains as one of the finest attacking midfielders of his generation. The 34-year-old may have lost his attacking threat in the last couple of years, but it is not really surprising to learn that clubs like Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Chelsea were interested in signing him over a long period of time. Gerrard has admitted that his head has been turned a couple of occasions, but he resisted a move due to his love for the club.
Just like every other top player, Gerrard is no different when it comes to getting stick from the opposition fans. He is particularly targeted by Manchester United, Everton, and Chelsea supporters for different reasons. The rivalry between United and Liverpool needs no introduction, while the competition from Chelsea is much more recent. Even though Liverpool have not been title competitors for Chelsea, Gerrard turning down the West London outfit back in 2005 is the first start of bad blood.
Chelsea had agreed a £32 million fee with Liverpool for the midfielder just after he had won the Champions League. Yet, the manner in which the victory was achieved over AC Milan in Istanbul appeared to provide a new sense of belief within Gerrard. Rafa Benitez appeared to be the man to lead Liverpool to their first league title since the late 1980s. Despite having agreed a contract with Chelsea, Gerrard decided to stay at Liverpool. Since then, he has been able to add only the League Cup trophy while playing for the Merseyside club.
Meanwhile, his England colleagues like John Terry have won Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup with Chelsea during this period.
Aside from the early successes against Chelsea in the Champions League, it has largely been a string of disappointments for Gerrard against the club that he almost joined. His worst moment came last season when his slip, which is the source of many ridicules, allowed Demba Ba to score in the 2-0 win at Anfield. This went on to destroy Liverpool’s hopes of winning their first league title in more than two decades.
In the last decade, Gerrard has not been helped by Liverpool to get back at the opposition taunts. Apart from the 2005 Champions League success and the League Cup victory a few years ago, Liverpool have rarely been successful in the last two decades.
For the first time, Gerrard has had an opportunity to get back at opposition fans – more specifically Chelsea supporters. Few expected Gerrard to receive any sympathy when he was making his last appearance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. It proved to be the case, as the Liverpool midfielder was once again taunted and subjected to much ridicule by the home supporters throughout the match. However, a rather surprising moment came when almost the entire Stamford Bridge crowd rose to give Gerrard a standing ovation when he was substituted.
Rather than thank those who had given him a standing ovation, Gerrard used this opportunity to get one back over the Chelsea faithful. Stamford Bridge has been criticised for not being vocal enough in the last decade. In a subtle hint at this aspect, Gerrard stated that it was nice for the blues to turn up at least once for a landmark moment. Further, he also made it clear that the abuse that he has received from Chelsea fans for the last decade had not been forgotten. Gerrard may have forgotten the sending-off gift from the Chelsea fans, but he will very much be looking forward to getting an even better present when he makes his final Anfield appearance against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Liverpool are backed by Betfair at 4/9 to get a win in this match with Gerrard, who recently scored the winner against QPR, being backed at 17/10 to get a goal at any time during the match. Both teams have nothing to play for after Liverpool failed to get the win against Chelsea that would have kept them in the hunt for top four.