Right time to move on, says Gerrard

Right time to move on, says Gerrard
INSPIRATIONAL CAPTAIN: Gerrard led Liverpool to glory in the 2005 Champions League final against Milan (above), when he inspired his team to come back from 3-0 down and win on penalties in Istanbul. He will begin his farewell tour of English football today, when Liverpool visit fourth-tier AFC Wimbledon for an FA Cup third-round tie.

LIVERPOOL - Steven Gerrard said he had been through an "emotional" 24 hours since announcing the news that he would be leaving Anfield, but kept the door open on a return to the Reds at some point in the future.

"People will have their own opinions on it, but for me, I think come the summer, it will be the right time to move on and try something different - come out of the club and the city and have a look in for a short while and hopefully have the opportunity to return," he said on Saturday.

"The last game and the last couple of training sessions are going to be a torture, because it's so tough to say goodbye. But hopefully it's more of a 'see you soon' rather than a 'goodbye'."

Gerrard said that the reality of his decision had hit home when he informed his three daughters that "their dad wasn't going to play for Liverpool any more", saying that it "hit them pretty hard".

But he vowed to do everything in his power to go out on a high.

"I'm focused now and I told the manager a couple of days ago when we had a chat that he's got no worries about me downing tools," he said.

That would include winning either the League Cup or FA Cup this season.

Gerrard will begin his farewell tour of English football today, when Liverpool visit fourth-tier AFC Wimbledon for an FA Cup third-round tie rich in historical significance.

The 1988 final saw the original Wimbledon stun league champions Liverpool 1-0.

Gerrard will turn 35 on the day of the final, and his midfield colleague Jordan Henderson believes lifting the FA Cup would be the perfect way for the club's inspirational captain to sign off.

"That'd be nice for him, because he deserves something like that for how good he's been over so many years for Liverpool," Henderson told the BBC.

"Hopefully we can go on to win the Cup. That's the aim, that's what we hope to achieve, and it would be brilliant for us as a team and for him personally to get something in his last year."

Gerrard memorably led Liverpool to glory in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan, when he inspired his team to come back from 3-0 down and win on penalties in Istanbul.

He has also won two FA Cups, three League Cups and the Uefa Cup, but has never lifted the Premier League trophy, famously slipping in a match against Chelsea last season to hand Manchester City the initiative in the title race.

The midfielder, who made 695 appearances and scored 180 goals, also spoke warmly about Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who joined the club in 2012, and suggested he might have got his hands on the league title had the Northern Irishman arrived sooner.

"I wish I'd met Rodgers when I was 24, because I think I'd be sitting here talking about a lot of titles that we'd won together," he said. "The reality is, Rodgers came into this club when I was 32 years of age and it's a shame that the relationship didn't start 10 years ago."

He told Liverpool's in-house television channel, LFC TV, that he would be playing in America, but that he was "not over the line with any team just yet".

Media reports in Britain have suggested that he will follow in the footsteps of former England colleague David Beckham by joining the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he would be reunited with one-time Liverpool teammate Robbie Keane.

ESPN.com cited an unnamed source in reporting that Gerrard will join the Galaxy on an 18-month contract, on a pro-rated deal worth US$6 million (S$8 million) per year, a report the club would not confirm.

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