Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard reflects on leaving Anfield
Last Updated: 02/01/15 2:14pm
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard concedes his decision to leave Anfield after two decades was extremely difficult.
The 34-year-old made his debut for Liverpool in November 1998 and has made almost 700 appearances for the club.
He has won 10 trophies with the Reds, and although he failed to pick up a Premier League winners medal, he did lead Liverpool to their fifth Champions League success in 2005.
Gerrard has refused to reveal where his future lies but insisted it will not be for a potential rival as he could not "contemplate" playing against the Reds.
Sky Sports News HQ understands he is in talks with Los Angeles Galaxy and the two New York clubs - City and Red Bulls - over a move to the USA in the summer.
"This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time," said Gerrard.
"I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.
"Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult, but I feel it's something that's in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.
"I'm going to carry on playing and although I can't confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won't be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool - that is something I could never contemplate.
"My decision is completely based on my wish to experience something different in my career and life and I also want to make sure that I have no regrets when my playing career is eventually over.”
Gerrard also thanks manager Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool’s American owners for their understanding over his decision.
"I can't thank Brendan, the owners and everyone at the club enough for how they've handled this and I am leaving on great terms. Also, I would like to thank my teammates and all the staff for their help and continued support,” Gerrard said.
"It is a very special place to be part of. It is my sincere hope and wish that one day I can return to serve Liverpool again, in whatever capacity best helps the club.
"One point that is important to make is that from now until the last kick of the last game of the season, I will be as fully committed to the team as I ever have been and giving everything I have to help Liverpool win games.
"My final message is for the people who make Liverpool Football Club the greatest in the world - the supporters.
"It has been a privilege to represent you, as a player and as captain. I have cherished every second of it and it is my sincere wish to finish this season and my Liverpool career on a high."