Steven Gerrard is in contention to make final Merseyside derby appearance
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is not expecting Everton fans to change their tune when he runs out at Goodison Park for his final Premier League Merseyside derby.
Only Ian Rush has scored more goals against the Toffees than the 34-year-old, but, with his time in English football coming to end, the last few months of the season are being seen as a chance to celebrate his career and contribution to his boyhood club.
It is not a sentiment entertained across Stanley Park, where Gerrard has been the target for abuse from almost the moment he made his debut in 1999.
Liverpool’s Scouse captain accepts his summer departure to the Los Angeles Galaxy does not mean Toffees fans will change their stance.
‘I doubt it very much,’ he said. ‘We’ll have to wait and see on that one.
‘I had some stick from an Everton fan yesterday but it is part of my life living in this city.
‘I love the banter with Everton fans. It’s what it’s all about. It’s about rivalries and big games of football.
‘I’m up for all that. I don’t mind it at all. Bring it on, as far as I’m concerned.
‘It will be my last derby and it will be someone else’s turn to be in the spotlight.
‘It becomes Jordan Henderson’s problem (as he is likely to succeed Gerrard as captain) and Jon Flanagan’s problem (as a local lad) because the Everton fans will soon turn on them.’
Gerrard has a habit of getting under Everton’s skin, whether it is on the pitch – where he has scored 10 goals in 32 appearances, including the first Anfield hat-trick in 77 years in 2012 – or off it.