November 24 2007, Premier League, Newcastle United 0-3 Liverpool
THE build-up to this game was all about Rafael Benitez’s outburst in which he made it clear he’d been told by American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett that he must concentrate on coaching and training his team. With Benitez’s position under threat, a win was vital. And, as if responding to his manager’s predicament, Gerrard struck a sublime free-kick for the opener, delivered the corner from which Dirk Kuyt nudged home a second and then exchanged passes for substitute Ryan Babel to race through and score.
September 16 2008, Champions League group stage, Marseille 1-2 Liverpool
YOU know a goal is good when ex-professionals are left wondering just how it was scored. An astonished Marseille coach Erik Gerets posed the question after Gerrard swept home an equaliser from 25 yards without breaking stride or indeed facing the net. Gerrard, who in the previous season had starred in a 4-0 win at the Velodrome, also scored Liverpool’s winner from the spot shortly afterwards.
March 10 2009, Champions League round of 16 second leg, Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid
“THIS is Anfield – so what?” declared Spanish newspaper and unofficial Madrid organ Marca. This is what, replied Liverpool as, led by another indomitable Champions League performance from Gerrard, Real, already a goal down from the first leg, were completely blown away. Gerrard converted a debatable penalty shortly before the break for 2-0 but there was no issue over his thunderous half-volley shortly after the interval that almost burst the Kop net.
November 4 2010, Europa League group stage, Liverpool 3-1 Napoli
ARGUABLY the prime example of why there has been nobody in Liverpool’s history capable of taking hold of a game by the scruff of the neck by sheer force of will. Thrown on at half-time by Roy Hodgson with an out-of-sorts Liverpool trailing, Gerrard scored a hat-trick inside the closing 15 minutes, pouncing on a mistake from former team-mate Andrea Dossena, dispatching a penalty and then, in a fitting finale, racing clear and finishing clinically. Even by Gerrard’s dizzying standards, this was something special.
March 13 2012, Premier League, Liverpool 3-0 Everton
“I LEFT school at 15, my vocabulary is not that great,” said Kenny Dalglish. “There is no way I could extol the virtues of Steven Gerrard and do him justice.” Such was the reaction to another landmark Gerrard performance on his landmark 400th Premier League appearance. A fifth career hat-trick and the first in a league derby since Ian Rush 30 years earlier, completed with aplomb in the final minute in front of the Kop, further cemented the Gerrard legend.