Gerrard feels the Liverpool love as he bows out

By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - Steven Gerrard spoke of dread, devastation and defeat on Saturday as the Liverpool captain said farewell to an adoring and emotional Anfield crowd after 17 years and more than 700 appearances. Even if Crystal Palace denied him a fairytale ending, with Gerrard unable to perform any heroics in a 3-1 defeat, the famous Kop end rose to salute one of their own in a match where the result was secondary. "I've been dreading this moment," he told the crowd over the public address system. "I am going to miss it so much. "I've loved every minute of it and I'm absolutely devastated I'm never going to play in front of you supporters again." The pre-match music set the mood -- 'Simply The Best', 'Heroes', 'Nothing Lasts Forever', 'The End Of The World As We Know It', and a nod to his Los Angeles Galaxy future with 'Kids In America'. Even if the former England skipper has heard the chant of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' more often than he can remember, the fans gave him an unforgettable rendition as he stood with his three daughters on the field. The refrain was echoed on countless banners, the supporters thanking him for some of their greatest memories including an unforgettable 2005 Champions League success, as the 34-year-old midfielder emerged from the tunnel to a guard of honour from both sides. High-fiving each Palace player as he moved down the line, Gerrard applauded the stands on his 354th appearance at Anfield in all competitions. "The first time you ever play for Liverpool Football Club is a dream come true," he said later. "Everything else after that was a bonus for me. "Before I go, before the tears come...I've played in front of most supporters around the world but let me tell you, you are the best," he told the crowd as the cheers rose to a crescendo. Manager Brendan Rodgers promised it would be a match players would tell their grandchildren about and there could be no doubt about that, even if much of the action was far from memorable. "I asked members of staff if they could describe Steven Gerrard in one word, what word would that be," he added. "It's Liverpool. Not just Liverpool as a football club but Liverpool the supporters and Liverpool the city. "He's a wonderful symbol for the people here and is an icon of the club." (Editing by Tony Jimenez)