Steven Gerrard’s glittering Liverpool career ended in embarrassment on Sunday as he captained the Reds to a 6-1 defeat at Stoke City – the club’s heaviest loss in 52 years.
The thumping, which came courtesy of goals from Jonathan Walters, Steven N’Zonzi, Charlie Adam, Peter Crouch and two from Mame Biram Diouf saw Liverpool slip to sixth in the final Premier League table, below Tottenham Hotspur, who won 1-0 at Everton.
Gerrard will get the headlines tomorrow. After all, today was meant to be his big finish before his summer transfer to LA Galaxy.
However, Gerrard was certainly not Liverpool’s biggest villain. That title probably goes to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who was at fault for Stoke’s first two goals.
The Belgian spilled Adam’s shot to allow Diouf a rebound for the first.
Mignolet should have got more behind Diouf’s second, which he allowed to slip through his hands.
The former Sunderland keeper was left exposed for Stoke third, after Emre Can stupidly headed the ball into the path of Walters, who scored at the second time of asking.
Lucas Leiva deserves a telling off for number four. He lost possession cheaply to Adam, who rifled home to notch against his former club.
The fifth was just brilliant. Credit to N’Zonzi, who bagged his fourth goal of the season – probably his best ever.
It was not all bad for Liverpool fans, who did at least get to cheer a Gerrard goal one last time.
This may well be Gerrard’s least favourite goal ever though. And it almost seemed that Stoke’s defenders showed him a bit of sympathy. Surely not?
Anyway, Stoke weren’t content with Gerrard having the last word. That honour went to former Reds striker Crouch, who, even at 34, would probably walk into Liverpool’s starting XI these days.
Stoke finish ninth, just eight points behind Liverpool.