Rio Ferdinand has slammed Liverpool for showing a lack of loyalty to Steven Gerrard at the end of his career at Anfield.
Gerrard made over 700 appearances for the Reds in 17 years on Merseyside, and is considered one of the club’s greatest ever players having played pivotal roles in leading the side to FA Cup and Champions League glory.
He had offers from elsewhere in that time, including Chelsea, who courted him for some time, but the midfielder snubbed other suitors to remain with his boyhood club.
And Ferdinand has accused the club of not showing Gerrard the same loyalty as he left for LA Galaxy having not been offered a new deal by Liverpool.
“He’s been loyal to them, he had that obscene offer we’re hearing from Chelsea,” Manchester United legend Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel. “They courted him, they tried every which way they could through players and what not trying to get him and unsettle him. He became unsettled, flirted with the idea a little bit, but actually, loyalty probably made him stay at Liverpool.
“Whatever happened, he was courted by Chelsea. He decides to stay, and then he gets towards the end of his career and the club don’t want to give him a new deal. Bearing in mind [he’s] arguably the club’s best-ever player, been ampart of iconic moments at the football club and would have had so much to offer young players staying there from a culture, a mentality and somebody they can look at and identify as a local lad, but they let him go to LA Galaxy.”
Gerrard is now at the Aston Villa helm having led Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years, and Ferdinand believes Liverpool made a mistake in not “grooming him” and offering him a “player-coach” role.
“There was the ability for him to stay there as a player-coach and groom him into being a coach in the system that they’ve got or a manager, but they chose to do something totally different and allowed him to go to LA Galaxy,” Ferdinand added. “So when you talk about loyalty maybe if the club were being shown an element of loyalty there they might have gone, you know what, because of that loyalty he’s showing us, we’re going to give him a bit back at the end of his career.”