The final score lacked the spirit of the moment, but magic was in the air at Anfield on Saturday as a boisterous Liverpool crowd saluted long-time midfielder Steven Gerrard in his 354th and final home game of his illustrious career. The Reds were unceremoniously denied a victory by Crystal Palace, 3-1, but the man of the moment was provided a fond farewell as Gerrard moves on to the LA Galaxy next season.
Ignoring the final score, Liverpool fans sang the captain's praises for long stretches. Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and others were on hand for Gerrard, who spent 17 years with the club and scored 185 goals. Liverpool supporters, who are among the most proud in all of sports, cheered loudly after the final whistle with banners of praise for their captain. Tickets for the match cost over £1,200, according to reports.
Gerrard, 34, was given a guard of honor as he walked out for the final time at Anfield with his three daughters. He tapped the "This is Anfield" sign as he made his way down the tunnel. In Liverpool's matchday program, a headline quote from Gerrard reads: "I'm a Liverpool fan who has lived the dream."
Manager Brendan Rodgers suggested this week that Gerrard transcended football, with his image to the city being more than just a Liverpool player.
"I've asked a number of people and I've asked a lot of my staff if they could describe Steven in one word, what would it be," Rodgers told reporters on Friday.
"(I heard) all the words you will have heard before -- words that come to mind in terms of being genuine, quality and world class. All the adjectives you would describe him with.
"But for me, the word I would describe him with is 'Liverpool.' Not just Liverpool as a football club or Liverpool and the supporters, but Liverpool the city...
"What he has given to this city, politicians haven't given to this city. Local hospitals, the charities, all the work he does, it's unheralded.
"He is a wonderful symbol for the people here and an incredible, incredible icon of the club."