LONDON: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard decided to stay at Anfield because of family threats, it was reported yesterday.
The Daily Mail claims the abuse directed at Gerard reached vitriolic levels in local newspapers and on websites and his family received threatening phone calls and letters.
Former manager Gerard Houllier was the subject of death threats while Gerrard's team-mate Michael Owen has admitted in the past that threats from the more fanatical supporters are something players have to live with.
But Gerard's decision to turn down a move to Chelsea will probably convince Owen to sign a new contract, in a huge boost for new manager Rafael Benitez.
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said: “Hopefully this is going to help with those talks.”
Gerrard said he had been unhappy with the club's inability to challenge for the major honours.
“For the first time in my career I thought about the possibility of moving on but after coming home from Euro 2004 and sitting down with my family and spending time with my agent I have decided I am staying on at Liverpool Football Club,” the 24-year-old England midfielder said.
Gerrard, who signed a new four-year deal with Liverpool in November last year, had been on the verge of joining Chelsea.
And yesterday, The Sun reported that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich hit the roof when he learned he had lost the battle for Gerrard.
The Russian oil billionaire lost out in his attempt to make England coach Sven Goran Eriksson his manager at the beginning of last season and failed to lure David Beckham away from Real Madrid.
Abramovich believes Chelsea should be able to close out any deal and is dumbfounded it is not happening. – AFP