After years of highlighting and comparing their incompatible brilliance, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have both ended their England careers and their careers in England this season. Both signed off from the Premier League with a goal in their final match before heading to MLS, but the hugely different circumstances in which they scored and emotions on the day sum up their divergent experiences in the Premier League.
Wearing the captain’s armband for the day, Lampard scored the first goal in Man City’s 2–0 win against Southampton. It was his sixth of the season, but first since New Year’s Day. And after the match, he was tossed into the air by his teammates and given a special tribute honoring the entirety of his domestic career with his father and two daughters on the pitch with him.
Gerrard, however, was forced to endure one final Premier League indignity. Stoke City built up an astonishing 5–0 lead against Liverpool, before Gerrard scored in the 70th minute, but the goal was something of a mercy offering as Stoke’s defenders appeared let him through for the chance to get one back.
Given the drubbing that ended with a score of 6–1 — Liverpool’s worst defeat of the Premier League era — Gerrard’s mood was far more somber than Lampard’s. In the end, he added one last Liverpool entry to his dejection stance gallery.
Lampard moves on with three Premier League winner’s medals in his pocket and a rousing, triumphant send-off while Gerrard, who famously almost joined him at Chelsea in 2005, has no Premier League winner’s medals and trudges off with one last taste of cruelly bitter defeat.
But on the plus side for Gerrard, at least he’s not getting the Raheem Sterling treatment.