Raised in Wallasey, Merseyside, Spearing was the captain of the Liverpool Under 18s which won the FA Youth Cup in 2007. He featured the previous season in the final against Manchester City, but missed the majority of the season due to a broken leg. Spearing was promoted to Melwood in the summer of 2007 to train with the Liverpool first team after impressing in the club's Academy. He had been involved with his boyhood club since he was seven years old. He was voted the best player in the Torneo di Renate, a competition for under-20 sides, competing against clubs such as Milan and Parma. He was also part of the Reserve side which won the Premier Reserve League in the 2007–08 season.
Spearing made his competitive first team debut on 9 December 2008, coming on as a substitute in a 3–1 UEFA Champions League win against PSV. Spearing also appeared in the Reds' 4–0 win over Real Madrid in the second round of the Champions League.
On 31 March 2009, Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez announced that he would be offering Spearing a new contract, alongside fellow home-grown youngster Stephen Darby. On 6 July 2009, Spearing agreed to a new three-year contract with Liverpool.
On 22 March 2010, Liverpool confirmed Spearing would join Championship club Leicester City on loan until the end of the 2009–10 season, linking up with former Liverpool reserve teammate Jack Hobbs. His debut came two days later, starting in the Foxes' 2–1 Championship loss to Reading. His last game for Leicester was on 12 May in the Championship Play-off semi-final, with Leicester winning 3–2, but it wasn't enough to reach the final as they lost on a penalty shootout. He made nine appearances for Leicester and scored his only goal for the club in the 4–1 home win against Watford.
Spearing was included in Liverpool's 21-man squad for the 2010–11 Premier League season. Spearing started and played the full 90 minutes in the opening leg of Liverpool's UEFA Europa League qualifier against Macedonian side FK Rabotnički, and came on as a substitute at Anfield in the second leg. On 16 September, he again played the full 90 minutes in the Reds' opening group game against Steaua București, his first ever start at Anfield, setting up David N'Gog for the fourth and final goal as Liverpool won 4–1. On 22 September, he was involved in Liverpool's shock League Cup third round exit to League Two side Northampton Town; Liverpool lost 4–2 on penalties after a 2–2 draw. On 21 October, he played the full 90 minutes in Liverpool's third group stage tie, a 0–0 draw with a Napoli side featuring former Liverpool left-back Andrea Dossena.
Spearing was an unused substitute in Liverpool's 1–0 Premier League win against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on 31 October. He came on in the 90th minute of Liverpool's 2–0 victory over Chelsea on 7 November 2010, instantly making an impact by playing a through ball to assist a Maxi Rodríguez effort. On 20 November, it was reported that Spearing had broken his ankle in training and would be out for up to six weeks. Spearing made his first appearance of 2011 against Everton on 16 January. In the post-match interview, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish praised the young midfielder and joked that Steven Gerrard may never get into the first team again. On 20 March, Spearing started another league game, away to Sunderland. Spearing won a penalty, which was converted by Dirk Kuyt to put Liverpool 1–0 up and was generally praised for his great performance.
Spearing then went on the secure a first team berth with the absence of Steven Gerrard and out of favour Christian Poulsen. For the remnants of the Premier League season, he formed an excellent midfield partnership with the resurgent Lucas. Against Arsenal on 17 April, Spearing gave away a 98th-minute penalty which Robin van Persie scored to make the game 1–0. The match finished 1–1. Despite this, Spearing won the man of the match award from Sky Sports and was praised after the game for his determination, work-rate and battling performance, traits that epitomised his successful run in the starting XI. He received the journalists' man of the match award on the official Liverpool website three times during the season.
In May 2011, the club announced that he had extended his contract, and as a result of wide critical acclaim for his sterling performances for Liverpool, Spearing was included in England under-21's provisional 40-man-squad for the 2011 Summer U21 European Championship, with fellow Liverpool player Andy Carroll.
For the 2011–12 season, Spearing wore the number 20, with his old number 26 being registered to Charlie Adam. Despite his highly praised performances at the end of last season, Spearing immediately fell down the pecking order in Liverpool's midfield after the arrival of midfielders Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing. On 20 July 2011, it was widely reported that Spearing would consider an option to move to Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan but the club rejected their approach, stating that Spearing was in their plans. Spearing later dismissed the rumour saying he was willing to fight for his place in the starting XI.
He made his first start of the season against Exeter City in the League Cup on 24 August 2011. The result ended in a 3–1 victory for Liverpool. Though by his own admission he had not featured as much as he would have liked in the opening months of the season, he continued to impress when called upon, with Kenny Dalglish calling his performance in the 2–0 win against Chelsea in the League Cup "superb". Spearing was sent off for the first time in his professional career during Liverpool's 1–0 loss to Fulham on 5 December.
New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers described Spearing as a "very good player with great qualities" who has "the soul of the club in his heart". He started the first competitive game of the season in the UEFA Europa League qualifier against Belarusian club Gomel, playing the full 90 minutes, and made a substitute appearance in the return leg at Anfield. His final appearance of the season for Liverpool came as a start in the 1–0 victory against Hearts in a Europa League qualifier on 23 August 2012.
On 31 August 2012, Spearing joined Championship side Bolton Wanderers on a season-long loan deal. His debut came a day later in Bolton's 3–1 defeat against Hull City. He scored his first goal for Bolton on 20 October as the club beat Bristol City 3–2, in which he scored Bolton's second goal, an equaliser. While at Bolton, Spearing became a fan favourite due to his consistency and "bulldog-like" performances in midfield. On 25 April 2013, Spearing was named the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association (BWSA) Player of the Season. This was followed on 20 May with him being named the club's Player of the Season.
At the conclusion of Bolton's season in the Championship, Spearing returned to Anfield. Although he did not feature in any of the club's remaining fixtures, he was present in the guard of honour for the retiring Jamie Carragher in the last game of the 2012–13 Premier League against Queens Park Rangers.
In July 2013, a £1.75 million bid was submitted by Championship side Blackburn Rovers for Spearing, which Liverpool rejected. Notwithstanding, Blackburn failed to agree terms with Spearing, and the deal fell through.
Spearing featured in Liverpool's first pre-season friendly of the summer against Preston North End and was also included in the squad for the club's summer tour. In August 2013, Spearing was told by Liverpool that he was free to leave the club, with Liverpool entering talks with Bolton for a possible transfer back to the Reebok Stadium.
On 8 August 2013, it was announced that a deal was struck between Liverpool and Bolton subject to a medical on the same afternoon. It was confirmed on the 9 August that Spearing had agreed a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee and he made his debut the following day in the 1–1 home draw against Reading, in which he received Man of the Match honours.
In September 2013, Spearing was handed the captaincy at Bolton whenever incumbent Zat Knight found himself out of the starting XI, although he retained the armband when Knight returned to the team with both in the starting lineup. On 26 July 2014, the club confirmed that Spearing would succeed Knight as captain.
On 8 August 2015, Spearing was sent off with a second booking in the opening match of the 2015–16 Championship season against Derby County. Spearing's goal on the opening day of the 2016–17 season against Sheffield United won August's Goal of the Month award.
On 8 July 2017 the club confirmed that Spearing had left after failing to agree terms on a new contract.
On 30 January 2015, Spearing was loaned to fellow Championship club Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season.
Spearing was born in Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral and attended St. George's Primary School and The Mosslands School in Wallasey. He and his girlfriend Jade have a daughter, Freya, who was born in Autumn 2011.As of 22 November 2016.
WinnerLeague Cup: 2011–12
Runner UpFA Cup: 2011–12
Bolton Player of the Year: 2013
North West Football Awards: 2013 Championship Player of the Year
League One Goal of the Month: August 2016