Liverpool XI vs Real Madrid that made Steven Gerrard quit Anfield for good
LIVERPOOL’S last starting XI at Real Madrid made club legend Steven Gerrard realise his time at the club was coming to an end.
The Reds travelled to the Spanish capital in 2014 for a crucial group stage fixture.
Brendan Rodgers’ men had endured a stuttering campaign, edging past Ludogorets 2-1 before losing 1-0 at Basel and 3-0 at home to Madrid.
For their crunch clash at the Bernabeu Rodgers made SEVEN changes – including leaving out his talisman Gerrard.
Spanish paper AS described Rodgers’ selection as a “crime against Liverpool’s history”.
The likes of Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling were benched for the match.
And their replacements were of nowhere near the same quality.
On his Bernabeu evening of misery, Gerrard later said: “That was the night, tucked away in the depths of a dugout at the Bernabeu, when my disappointment ran so deep, I almost made up my mind it was time for a change.
“If Brendan’s managing of my games meant that I would miss playing against Real, it seemed as if I had seen the end.
“How could I go on playing for Liverpool another year if these were the kind of empty nights that awaited me?
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“My career would never be the same again.”
Simon Mignolet started between the sticks for the Reds that night, with Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure playing at centre-back in front of him.
Javi Manquillo and Alberto Moreno were the full-backs, with Lucas Leiva shielding the defence.
Emre Can and Joe Allen started either side of Leiva, with Gerrard and current skipper Jordan Henderson benched.
Lazar Markovic, a £20million transfer flop, was on the right flank, with Adam Lallana on the left and Fabio Borini down the middle.
The Reds were beaten 1-0 on the night courtesy of Karim Benzema’s 27th minute goal, and would go out at the group stage following underwhelming draws with Ludogorets in Bulgaria and Basel at Anfield.
Gerrard, meanwhile, penned a pre-contract agreement with LA Galaxy just two months later and left Liverpool at the end of the season.
After 39 appearances for the Galaxy he retired aged 36 in November 2016.
Source: The Sun
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