Belfast Telegraph

I have fought back from my lows with Liverpool, reveals Steven Gerrard

By last night Steven Gerrard had not ventured into the territory of personal turmoil with Wayne Rooney.

“Who am I to talk about things like that with Wayne Rooney? He's his own man,” he said.

But journeying through the elegant streets here brought the cold chill of recollection for the England captain about how it feels to be assailed by troubles back home and to attempt to put them aside when the football starts.

It was in Basle's St Jakob-Park Stadium that England's captain experienced what he remembered last night as one of his worst moments in football: Liverpool's arrival to face the local side in the 2002/3 Champions League group stage.

His parents, Paul and Julie, were in the throes of the divorce which devastated him and his form was painful to behold.

Liverpool were 3-0 down by half-time and Gerrard, utterly ineffectual, was subjected to a rocket by Gerrard Houllier and not even sent out for the second half during which he saw Liverpool eliminated, despite levelling the tie 3-3.

Houllier declared late that night that we were witnessing a case of a young star allowing his publicity to run away with him.

“I hope he doesn't believe everything that is written in the press about him, but he seems to be a good reader,” the then Liverpool manager said of Gerrard.

Gerrard's last moments out on the pitch here before his re-aquaintance with it in an energetic training session last night came on the disconsolate, track-suited walk he took to the Liverpool fans whose Champions League hopes were dead for another year, though the message for Rooney is that personal calamity can sometimes form a part of the journey in sport.

“You learn from things like that that happen to you, throughout your career,” Gerrard said. “Highs and lows. that was certainly a low in my career.

“I was sitting in the dressing room on my own having been taken off in one of my first Champions League games.

“The players go back out 3-0 down and you've put in a bad performance.

“It's a low point, let me tell you — probably one of the worst performances I've put in. I totally deserved to be whipped off at half-time.

Belfast Telegraph

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