Fifteen years on from that night in Istanbul, Steven Gerrard is still trying to impose his enormous willpower on anarchic chaos.
In 2005 it was required for the desperate mayhem of having been run ragged by AC Milan to the tune of a 3-0 deficit in the Champions League final after 45 minutes. It turned out that a thoroughbred like Gerrard required a much bigger handicap than trailing by three goals against one of the best XIs ever assembled. Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Cafu,Kaká, Hernán Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko – not to mention Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta. Nevertheless: advantage Stevie the Scouser.
Now it’s a case of getting the maximum from his players at Ibrox. His job with Glasgow Rangers not only represents beginner’s steps as a senior coach and manager but also a blistering introduction to the fever-pitch temperature of that never-ending Old Firm saga.
Setting aside the particulars of the Scottish Premiership, Gerrard still looks and trains as if he could perform in elite-level football. His passport age reveals that he’s still a relatively young 40-year-old, yet he’s accumulating those scars and wrinkles of hard-bitten experience at a frantic rate.
When I chat with the hero of Istanbul, it’s in between his 28th and 29th senior UEFA competition games as a coach. We scratch our heads about how long it might have taken Liverpool’s legendary Bill Shankly, who made Anfield legendary and was born a 40-minute drive from Ibrox, to build up precisely that much European nourishment. The answer?