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Gerrard may stay at Liverpool
Kevin Fylan |
May 26, 2005 13:05 IST
Steven Gerrard came close to pledging his future to the Anfield club after becoming the first Liverpool captain to lift the European Cup in 21 years.
Gerrard stepped up to receive the trophy on Wednesday after a man-of the-match performance in a remarkable Champions League final victory over AC Milan.
Liverpool's fifth European Cup triumph means they will now get to keep the trophy. More importantly, they may also now get to keep the inspirational Gerrard.
"We'll talk soon -- I'm sure the manager [Rafael Benitez] and [chief executive] Rick Parry will want to talk soon," said the 24-year-old England midfielder.
"How can I leave after a night like this and all the nights this season?
"My form has been hot and cold and I've had a stressful season but you'll see a different player next season."
Gerrard, who turned down an offer to join Chelsea last year, scored one goal and created another against Milan on Wednesday as Liverpool rallied from 3-0 down to level the match at 3-3 and then went on to win a penalty shootout 3-2 after extra time.
Gerrard was guilty of scoring a late own goal that led to Liverpool's defeat by Chelsea in February's League Cup final but he has been key to the team's Champions League success.
The Liverpool captain took his side through the qualifiers with two goals against AK Graz and brought them back from the brink of elimination in their final group game against Olympiakos with a stunning late goal.
It was his relentless drive in the first leg against Juventus that set up Liverpool's unexpected quarter-final victory and he was peerless once again as they held on to beat Chelsea in the semi-final second leg at Anfield.
Gerrard has been a Liverpool fan since childhood and the support the team received from about 40,000 fans at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium clearly left a huge impression on him.
"Liverpool fans are crazy, unbelievable, and they were the 12th man tonight," he said. "I'd like to dedicate this win to the fans. They were amazing.
"This has been the greatest night of my life.
"At halftime I thought it was impossible. I thought there would be tears, frustration and disappointment but we kept going and kept fighting to the end."