Football

'I wish I met Rodgers at the age of 24'

1 What goes through your mind when making a huge decision like that?

I always have to put my family first - and then I also think about myself and the club as one, really. I had to make a tough decision about what's best for all concerned.

The reality is I am going to be 35 in the summer. I've been here for a long time, I've been coming to this training ground since I was eight years old.

I always knew it was going to end one day and that it was going to be an emotional decision. That decision is here.

2 Was it a harsh realisation, or did you know that was coming?

I had an idea it was going to come at some time - I'm a human, not a robot. I'm not 24. I wish I was 24, I wish I'd met Brendan (Rodgers) when I was 24 because I think I'd be sitting here talking about a lot of titles that we would have won together.

The reality is, Brendan came to this club when I was 32 years of age and it's a shame that relationship didn't start 10 years ago.

I had an idea the conversation (that he won't be first-choice) was going to come at some time, but it was a painful conversation to have and that was the key moment - along with other things over the last six to 12 months, but that was the conversation.

That was the key one.

3 You had to tell your teammates as well, a group of men who look up to you so much. What was their reaction?

I think they were a bit shocked. It was as if the whole club had had some bad news.

But life goes on, it's normal and we carry on working hard for each other. They know what I think of them, but it was also nice for me to see what they think of me as well.

That was touching. But we're all men and we've got work to do.

4 Have you read much of the reaction?

I can't at the moment. I'm replying to messages and stuff, but it's tough. I didn't realise it would be as big as this.

But I've got to move on. The important people here are the supporters, they are the key to any football club.

I'm lucky enough to play in front of the best ones in the world.

5 There's an important few months left - plenty to play for. What is the dream scenario?

I think, where I'm sitting at the moment, realistically, we've still got a chance of finishing in the top four and that's the most important thing for the club, for obvious reasons.

That would be a great achievement after the start we've made in the league. But, from a selfish point of view, it's always a trophy and it's always medals, for me. - www.liverpoolfc.com


At his peak, he was the best in the world. In 2004, I told Florentino (Perez) I wanted Gerrard to partner me in midfield for Madrid. I know the club tried twice, but he wouldn’t leave Liverpool. Not many players turn down Real Madrid, but I think that tells you a lot about the loyalty of the man.

- Former Real Madrid star Zinedine Zidane