Should Steven Gerrard return to Liverpool for one last tilt at Premier League glory?
Posted by Bryan | Published on November 14, 2016
Steven Gerrard. Liverpool. The two remain ever closely linked, even for the fact that Steven Gerrard has been half a world away across the Atlantic for the last 18 months. Such is the stature of Gerrard’s legacy at Liverpool that he is still affectionately known as “the captain” among the masses of loyal Reds. Now, with his contract at MLS side LA Galaxy running to an end, speculation has been rife in recent weeks over the next step in his career, with rumours pointing to reunions with former bosses in the shape of Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and even Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
It is a well-known fact that Steven Gerrard had managed to amass a collection of major trophies in all forms in his 700 over appearances for the Anfield outfit, save the ultimately elusive Premier League title. With Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool now flying high in the Premier League and looking on course for another title push, could the Reds’ former captain return home to help deliver their most coveted trophy before hanging up his boots with his medal collection completed at last?
Klopp had earlier hinted at a possible reunion in the near future, by stating his apparent welcome for his return, saying, “Steven Gerrard – and this will be a really big surprise – is always so welcome at Liverpool.”
While the German refused to be drawn out on the content of his talks with the ex-skipper, he reiterated his welcome of a Gerrard return. “Nobody should be worried that we don’t have space for Steven Gerrard. Everything will be fine, 100 per cent.” Said Klopp.
While it is understood that the ex-Reds skipper will one day eventually return to Anfield in certain capacity as a non-playing staff, it is difficult to see how Gerrard could be an addition to Klopp’s plans in January. The first issue will naturally be the nature of play that Jurgen Klopp has imprinted upon his team, their high pressing high intensity gameplay which has left opposition teams in tatters more often than not this season. At 36, it is hardly ideal for Gerrard to be thrust into such a style of play, even if the 36 year-old remains excellent at set-pieces, an area where Liverpool have been unable to pinpoint an exact successor since his departure. The energetic Georginio Winjaldum, versatile Emre Can and current skipper Jordan Henderson have proven to be the ideal choices in the Liverpool midfield. An option could be for Gerrard to be an impact sub, thrown in see out crucial games with his experience or to inspire a late rally, but it was such a role that he turned down under former boss Rodgers, and one of the main reasons that led to his exit in 2015.
The second issue will be his impact on the Liverpool dressing room. While an ex-captain of his level of experience can no doubt provide much inspiration and guidance to the younger members of the team, his very stature as the current captain’s predecessor could prove to be a problem in Liverpool dressing room. It will be a tricky situation for current captain Jordan Henderson to have his predecessor back in the same team as him, especially one who had been in the captain role to such an extent that he will forever be regarded as Liverpool’s captain fantastic.
It will a fairytale like no other for the Anfield faithful and for Steven Gerrard should he somehow return to the pitch as a Liverpool player to complete his trophy haul for the club – the not too distant memory of a certain Thierry Henry scoring the winner on his emotional short-term return to Arsenal comes to mind – but at the moment it seems that joining up with Brendan Rodgers in the north should Gerrard decide to play on, will be the best option for the former Liverpool captain. It will mean that he will have to live with the gaping hole in his trophy cabinet of never having won a Premier League title in his playing career, but his legacy at Liverpool will remained preserved in the best way possible.