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Steven Gerrard leads Liverpool legends to victory in charity match



A difficult start

It could only have ever been one man to put the Anfield crowd on their feet on Saturday.

In a charity game featuring icons from various eras from both Liverpool and Celtic, Steven Gerrard was the man most fans were there to see.

But it came so close to not happening.

Gerrard, who had been in Italy for England’s EURO qualifier tie on Thursday, had returned to the UK suffering with a chest infection that had left him bedridden and unable to properly prepare.

But as he noted in a pre-match interview, the 42-year-old was there to lead his side out as he had done so many times in the past and vowed to do ‘whatever Kenny needs me for.’

‘To be honest, I haven’t been too great. I haven’t been feeling well, normally I would do a few days in the gym, keep myself in shape.

‘My preparation for this game, I have to be honest, has been a disgrace. I haven’t been feeling myself, I’ve had a bit of a chest infection but once the game gets going I will be there for whatever Kenny needs me for.’

Entertainment and charity

With a host of recognisable names turning out for both sides, the game was played with all proceeds raised being donated to the LFC Foundation and other charities.

And after the conclusion of the pre-match festivities, which included a performance from Liverpool singer-songwriter Jamie Webster, the more than 40,000 fans in attendance were treated to an entertaining start, with Charlie Adam in particular controlling the game from the centre of the hosts midfield.

The midfielder, who spent his formative years at Celtic’s Glasgow rivals, was treated to some good-natured mocking from the visiting fans, with former Rangers boss Gerrard joining him to playfully gesture back during an early free kick.

A game for all ages

As is so often the case with these types of games, the younger players carried much of the running whilst providing opportunities for their older colleagues to influence with experience.

Former Reds defender Martin Skrtel has continued his career at his childhood club in Prievidza, Slovakia with the former centre-half utilising his skills further up the pitch in his local league.

This offensive practice appears to have paid dividends, as the 38-year-old embarked on an excellent mazing run before being brought down inside the box by former Republic of Ireland international Darren O’Dea.

Gerrard seals the deal

Any questions regarding who would take the spot kick were quickly answered as Gerrard stepped up at the 12 yard line before sending Artur Boruc the wrong way from the penalty spot to give his side the lead and send Anfield into a frenzy.

Robbie Keane proved one of the visitors’ more dangerous threats during the early stages, but his influence would ultimately be dulled as he switched his green and white hoops for the famous red shirt at half time.

Djibril Cisse was one of the players to join the game following the interval, and immediately demonstrated his evergreen technique by producing a sumptuous through ball for Mark Gonzales seconds after the restart.

The Chilean had starred in previous legends matches for his former club and maintained his high standing by latching on to the pass, shifting the ball onto his right foot and duly converting to double Liverpool’s lead.

A great match for a great cause

As the game wore on the pace slowed, save for the likes of Ragnar Klavan, who produced a tireless performance bombing down the left flank as Liverpool attempted to continue to extend their lead.

Gary McAllister made a cameo as the game reached its final stages, drawing applause from the crowd who were ultimately treated to a good game of football played for a great cause.

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