The 34-year-old, who is third in Liverpool’s all-time list after 710 appearances for the club in 17 seasons, will complete his move to Major League Soccer Los Angeles Galaxy in the coming weeks.
But the departing captain, who was first given the armband by Gerard Houllier in 2003, says he wants to come back one day despite moving abroad for regular football and a new challenge.
“It’s been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long,” he wrote in a letter on Liverpool’s official website.
“I’ve always given my best and tried to lead by example. But today is all about looking back and saying thank you to the fans for the magnificent support you have given me over the past two decades.
“You have helped me to fulfil my dreams over and over again and given me memories I wouldn’t swap for anything.
“Liverpool is my home and I love this city. But I believe the time is right to open a new chapter as I prepare to move to America.
“I want to keep playing every week in the final few years of my career and I’m looking forward to embarking on a new challenge with Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.
“I’ll be away for the next couple of years but this isn’t the end of my long association with Liverpool FC. I’ve been a supporter all my life and that will continue.
“I hope to get the opportunity to come back and serve the club again one day. I feel that I can make a contribution in some role in the future.”
Despite the absence of a league title from his medal collection Gerrard has won two FA Cups, three League Cups, the UEFA Cup and two UEFA Super Cups during his Liverpool career.
But he points to the dramatic 2005 Champions League final triumph against AC Milan – where Liverpool came back to win after trailing 3-0 at half-time – as the highlight of his career and the ‘best night of his life’.
“I’ve loved every minute of playing for the best supporters in the world,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing journey. There have been some glorious highs and some crushing lows, but throughout you have given me fantastic support and I’ll never forget that.
“The highs have been all the sweeter because they have been achieved with my boyhood club. We have shared those special moments together.
“Of course the pinnacle of my career arrived in Istanbul 10 years ago. That was the best night of my life. When I lifted the European Cup, there was no prouder man on the planet.
“It meant so much to me to deliver that trophy for you. The supporters played such a big part in helping to inspire that famous comeback against AC Milan. I’ll never forget how they helped to lift our chins off the floor after that nightmare first half.”