“The magic of the FA Cup was bloodied on the day my penis was cut and then stitched shut on an unromantic afternoon in Bournemouth last year.”
We really don’t need/want to go into any more graphic detail here! The quote kind of speaks for itself: in an FA Cup tie in late 2014, Gerrard characteristically dived into a vital challenge to block a cross – and got more than he bargained for… namely, an “eye-watering” gash along the length of his extremities! We actually laughed out loud at his comment: “I hoped I wasn’t saying goodbye to an old friend”. The treatment of his injury left him as the butt of his teammates’ gags for weeks to come… “Jokes about inches and stitches and my future performances at home”, to name but a few. Poor Stevie!
“I’ve never been able to say this in public before but I was seriously concerned that we thought we could blow Chelsea away. I sensed an over-confidence in Brendan’s team talks. We played into Chelsea’s hands. I feared it then and I know it now.”
Liverpool were leading the table by five points with three games to go – but then, in April 2014, they were beaten 2-0 by José Mourinho’s Chelsea. The loss was blamed on Gerrard’s slip, which gave the ball away to Demba Ba for a goal in first-half injury time. But in his book, Steven points the finger at Rodgers, blaming him for Chelsea’s victory… and Man City’s ultimate win of the Premier League title.
“I’ve had tons of offers to advertise products bare-chested and I’ve always said no. Maybe that’s why, unlike most leading players, I’ve never asked for an image rights deal with Liverpool … It’s disgusting for a player to ask for image rights from his club … They pay you well and you work for them.”
We’ve all seen the likes of Ronaldo and Beckham in next to nothing on various black and white TV adverts. But Gerrard’s rejection to be involved in any image rights deals is interesting, and is perhaps one of the reasons he was lauded for his everyman quality – something that fans tend to warm to.
“I can pick up the phone and speak to all of my previous Liverpool managers. Except for Rafa. It’s a shame because we probably shared the biggest night of both our careers — the 2005 Champions League victory in Istanbul — and yet there is no bond between us.”
Apparently, this was due to a distinct air of “frostiness” on Benitez’s part – he would only ever call Steven by his surname. And it seems that Steven isn’t the only person to take a swipe at Rafa recently: Sam Allardyce, in his autobiography, said Rafa deserves no credit for Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005. Is Gerrard is of the same opinion?
Asked for his response to the media frenzy around these comments, Rafa Benitez responded:”I have read the comments, and I believe [Gerrard] is wrong… But, what we must do now is just enjoy things. I have respect for Stevie and affection for him, for Liverpool, the club, and its fans. So I think it is best to let it go and not add anything else.” Maybe he does call him by his first name, after all?
“I sometimes allow my mind to wander and think, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to manage Liverpool one day?’ Right now I can’t know if I’d be good enough or if I would even be asked to do the job in the future.”
In the past, Liverpool have looked to former players for managers – Bob Paisley, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish, to name but three. Apparently, Steven has started his coaching badges and during his time at Liverpool worked with academy players – so maybe he has every right to let his mind wander away! He also revealed earlier in the year that he’s had discussions with Liverpool chairman Tom Werner about the possibility of returning in a coaching role. Watch this space.
“On the morning of the game, I felt like a caged animal … His (Ander Herrera’s) right leg stretched out invitingly on the Anfield turf. I couldn’t stop myself. Without even giving myself time to think I brought my left foot stamping down on Herrera. I felt my studs sink into his flesh just above the ankle. It had to have hurt him.”
Early in his career, Gerrard was known to be a bit reckless with his tackling. At the age of 34, it was thought those days were well and truly behind him… evidently not. In the game, Gerrard was tasked with bringing Liverpool back into the game, having been 1-0 down to rivals Man United at half-time. His introduction only served to do the opposite. Oops.
“Brendan Rodgers wanted me to stay, but the club’s offer suggested “it feels like it’s time. Enjoy your last six months with us and then start afresh somewhere else”. The meeting to discuss a new deal lasted 15 minutes — a very short time to decide the conclusion to my Liverpool career after 27 years.”
Gerrard recently told the Daily Mail that he would’ve stayed at Liverpool if they’d offered him a coaching role. Maybe that was why the deciding meeting was so fleeting – Liverpool weren’t prepared to do so. Also, for the first time in his Liverpool career, Gerrard had found himself in and out of the starting XI and, by his own admittance, he didn’t much enjoy being a sub.
“Three players stand out in my time at Liverpool. They all speak Spanish. Each of them unleashes a wave of emotion in me and in every Liverpool supporter: Fernando Torres. Xabi Alonso. Luis Suarez.”
Most Liverpool fans would probably agree that these three players – outside of Gerrard – are the most remarkable to have pulled on a Liverpool jersey in the last 15 years. Although, for some, Suarez’s legacy might be slightly tainted by his biting antics. Perhaps the only obvious omission here is Michael Owen.
“But I could see Mourinho had been right when he said Balotelli is unmanageable. He is very talented with the potential to be world class, but he’ll never get there because of his mentality and the people around him.”
Mourinho managed Mario Balotelli at Inter Milan, but even the “Special One” couldn’t get a handle on the notoriously unpredictable Italian. After spells at Man City and AC Milan, Balotelli signed for Liverpool, with Rodgers believing he could channel Balotelli’s energy onto the pitch. However, Balotelli went on to score on one Premier League goal for Liverpool during the 2014-15 season, before he was loaned back to AC Milan.
“He spread it out on the table and began to read out one “fact” after another. Rafa kept saying “fact … fact … fact …” and I could not believe what I was hearing. I was grabbing the couch, digging my fingers into the arms, feeling embarrassed for him … It seemed so unlike Rafa to talk in such an emotional way … He was humiliating himself.”
Rafael Benítez’s rant at Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most memorable press conferences in Premier League history, in which he labelled his rival a hypocrite and claimed he received preferential treatment from football authorities. During his career, Rafa has made a bit of a habit of using a press conference to get things off his chest. In 2013, the then Chelsea manager accused the Chelsea fans – who didn’t exactly hide their dislike of Benitez – of not supporting their team, and also derided the club’s hierarchy for giving him the title of ‘Interim’ Manager. We wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of him, that’s for sure!
There’s no doubt about it: My Story will be an eye-opener, as well as a page-turner, for any football fan.