Liverpool - Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told supporters he was "devastated"
about leaving the club during a heartfelt on-pitch address after his
final game at Anfield on Saturday.
Gerrard, 34, will join the Los
Angeles Galaxy in July after almost 17 years at his home-town club and
following a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace, he paid an emotional tribute to
"It felt very strange. I've been dreading this
moment. I'm going to miss it so much," Gerrard told the crowd at a
sunny, sold-out Anfield.
"I've loved every minute. I'm absolutely devastated I'm never going to play in front of these supporters again."
He added: "I'd like to thank everyone at the club who's helped me over the last 17 years. There are too many people to name.
"I would like to thank all my team-mates, all the ex-players. They've made me the player I am today.
"I'll save the last thanks to the most important people at the football club. These supporters stand out more than anyone."
was then interrupted by cheers and applause from the fans, before
continuing: "Before I go, before the tears come, I've played in front of
most supporters around the world, but let me tell you, you're the
Gerrard was joined on the pitch at the final whistle by his
team-mates, all of whom wore shirts with his name and squad number,
eight, on the back, before going on a lap of honour.
He was also
presented with a keepsake by former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier,
who handed Gerrard his debut against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998.
took a 26th-minute lead through Adam Lallana, but Jason Puncheon
equalised with a free-kick shortly before half-time and second-half
goals from substitutes Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray gave Palace
The defeat ended
Liverpool's paper-thin mathematical hopes of Champions League
qualification, but Gerrard predicted a bright future for the club
despite his imminent departure.
"The club's in good hands," said
the former England captain, who has made 709 Liverpool appearances and
scored 185 goals since joining the club at the age of eight.
"We've two fantastic owners, Ian (Ayre, chief executive) underneath that and a fantastic manager in Brendan (Rodgers).
"There's unbelievable potential in the squad. I'm sure there's going to be new signings in the coming weeks.
"I just look at the players I've shared a dressing room with. I love them to death and I wish them every success in the future."
Rodgers said he was disappointed that Gerrard had not been able to sign off in winning fashion.
got a wonderful send-off," said the Northern Irishman, whose side visit
Stoke City on the Premier League season's final day next weekend.
"He gave everything right to the very end. He was the one driving forward, trying to get the goal.
"The support he got was absolutely brilliant and what you would expect, having been a wonderful player here.
"It was a fantastic day for him and his family. But in terms of the performance, it was disappointing."
Carragher, Gerrard's former team-mate and fellow member of the 700-plus
appearances club, told Sky Sports: "Steven has basically been the fan
on the pitch. Every kid who grows up wants to be Steven Gerrard."