Why did Steven Gerrard leave Liverpool? Brendan Rodgers’ decision to drop skipper for Real Madrid clash effectively ended Reds’ career

30 Aug

Steven Gerrard will come face-to-face with Brendan Rodgers on Sunday in the first Old Firm clash of the season.

Although it is a fixture which needs no extra edge, it will see Rangers boss Gerrard test his managerial wits against the man who effectively ended his Liverpool career.

Back in 2014, Rodgers took his Liverpool side to the Spanish capital of Madrid to face Champions League holders Real in their own back yard.

Rodgers’ decision to bench Gerrard for a Champions League clash at the Bernabeu was the final straw

Having been beaten 3-0 by Carlo Ancelotti’s men at Anfield just two weeks before, Rodgers decided to make drastic changes and dropped Raheem Sterling, Mario Balotelli and captain Gerrard to the bench.

This was the moment the former England captain knew his career at his boyhood club was over.

Speaking in 2015 to Rio Ferdinand on BT Sport as part of ‘Rio Meets Steven Gerrard’, he revealed: “This was round about the time when I was doing a lot of thinking about what’s next for me.

Gerrard came on for Lucas Leiva with 20 minutes remaining

“I’d had a couple of initial chats with Brendan saying to me ‘I’m going to start managing your games and I have to look after you and I want you to be fresh and I don’t want you to be playing three games in a week because you may be tired.’

“But this situation was a bit unique because it was Real Madrid and I wanted to play.

“When I was told I wasn’t playing for the sake of the team and the squad and my relationship with Brendan, I took it and I accepted it.

“But I sat on that bench devastated because I wanted to play so, it is one of those situations.”

Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Emre Can started in the Reds’ midfield ahead of Gerrard that evening, as Real won 1-0 thanks to a strike from Karim Benzema.

For Gerrard, he was to stay at Liverpool until the end of the season before ending his 17-year affiliation by moving to MLS to play for LA Galaxy.