London - There was no happy ending to Steven Gerrard's Anfield farewell and there will be no fairytale return to play for his boyhood club after the Liverpool captain ruled out coming back on loan when he begins his American adventure.
Having lived in Liverpool all his life, Gerrard is getting ready to abandon Merseyside for the United States for a swan-song with Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer.
After Liverpool suffered a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in his final home game after 17 years of silver service in more than 700 matches, Gerrard said a playing return was not on the cards.
"I don't think I'll come back on loan after today's performance," he said in a pitchside interview.
"I think I am going to have to go away and reflect for a few years and see what's there for me in a couple of years.
"But hopefully I'll stay involved in the game because I've lived here (Liverpool) for a long time and I love it."
Having ruled out returning to Liverpool in the U.S. off-season, Gerrard can focus on eking the last reserves of energy out of his 34-year-old legs in the MLS, a step down from the ferocious pace of England's ultra-competitive Premier League.
It was perhaps fitting, if not part of the script, that Gerrard signed off from Anfield with a performance that suggested his best days were in the past.
This season has shown that the bustling midfielder is no longer the force he was and, while his playing time at Liverpool would have become increasingly sporadic had he stayed, a move to the U.S. could hand him a new lease of life.
He has left the door open, however, to returning to the club that is so close to his heart in a coaching capacity.
Liverpool's owners posted a farewell message on the club website (www.liverpoolfc.com) saying Gerrard would "always have a home here during our stewardship of this incredible club.
"He can, and will, return in the appropriate capacity, at the appropriate time," the message read.
Gerrard, however, is aware that he will have to prove he has what it takes to make it as a coach.
"You have to be good enough," he told the BBC.
"This is a big club and can be brutal at times. I'm trying to go through the coaching badges and it's a bridge I will cross in a couple of years."