Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard has pledged his future to the European champions by signing a new four-year contract, joining team-mates Jamie Carragher, Dietmar Hamann and Djimi Traoré in agreeing new deals to stay at Anfield.
Change of heart
The 25-year old English international midfield player, who has made exactly 200 Premiership appearances for the club and lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy in May, initially decided to reject Liverpool's offer a new contract, deciding his future lay away from Merseyside. However, he had an unexpected change of heart on Wednesday morning, and has now put pen to paper on a deal to keep him at Liverpool until 2009.
'Always wanted to stay'
"I just couldn't leave the club I love," Gerrard said. "After considering everything, I just couldn't go through with it. I never said I wanted to leave, but I felt I was being backed into a corner and had to push things on. I know it was going to look as though I wanted to go, but at one stage I thought I had no choice. When I thought about it more, I just wanted to stay. I admitted I've made mistakes and the club has acknowledged they've made some mistakes as well. But now we've sorted it out and I'm doing what I wanted to do all along, which is stay at Liverpool.
'Liverpool is me'
"I have learnt a hell of a lot from the past few days and more than anything, I have learnt that Liverpool is me – no one else - and that winning things here would mean more to me than winning them anywhere else," the former Anfield trainee added.
Gerrard's England team-mate Carragher, meanwhile, has signed a two-year extension to his previous contract which had two years left to run. Like Gerrard, the 27-year-old defender has spent his whole career with Liverpool, and chief executive Rick Parry said: "Jamie was outstanding for us last season and is clearly a big part of our plans." The player himself said: "I am absolutely delighted to have agreed this new contract. I am very proud to be a Liverpool player for the next four years."
In addition, Parry confirmed that German international midfield player Hamann and Mali defender Traoré have penned new one and four-year contracts respectively this week. The pair were also part of the side that came from three goals down to defeat AC Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul.
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