Steven Gerrard is in the top three players to ever play for Liverpool .
That’s quite an achievement because, let’s face it, he played in an era where for many of the seasons he was our only hope.
He carried the team for a long time.
As a Liverpool player, you’re often fortunate enough to be involved in big moments.
Often, though, that’s as a team, as a collective – certainly during the 1970s and the 1980s when silverware was regular.
But Gerrard has had more big moments than most. You can directly attribute a lot of trophies to his performances.
You can’t do things all by yourself in a team game, but if you look at Liverpool’s best moments in the past 15 or so years, they do more often than not belong to Gerrard.
Just look at them. Olympiakos, Istanbul, the West Ham FA Cup final, the list is endless in important games where he has made the difference.
Some players will forever be associated with one moment, they’ll always be remembered for it. Their careers are defined by it.
For Gerrard, though, there are so many. That underlines the impact he has had at Liverpool during his playing career.
His decision to retire is the right one.
He’s done most things in the game at a very high level, and I sense he wanted to experience something different after Liverpool by going to LA Galaxy.
Now he has come back, and I believe he will take his time and prepare for the next chapter of his life.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea that he’s hung up his boots. As a professional athlete, you are used to playing in some discomfort.
But very rarely would that be your sole reason for retiring. We can all play in a bit of pain.
However, I do wonder where he could go and play in a team that could support him properly.
As for what Gerrard does next, I’m not sure what his appetite is like but there’s no doubt he’ll find something.
Maybe his mind if set on what he wants to do in the short term and also in the longer term.
He’s in a position where, if he doesn’t enjoy it, he doesn’t really have to do it.
That said, I believe he will now have a lot of options.
Will Black Cats have the fear factor?
Teams are becoming fearful of Liverpool.
Proof of that came at Southampton last weekend, when the Saints were set up to simply stop the Reds, even though they were playing at home.
They didn’t want to get battered. Because, believe me, that’s something of which this Liverpool side is very, very capable.
Just ask Leicester City, Hull City or Watford.
Before you start to think about beating Liverpool these days, you have to have a plan to stop them.
If you decide to go toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp’s side, you could be looking at conceding five or six.
Southampton defended well but a lot of things had to go for them to get a point, not least some wayward finishing from the Reds.
Sunderland are up next on Saturday, and I don’t believe they have the same organisation as Southampton, they haven’t been as well drilled over the last few years.
Having said that, Sunderland have found a bit of form with back-to-back wins, Victor Anichebe has come to life and Jermain Defoe is always razor sharp.
I just have a feeling if they come to Anfield and play 4-4-2, they could be on the end of a bit of a hiding.
Sturridge right to be frustrated
Daniel Sturridge will be feeling very, very frustrated right now.
But that shouldn’t be used as something for people to beat him over the head with.
For a long time, the reason Sturridge wasn’t regularly in the starting line-up was because of the physical problems he has had in recent years.
Now, though, I’m sure he’ll be thinking he’s as fit as he has been for a number of years now – and will be left wondering why is isn’t playing.
Sturridge is proven at this level. And he’ll know 75% of Premier League teams would have him up front in a heartbeat.
However, Jurgen Klopp has his way of playing and that, for the moment, doesn’t seem to fit the Liverpool striker.