Steven Gerrard has admitted that if Liverpool offered him a new contract last summer he would not be bringing an end to his long association with the club at the end of this season.
However, the midfielder, who turns 35 in May and is reported to be on the verge of signing with Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy, insisted he does not want to “point the finger” at anyone for his impending departure.
A contract offer was not made to Gerrard until November – by which time he had already been told by manager Brendan Rodgers that his playing time would be managed.
“If a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. “I’d just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool. I didn’t want my club games to be tailored.
“My injury record had been fantastic for the past two and a half years and I had a great season from a personal point of view last season.
“It’s all ifs, buts and hindsight now. That period between the summer and the end of November gave me thinking time. There’s no blame and I’m not angry about it. There are other people in the squad and the club had other things to worry about.
“There is no finger-pointing from me towards the manager or anyone else at the club.”
Gerrard was surprised when Rodgers spoke to him in late November, but once the manager made his position known about the former England captain’s playing prospects, Gerrard knew his days at Anfield were numbered.
“I’ve got to be honest, that chat with Brendan came earlier than I was expecting,” he said. “It was about a month before that he first mentioned to me about managing my game time.
“We had another chat on the subject recently – 10 days to two weeks ago. It was tough but I understood. It’s been very amicable. Everyone knows how much I rate Brendan. Our relationship is very good.
“There hasn’t been a cross word between us,” he added. “Brendan has been fantastic for me. My only regret is that I didn’t get to work with him at a younger age.
“I’ve always worked hard all week to prepare and make sure my performance is right come the weekend. When it gets to the stage where you don’t know if you’re going to be starting or not, it becomes different. I’ve never wanted to be a squad player. If I was missing games now, I’d be sitting out even more next season.”