Gerrard to leave Liverpool

Liverpool have announced that captain Steven Gerrard will leave the club at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old has ingrained himself as an Anfield legend during a professional career that started in 1998.

Gerrard has been a talismanic leader for Liverpool, famously skippering the side to UEFA Champions League success in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006.

The former England captain has never lifted the Premier League title, although he came agonisingly close in the 2013-14 season.

However, he slipped and gifted the ball to Demba Ba during April's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea as Liverpool's challenge faded in the closing weeks of the season.

Speculation that Gerrard could leave Liverpool gathered pace earlier this term after he struggled for form, although manager Brendan Rodgers maintained that he was keen for the player to remain at the club beyond his current contract that expires at the end of the season.

It has now been confirmed that Gerrard will end his Liverpool stay after 17 years as a professional, though, with MLS side LA Galaxy reported to be favourites for his signature.

In a statement on Liverpool's official website, Gerrard confirmed he would continue his career away from the Premier League.

He said: "This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time.

"I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.

"Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult, but I feel it's something that's in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.

"I'm going to carry on playing and although I can't confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won't be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool - that is something I could never contemplate."

As well as his Champions League glory, Gerrard also counts two FA Cup medals, three League Cup triumphs and a UEFA Cup success among his achievements at Liverpool.