Steven Gerrard signs a new long-term deal with Liverpool
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has signed a new long-term contract with the club which will effectively see him end his career at Anfield.
The 31-year-old England international, who came through the ranks at the club, made his debut back in November 1998.
He has also agreed to take up an ambassadorial role at his hometown club when he finally hangs up his boots.
"I'm very happy. It's a very proud day for myself and my family," said Gerrard, after signing the deal.
Gerrard's new deal comes on top of the thrill of scoring the only goal of the game at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night as Liverpool beat City in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.
That took his tally to three goals in four games since making a timely return from two months out following an ankle infection.
"The contract extension coming the day after has been the icing on the cake," admitted Liverpool's Champions League winning skipper in 2005. "It has been a perfect 24 hours.
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“Gerrard, returning to full fitness after 10 months of injury strife, led from the front during and after Liverpool's 1-0 win over Manchester City”
"This is the club I love and is the club I have supported since I was a young boy.
"I am living the dream as the captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world.
"I love coming to work every day and the experiences I have had since I was eight years of age and first signed for the club, I wouldn't change them for the world.
"To extend that and to hopefully have some more good times in a red shirt is what I want."
One-club man Gerrard has now made 566 appearances since making his debut in a 2-0 win against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield in November 1998, 394 of them in the league.
That is still comfortably adrift of the club's record holder Ian Callaghan, who played 640 league games.
Gerrard did come close to joining Chelsea in 2005, requesting a transfer before performing a U-turn and signing a new deal with the Reds.
But Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish points out: "In this day and age there's not many people who go through their football career and represent just one club. Especially people with quality like Steven.
"If you're happy where you're playing, you're enjoying what you're doing and you enjoy the football club I don't see any reason to move, and it's fantastic for us that he hasn't."
After overcoming a succession of injury problems early in his career, Gerrard quickly became a permanent fixture in both the Liverpool and England midfield but the last 14 months have been described as a "nightmare" by the Whiston-born player.
He underwent groin surgery in March last year, which was initially only supposed to keep him out of action for a month.
GERRARD IN NUMBERS
- 566 Liverpool appearances
- 144 Liverpool goals
- 89 England caps
- 19 England goals
- 1 Champions League winners' medal
- 1 UEFA cup winners' medal
- 2 FA Cup winners' medals
- 2 League Cup winners' medals
A second operation was needed a month later, bringing Gerrard's season to a premature end.
An infection then forced him to miss pre-season and the start of the new campaign.
He has only made two league starts this term, scoring on his first game back in the Reds' 1-1 draw with Manchester United in October.
Another infection, this time in his ankle, forced him back on the sidelines and he missed another two months before finally returning via the subs' bench on Boxing Day for Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers.
The 89-times capped England midfielder will continue his affiliation with the club even after retirement after agreeing to take up an ambassadorial role.
"It's really flattering for me that the club have offered me the chance to stay when I eventually hang my boots up," he added.
"Hopefully that will be in many years to come because I want to play for as long as I can.
"I'll know myself when it's time to hang my boots up and then hopefully I can stay involved with the club and set the right example for youngsters coming through."