Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is not leaving Liverpool. He has not agreed a deal with Chelsea. He has not agreed a deal with any club. He is getting tired of doing interviews because of the same questions being asked. He will be talking to the manager at the end of the season about the future, but with two years left on his contract that’s no sign that he’s talking about leaving.
That’s our interpretation of what Steven has said in interview publised this weekend. Whether the national press interpret this in the same way remains to be seen, but based on past evidence it’s not likely. Last Sunday Gerrard clearly stated that he loves playing and scoring for Liverpool, yet in many cases the words "for Liverpool" were taken out of quotes by national publications.
So, what did Stevie say? Read on for his actual words: "I held a press conference last summer to say I was staying and the situation hasn’t changed since then. I can tell you for a fact the suggestion I’ve already made up my mind to leave Liverpool and I’ve done a deal to join another club is absolute rubbish. There’s no deal for me to go anywhere and I’ve not even been thinking about that. There has been a lot of rubbish written about me this season and it’s getting ridiculous. There are people out there whom I’ve never even met assuming they know what I think.
"Sometimes I feel I’m in a no-win situation. No doubt in Sunday’s papers someone somewhere will misinterpret this but if I say nothing, then you’ll have some fans saying ‘Gerrard hasn’t denied it, so it must be true’.
"On the one hand I want to put the record straight and let the fans know they shouldn’t believe everything they’re hearing about me. On the other, I know everything I say is being interpreted to mean one thing or another.
"It gets to the point where you wonder if you should do interviews, but I’ve always been honest in everything I’ve said. If I responded every time a rumour was printed about me I would spend all my time denying I had decided to go. How many times do I have to say it?
"All I’ve been concentrating on since I decided to stay last summer was being successful with Liverpool, making sure we qualify for the Champions League next year and going as far as we can in the Champions League this year.
"The last thing I want to to do is leave this club because I want us to be challenging for honours every season. At the end of the season I’ll be sitting down with the manager and talking about the future, but until then all of us are trying to just focus on doing the best for the club and making sure we qualify for the Champions League."
Steven Gerrard wants to stay. He’ll be talking to the manager (not the board) in the summer about the future. Rafael Benitez won’t want to keep an uncommitted player – hence the speed of Michael Owen’s departure – so contract talks are almost certain to take place, alongside talks about which players Benitez is trying to bring in. Between now and then the situation of finance at Liverpool may be sorted – activity certainly seems to be taking place behind the scenes – and the players interesting Benitez may be of a higher class.
Chelsea may just find they can’t have everything they want.