Skipper planning return

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will leave his boyhood club with a heavy heart but he plans to return in a different role in the future.

The midfielder, who turns 35 in May, is likely to seek a different challenge in Major League Soccer in the United States after confirming he would not be accepting the offer of a new contract to extend his stay beyond this season.

It is wrench for the Huyton-born star to end an association with the club which began when he was eight years old.

"This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time," Gerrard said in a statement.

"Liverppol is a very special place to be part of. It is my sincere hope and wish that one day I can return to serve Liverpool again, in whatever capacity best helps the club."

Gerrard has followed the example set by close friend Jamie Carragher two years ago in going public with his decision early to prevent ongoing debate.