The Liverpool captain not only demanded an improved performance from his teammates after Saturday's loss to Sunderland, but assumed the responsibility of leading the way — as only he can.
He marked his 400th Premier League game by scoring three goals to down LFC's nearest rival. He became the first player to score three goals in a Merseyside derby since Ian Rush did it in 1982.
Gerrard also became the 14th player to crack the 400-game mark for LFC, and just the fifth in Premier League history to do it for one team. But those barriers pale in comparison to his performance on Tuesday.
The lifelong Liverpool fan showed the world how much this particular game means to him with an all-action performance. His passing was crisp, his tackling hard, and his drive was unquestionable. And then there were the goals.
His first came in the 34th minute, as LFC was controlling the game, but having difficulty breaking down a compact defense. He ran onto an attempted clearance and beat Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard with a delicate lob from 18 yards out.
The second came just after halftime (51st minute) and effectively sealed the result. Luis Suarez did much of the work, beating Silvain Distin along the goal-line before laying it off to Gerrard. The LFC captain burst into the box and almost fired his shot through the back of the net.
Everton hadn't looked like overturning the deficit for most of the second half, but the Blues had LFC pinned in its own end late in the game. In the 93rd minute, he expended just a bit of his boundless energy by exploding into a counter-attack with Suarez.
The 31-year-old carried the ball from the midfield, through the defense before laying it off to Suarez. Although he had Howard in a one-on-one situation, the Uruguayan unselfishly played it back to Gerrard who thumped it past the helpless goalkeeper.
Gerrard's injury-plagued season has never had the chance to reach full flow. But he was at his inspirational best in this milestone game, leading Liverpool out of the darkness into the light.
Review all the action from Tuesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.tv
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