Expect more positive news from now on about Steven Gerrard – from a Liverpool perspective at least. All season long Gerrard has been going to Chelsea. Every single piece of commentary or press report on a Liverpool game seemed to mention Steve on his way to London. Alex Ferguson allegedly said that Gerrard going to Chelsea was already a done deal – as recently as last month. How Ferguson would be privy to what’s going on in the boardrooms of Anfield and Stamford Bridge we’ve no idea, but the media are happy to ignore detail before going with a story.
This need to publish a story and ignore the minor details hasn’t gone away, but the emphasis from a Gerrard perspective is to paint him as a committed Red again.
What’s changed? Nothing really. Gerrard rubbished claims he’d already signed for Chelsea back in March. The day after Liverpool and Chelsea drew at Stamford Bridge reports came out of Chelsea saying that Mourinho didn’t want him any more. Liverpool played Portsmouth a week before that game, and Gerrard was on the bench. A clear sign he was leaving Liverpool according to the press. He’d had a row with Benitez claimed some. The fact he’d made a return to action a little too soon after a fairly serious groin injury was ignored. It didn’t make good headlines.
Gerrard has looked really unhappy after games that Liverpool have lost in the league. So have we, and we aren’t planning to start supporting anyone else. Gerrard’s a Liverpool fan as well as a player – if we are annoyed that Liverpool have failed to take all three points in a league game, Gerrard will be too. Plus a bit more.
Last night Liverpool got through to the final of the top competition in European club football. You’d struggle to find a Liverpool fan that wasn’t grinning from ear to ear last night after that game. Gerrard was grinning, looking happy. Like a fan would be – Liverpool are going places, at last.
Gerrard did many interviews last night. When he spoke to the Echo he was asked about his future. He basically repeated what we already knew. He’ll be talking to the club in the summer about his future. "I didn’t want any distractions before the game and it will be the same before the final," he told the local Liverpool newspaper. "After the Champions League final I can say I’ll be sitting down with Rick Parry and the gaffer and discussing the future. That’s been the situation for a while so, from that point of view, nothing’s changed.
Those talks will be about his own contract situation – Liverpool won’t want to lose him, but won’t want to lose money on him either. The money side of things has never been mentioned publically. There’s no indication that Gerrard wanted to leave for financial reasons. Gerrard wanted success. Michael Owen left for the same reason. Unfortunately for Michael it’s not quite worked out like that – he was at Anfield last night as a guest of ITV after his own club were knocked out before the quarter final stage. Now Gerrard sees that he might be able to get that success with the club he loves: "Obviously a result like this helps everyone at the club and we’ll have a lot of positive things to talk about. I’ve said all along all I wanted was to see the club going in the right direction and this shows we are.
Gerrard then repeated: "We want to go on and win the competition. It will be a dream for me to lead the team out in Istanbul."
And once that game is out of the way, we believe that Gerrard will repay the man who pulled out all of the stops to keep the Liverpool midfielder at Anfield – Rick Parry – by signing a new, five-year deal. The trouble is, between now and the announcement being made, every word and facial expression from Gerrard will be used to fit him into a new story.