Born and raised in Whiston, Merseyside, Gerrard joined the Liverpool Academy at age 9. At age 17, he signed his first professional contract with Liverpool and made his senior debut a year later in 1998. In the 2000–01 season, Gerrard helped Liverpool secure a treble of the League Cup, the UEFA Cup and the FA Cup. A UEFA Super Cup and another League Cup followed, and Gerrard was made captain in 2003. In 2005, Gerrard led Liverpool to a historic fifth European title, scoring a crucial late goal in the group stages, and being named Man of the Match as he scored Liverpool's first goal and won a penalty kick as Liverpool came from 3–0 down to defeat Milan in what became known as the Miracle of Istanbul, regarded as one of the greatest finals in the history of the tournament. The following year, Gerrard scored two goals, including a last-minute equaliser from long range, added an assist and a goal in the penalty shootout for Liverpool to win the 2006 FA Cup Final against West Ham, which Gerrard himself described after his career as 'probably his best performance'.