Gerrard to leave Liverpool in summer


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Gerrard, 34, became free to sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas team on Thursday and is believed to be wanted by clubs in the United States.

The former England skipper, who made his Liverpool debut in 1998, will not move to another English club.

Liverpool offered midfielder Gerrard a new deal in November and will make a statement on his future on Friday.

LA Galaxy president Chris Klein declined to comment on suggestions his club want to sign Gerrard, who scored two penalties in the 2-2 draw with Leicester City on New Year’s Day.

Jamie Carragher, Gerrard’s former Liverpool and England team-mate, tweeted: “Sad day for Liverpool and English football. I think it’s the right decision, all things considered.”

Match of the Day presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker tweeted: “One of the finest players to have graced the Premier League. A top, top player.”

Gerrard, born in the Merseyside village of Whiston, joined Liverpool’s academy when he was nine years old, making his first-team debut as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998.

He replaced Sami Hyypia as club captain in October 2003 and led the club to the Champions League title in 2005, scoring his side’s first goal as they came from three down to draw 3-3 against AC Milan and then win on penalties.

Gerrard also won the Uefa Cup, two FA Cups, three League Cups, one Community Shield and two Uefa Super Cups.

He won 114 England caps, having made his international debut in 2000, captaining his country for the first time in 2008 and leading them at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, as well as at Euro 2012.

The midfielder retired from international football after England exited the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at the group stage.

Speculation about Gerrard’s long-term Liverpool future intensified following a newspaper interview in October in which he said he would join another club if he was not offered a new contract at Anfield.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said on 1 December that the midfielder had been offered a new deal, at the same time dismissing reports that the pair had fallen out.

Rodgers has said in recent weeks he wants to ration Gerrard’s appearances in order to keep him fresh, leaving him on the bench for Monday’s 4-1 Premier League win over Swansea.

Gerrard was restored to the starting line-up for Thursday’s match against Leicester and played the full 90 minutes.

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