In January 2015, Steven Gerrard announced he would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, bringing an end to 17 years at the club.
Gerrard wasn’t the player he once was – nor should he be at 35 years old – but it still came as a huge shock.
Surely, as one of the greatest to ever play for the club, as the most iconic captain its ever had, he’d retire there?
Well, it wasn’t to be.
Gerrard left for LA Galaxy in the summer of 2015 and spent two years there before finally retiring.
But according to Michael Owen – the go-to place for controversy right now – Gerrard actually lasted longer than the club planned.
He believes that the people at the top of Liverpool wanted the club legend gone a full two years prior to that.
“In Steven’s case, I severely doubt whether he really wanted to go and play in the States in 2015,” Owen said in his new autobiography ‘Reboot’, per the Echo.
“I’ve heard that the club wanted him out two years prior to when he actually left.
“I’m sure he would rather have wound his career down at Liverpool, playing increasingly fewer games until he reached a point where he could be integrated into the coaching staff.
“This only happened later in his case. But instead, because he’d become so symbolic and so powerful, I believe he was forced out in the short term. Steven was bigger than the club.”
Honestly, he might be right – it does all add up.
Gerrard has long said that he only made the decision to leave once it became clear he wasn’t going to be offered a new contract.
And rather than wait around to be pushed, he jumped himself.
Liverpool were trying to rebuild things – they’d hire Jurgen Klopp before the year was out – and almost certainly saw a figure as powerful as Gerrard as a potential problem.
Still, it’s not the way to treat such an incredible club servant.