In March 2015, Steven Gerrard was about to take part in his final-ever Liverpool FC fixture against Manchester United. The LFC captain had announced two months earlier that he had decided to leave at the end of the season and join LA Galaxy in the MLS. After a month on the sidelines through injury, he was back in the squad just in-time for a fixture with Liverpool’s biggest rivals.
Gerrard started on the bench but was summoned on at half-time by manager Brendan Rodgers with Liverpool trailing 1-0 at half-time to a Juan Mata goal. He made an immediate impact but this time, for all the wrong reasons.
With virtually his first involvement, Gerrard flew into a committed tackle on Mata. It was hard but he had taken the ball, so it was seen as a fair challenge. Seconds later, Ander Herrera came into a tackle to let Gerrard know he wouldn’t have it all his own way. In a moment of madness, Gerrard lost control. He stamped on Herrera. Referee Martin Atkinson spotted the violent conduct and after just 38 seconds, Gerrard’s involvement for the day was done. Given a straight red card, he could only trudge down the tunnel as United went on to win 2-1 with Mata scoring a breathtaking overhead kick for his second of the day.
Gerrard admitted afterwards: “The referee’s decision was right. I’ve let my teammates down, my manager and most importantly, the supporters with what I’ve done today.”
It remains one of the quickest red cards for a substitute in Premier League history.