Goodbye Gerrard, what now?

He has won the Champions League, the FA Cup twice, three League Cups and the Uefa Cup, lost in three other finals and been handed numerous individual awards for his performances including an MBE and a record eight selections in the PFA Team of the Year. 

The one thing he has not won is the English Premier League winner’s medal with Liverpool, finishing second three times and third three times since 1998, which will always be the one black spot against his name.

Mind you, the lack of a league title can't solely be put on Gerrard's shoulders as members of the board have a lot to answer for with regard to transfer market deals etc. Liverpool's estimated net spend of £325million in the Premier League era is only beaten by three other clubs – Chelsea (£640m), Manchester City (£630m) and Manchester United (£400m)  and far outstrips Arsenal (£128m).

Those four clubs have all won the title in that time and with that kind of spending Liverpool should have done better, more often.

The thought that springs to mind with Gerrard's departure is what will the immediate impact be to Liverpool and will it be good or bad or a bit of both?

It may seem a bit strange 'making a mountain out of a mole hill' at the prospect of the midfielder's departure, but it really is a HUGE thing if you consider a few things.

Gerrard has been a Liverpool player for around 17-years and has developed into a world class player. He has been head and shoulders better than the rest of the squad for most of that time with a few exceptions. And once in a generation a player comes along to whom nothing seems impossible and in a nutshell that is Steven Gerrard for Liverpool.

Ask Jose Mourinho, who on three separate occasions with different clubs tried to pry the midfielder away from Liverpool, but Gerrard always turned him down electing to stay at Anfield. 

It's almost like Liverpool have built the team around the midfielder and now when he leaves…what now?

The Merseysiders really need to find a new leader fast as the hole left by Gerrard’s departure is really big. Midfielder Jordan Henderson seems to be the one touted for the task and at 24-years-old he does seem a bit young to step into Gerrard's shoes but he should be given the opportunity after all he may be a diamond in the rough and may shine! One could look at things from the angle that, such was his influence at the club it in fact held players back from being themselves and thriving? 

The difference between other legends retiring from their clubs like among others, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard, is that they left squads that were prepared for their departure and had existing players who could naturally fit in and take over their roles, but at Liverpool right now it does not seem the case. Also the gap between these club greats within their clubs is not as big as is the case with Gerrard and Liverpool and that is the big difference as his influence is bigger compared to the others.

The future is a bit complex for Liverpool; do they break the bank and buy a few world class players, including a new Luis Suarez? BUT also by finishing outside the top four this season and not qualifying for the Champions League they could very well have a battle to get real quality players when the transfer window opens. 

OR do they tweak the squad with a few new players and trust what they have to lift the club to previous greatness?

Let's face facts Liverpool are not the great, dominating team of the past, they have only been an above average side since the 1980s, occasionally reaching lofty heights but failing to sustain them, and this is something that they will have to attempt to change very soon for the sake of their fans.

To Steven Gerrard, you have your critics and you will always have them but to many you are simply the greatest.

Good Luck wherever your road takes you will never be forgotten. 

Rob Fleming