ASK any of the greatest Liverpool players and they will speak of the same outstanding quality among the greatest managers they have served: the ability to make a decision and stick to it.
It explains why Jose Mourinho is currently viewed as vulnerable as he has ever been — or, at least, since he left Real Madrid anyway. Though there are other factors that have contributed towards Chelsea’s position in the league, Mourinho is fudging over the issue of sending John Terry into early retirement and presently the Portuguese could not be in any more shit than if he drowned in a colonic irrigation accident.
It explains, too, to some extent at least, why Brendan Rodgers is no longer Liverpool’s manager. It all began to unravel for him in the summer of 2014, when he did not do enough — if anything at all — to really convince Alexis Sanchez that Liverpool was a better career option than Arsenal.
Instead, Rodgers ended up with Mario Balotelli.
This was also a period when Steven Gerrard’s future must have been a part of his innermost thoughts. Yet Liverpool’s club captain, who retired from international football to prolong his playing days at Anfield — with Rodgers’s knowledge — decided just a few months later to move to Los Angeles, ostensibly because it felt like he had outstayed his welcome without anyone really having the courage to tell him.
If Rodgers had his time again, if he felt so strongly about it, I wonder whether he would have chosen differently in 2014; to cut Gerrard loose there and then: by ruthlessly informing him that Liverpool did not need him any more, enabling Gerrard to find somewhere else to play quickly, moving on swiftly and with dignity, rather than facilitating a long farewell, which cannot have helped during what always promised to be a testing season considering the standards set before.
It now transpires that Gerrard could be let back in at Liverpool. And this time it is the responsibility of Jürgen Klopp to decide what to do.
It is possible that the Whiston-born former Reds captain will be back in California preparing for the 2016 Major League Soccer season two months from now. It is possible that he will only train with Liverpool’s first team through December as he maintains a level of fitness –– as Klopp maintained this evening during his press conference ahead of Liverpool’s game at Rubin Kazan.
Klopp is helping the Liverpool legend but surely also recognises that the arrangement will be mutually beneficial: Gerrard’s presence proving a useful reminder to the youngest players in Klopp’s squad — and more are getting a realistic chance to impress now — that certain standards need to be met at Liverpool if success is to be realised.
It is also entirely possible that Gerrard’s legs have gone but Klopp believes he could fill a coaching or advisory role at the club. His medium-term future could be at the academy — a place that needs inspiring.
It could be possible, too, that Klopp will actually quite like what he sees when Gerrard returns to Melwood; that his passing range is still there, a skill that remains superior than those midfielders currently available to him; an asset that could be useful when Liverpool counter attack — just as it was in the 2013-14 campaign.
By comparison to the other European institutions that Liverpool are supposedly competing with, it is strange that the absolute responsibility falls with Klopp. Just like Rodgers once needed, Klopp could do with guidance from above — someone with enough wisdom and foresight to understand what Gerrard’s return would mean, and how they could make it work given the current circumstances.
There is nobody at Liverpool in a key administration position capable of clearing the leaves on the path for the person most likely to slip in them.
And so, again, it is left to Klopp to figure out the way forward. It is interesting that Klopp has barely mentioned, so far, his man-managing abilities. So many in his position do. A major part of man-management is perception: being able to appreciate what, and whom, you’re dealing with and their situations, no matter how complex.
Gerrard has long endured a reputation as a footballer who is not so easy to manage, stretching back to the Rafael Benitez era — a time when Gerrard was in a different stratosphere in terms of ability compared to the rest of the squad.
Benitez got the best out of him then by treating him with indifference, a tactic that would only ever work for so long. As footballers get older, they change — just as anyone does — and therefore, after a while, Benitez’s approach stopped working, as it probably would with any player.
Gerrard never needed to be told how great he was. He must have known it. At his peak, he was Liverpool’s Superman — and this manifested the idea that he was an invincible, invulnerable sportsman.
Yet, like Jamie Carragher, his insecurities were an inspiration. Occasionally, it might have been prudent to for someone to reassure, rather than necessarily praise him. At this moment, all he needs is someone to be absolutely honest.
And so it is up to Klopp now not to fudge it. The message, currently at least, is obvious: Gerrard is back only to train and it is good that he has been so clear on that. It takes away the focus from both parties and gives everybody time to determine what is best for them.
If, and when, attitudes shift, decisions should be conclusive and swift. And then we will know that Liverpool has changed as well.
* We’ve been shortlisted for Podcast of the Year! Please vote for us here! Don’t let Alan Davies win!*
Liverpool pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo
Like The Anfield Wrap on Facebook
Yeah no sorry i don’t really get this. I don’t get the 2nd guessing of what the manager said. I don’t really get the idea that whether we give Gerrard a role at the club is some sort of referendum on how competently the club is being run. I don’t buy the ‘he’ll set the standard for all the young lads to match’ argument. He was there, as an active player, until literally a few months ago. We’ve had disappointing campaigns in 5 of the 6 six seasons. That’s not down to Gerrard but the idea his presence will represent some sort of standard setting formula…I don’t buy it.
And I don’t get the fear that this all seems to come from. The fear of what the club might be like without him. I think we’d be fine.
If it happens and he shows the aptitude to be a great coach, fine. Great.
But this almost feels like a campaign now and it doesn’t sit right with me. Dunno.
Is that swift enough for you? haha.
I didn’t really expect this to happen to be honest. I often get criticised for views like this but my guess is his wife has already said, ‘listen love, I ain’t going back there now. I’ve only been here 2 minutes and I love it’. I think football fans often overlook the importance of such things in decision making. I heard you on the radio this morning and I think you said Gerrard has realised how much he misses home. Obviously I can’t know but I’d guess his wife isn’t missing it quite so much. At this stage in his career the families views on it would definitely be considered.
Ok, it’s been confirmed now but I was convinced he’d see his contract out over there. Ok, family aside, Liverpool fc is a huge pull for him but surely he want to leave LA on better terms. Maybe if he gets used to the conditions a bit more he can end on a high rather than be perceived as a disappointment.
The thing for me is, I didn’t want him back this summer. Not sure what I think about him playing. I had mixed views on that, leaning towards it wasn’t a good idea. Where I do want to see him is on the training pitch. A bit of Sammy Lee type. He can learn his trade. I’m fully aware Liverpool needs Gerrard to return. The structure at the club has felt very hollow recently where it’s personnel are concerned and he can only be a good thing in so many ways. But, Klopp has been here 3 weeks. It’s not the right timing. We don’t need distractions now albeit a good one. Hard to put my finger on what I’m trying to say but I hope they review it in 12 months and take it from there. It will happen. Now’s not really the best time imo.
I’m really not sure how helpful this all is. Do we really need a repeat of the endless debates that marred the last couple of seasons? Yes it was badly managed, but is he ever happy? Surely he knew what to expect in the US?
If ever there was a manager big enough to manage a club legend it’s Klopp but I’m sure he could do without the distraction. It’s always a psychodrama with Stevie and our supporters sadly, one we could do without as we look to turn the page.
The last thing we need is Billy Big Bollocks coming back.rocking the boat. His day has been and gone.
‘Benitez got the best out of him then by treating him with indifference, a tactic that would only ever work for so long. As footballers get older, they change — just as anyone does — and therefore, after a while, Benitez’s approach stopped working, as it probably would with any player.’
Maybe judging him harshly going off the rest of his legendary career but Gerrard’s (and let’s just be on honest about this with 5-6 years separation) largely forgettable and shit 09/10 season wasn’t just down to the manager. He was 29, he’d just come off one of his best ever seasons and it was before his big 2011 groin problems. He’s also just released another book recently where he’s basically said Hodgson was the right manager at the wrong time. We all love Steven to death but it doesn’t take a genius to work out.
But anyway, in the here and now our set pieces are woeful so far this season and I’m still trying to get over the result of his last game six months on, so if he gets another go I’ll be personally made up. He might be only a *touch* slower to the ball than Milner is and he can take an honest to goodness free kick.
I am sorry, but why is this claim being repeated?
“Gerrard’s presence proving a useful reminder to the youngest players in Klopp’s squad — and more are getting a realistic chance to impress now — that certain standards need to be met at Liverpool if success is to be realised.”
You said the same thing in your Independent article. Do you have an actual source for this? Has Klopp or anyone at the Club actually said this to you?
If you do, then I’d like to know how the veterans in our squad feel about all this. Are they not “professional” or “professionally committed” enough to be “aspirational models” for the youngsters? Do Skrtel, Sakho, Lucas, Milner, Henderson, et al and THEIR self-respect not matter?
If you do not actually have a source and this is conjecture on your part, it might be a good idea to just not persist in repeating that.
We don’t need this. As someone else said already, this has to stop.
There is nothing here, there is no problem for Liverpool Football Club to be concerned about.
Liverpool Football Club will not accommodate Steven Gerrard. If there is a party that will need to accommodate the other, it will have to be Gerrard who accommodates LFC. If he doesn’t fancy it, tough shit.
How do you know? What is this absoluteness of the way you speak about it based on?
Good to see Klopp come out and say it’s training only.
which is what was agreed with Rodgers when Gerrard left. Nothing to see here – move on ladies and gentlemen.
As a Liverpool fan and LA season ticket holder, I can’t imagine a Liverpool return working well on the field. He had to save his energy and spent as much time waking as he did running here in LA…and it compromised the team and the shape. I can’t imagine Klopp is dumb enough to sign on for more of the same.
No, just no, Stevie. Too much baggage, too much everything. Yes, he’s a legend and a hero and all that, but for god’s sake just stay away and let these lads grow into their own. Whoever have taken leadership roles within the team after last season would be totally undermined by any presence of Stevie. He’d just make a complete psychological mess of things.
why a big fuss about this simple issue everyone?
StevieG may come back and use club gym (and kick about with players, possibly against the first 11 in few final sessions before Matchdays) for a month or so. Klopp said, “welcome StevieG”. period. nothing more.
former players come back as coaches or to train or to observe all the time. Not just here. At any other clubs of all sizes.
I don’t think Klopp is concerned at alI as much as all of us made it out to be. it is business as usual at a big club with various former greats.
besides, do you think a person like StevieG would ever put himself ahead of the club? he has shown time and again how important Liverpool is to him. let us show a bit more respect to him as well.
“besides, do you think a person like StevieG would ever put himself ahead of the club?”
You must be joking?
It’s not long ago when Stevie and Jamie considered themselves to be the club.
They were the club though…in 2005 Istanbul (for example)
as the two of the last local lads and as part of the spine of the team, none of us blame them for thinking they were the club at that time.
Nah I don’t buy this re Istabnbul. Dudek and Alonso were massive contributors, as were Riise, Hyppia and Hamann.
Do I think a person like StevieG would ever put himself the club?
Hell yes! He did it last season. He knew his legs were shot, Rodgers knew it and told SG that he wouldn’t be a starter so what did SG do?
Did he think to himself ‘ well, I’ve been good for the club, but the club has been good for me to and at the end of the day the club is bigger than me’?
Did he fuck. He threw his toys out and announced – months out of the end of the season – that he was off to LA. He just couldn’t resist the farewell tour and all of the eyes on him, even though he must have been well aware what a massive disruption it would be for a manager and a team struggling and under pressure.
Now he realises he has made a mistake and wants to come back, no doubt dropping hints that he’ll be ‘prepared’ to join the coaching staff.
Great player, but he definitely thinks that he is bigger than the club. If he wants to maintain his fitness I’m sure the Academy has good facilities.
would someone with a Twitter account ask for Carra’s opinion on this and please post his response here?…
I guess the one silver-lining to the fact that we have no local lads who really look like they are going to break through and become top-class players, is that we won’t have to put up with too much of this nonsense in 15 years time.
It seems like they all need to complete a bizarre cone-putter-outer apprenticeship in their late-30s, before taking their seats alongside our other former players – scowling from the expensive tiers after undermining the current boss in the media during the week.
We’ve got more baggage than Imelda Marcos used to turn up with at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Before Klopp has run the rule over HIS OWN players, he is being asked to take on board Gerrard coming back into the fold. As Neil A says, why does Gerrard take the defensive position of ” nobody asked me to stay on as coach etc etc” – when he could have asked what options were available.
He is a man who either acts superior to everyone ( ideas of his current abilities), or inferior ( too shy to ask, wasn’t asked, settle scores in a book). He doesn’t feel comfortable asking big name players to think about LFC, is he any good training youth footballers? Seems to me like it is all SG’s to gain ( feeling wanted), whereas we can do without the risk of his Peronality Project at the moment thanks.
Thanks but no thanks. That ship has sailed. JK and the squad do not need this distraction at all. Period as the yanks would say.
No harm in Gerrard training at Melwood, as long as it doesn’t turn into a will he/won’t he play for us again. But Klopp seems to have clearly ruled that out, so there’s no story here.
If he wants to be on the coaching staff at a top club he should prove himself at a lower level first, same as anyone else. At the moment there’s nothing to indicate he’s got anything to bring. Club legends can be millstones.
One thing these comments show is how Gerrard is perceived outside Liverpool. It’s a shame really. As I said above, I can understand people don’t want him to play again but the club needs that local connection. It was all wrong under Rodgers. The club seems to be sorting out it’s issues and doing everything right under Klopp. In 12 months when he returns to the training set up it’ll be the final piece of the jigsaw.
What do you mean it was all wrong under Rodgers? The local connection? Gerrard was there for all bar this season. Carragher was there for the first season. Last time I looked we have the lesser spotted Jon Flannagan kicking around as well. How many local lads, bar these three, appeared under Benitez?
And I will bet on this that Klopp isnt suddently going to propel 11 scousers into the side to keep the local connection either.
But – If Klopp wants Gerrard on his training staff – fine. If he doesn’t – fine. If Klopp wants Gerrard to play in goal – fine. If he doesn’t – fine. It wasn’t so long back that Gerrard was voted the clubs greatest ever player. It seems time is rewriting opinions. If that poll was carried out today, I wouldnt be surprised to see Lucas win it….
I’m not talking about players on the pitch. I’m talking about the structure at the club. It seems to me the spine of the club was Rodgers / Pascoe / Marsh – the transfer committee (where Edwards seemed to hold a lot of sway) – Ayre then FSG. Which one of those would entice a player to join us? Who there can the academy lads look up to? Who there can create a buzz around the place? Who there actually has a personality? Through a lack of the former, which players could inspire by the end of his reign? Imagine going to work there every day. Prior to Rodgers there was Kenny. Comolli’s no fool, I have a lot of respect for him and think he’s quite affable. I’d rather have a colleague who was gonna put shit through my letterbox if I crossed him than a grey man in a suit.
When Benitez was here we had an owner from Liverpool, a chief exec from 10 miles down the road and a manager we all looked up to. Benitez always spoke highly of Sammy Lee too. Heighway was at the academy in an actual role until H&G. Under Rodger it all felt very grey and dull.
Now, under Klopp, there’ll be an excitement about the place. His coaches seem pretty sound too. Edwards power will certainly wane. If Gerrard was there too then all the academy lads would have someone to look up to or aspire to.
For most Liverpool fans (and certainly those from Liverpool) it feels right to have some of the clubs greatest players around the club. Despite being a huge commercial entity, Utd have got it right. I think it still feels like they have a local heartbeat to the club. Even FSG could see the importance of having Gerrard around the club and they know nothing about football or Liverpool fc. So, my point was behind the scenes not on the pitch.
As for your Lucas comment, lol. It just reaffirms how fickle football fans are. Admittedly though, I’ve been really impressed with his last 2 or 3 games too. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand how a Liverpool fan could not want one of it’s best ever players working at the club. I don’t include you in this as I’ve no idea how long you’ve supported Liverpool or where you’re from but I think a lot of the Liverpool fans we seem to be seeing these days don’t understand the intrinsic importance in having players like Gerrard at the club. Some of them see us no different to Tesco and are only concerned with the end product. As I said, my view is it should happen in 12 months when Gerrard’s contract is up and Klopp’s settled. To dismiss it altogether is folly. To turn on Gerrard because there was an argument the man who sacrificed his career for Liverpool and gave us more great moments than any other player wasn’t good enough in his final season is typical of the modern fan and makes me feel a bit dismissive of them.
My point is not that we shouldn’t have Gerrard at the club. It’s that it has to fit in with how Klopp wants to operate. A job for jobs sake is doing nobody any favours.
If we have the right role for him then, absolutely, get him in. Where I see it not coming together is that Stevie may have greater ideas for himself (e.g a Giggs style role) in a shorter tiescale than Klopp is willing to agree to just yet.
We will see how it plays out I guess.
As a neutral, I can only say that Steven Gerrard is respected around the world, but on the other hand as much as Klopp’s welcomes him, he also considers SG a (minor) distraction – remember, he kicked the family & friends out of Melwood during the traing sessions.
So SG has the pedigree and all but he is yesterday’s glory and doesn’t really stand for a new dawn but for a backward look.
In this sense, he will never become backroom staff or active player, but will always be respected and can train as other former players do as well in other clubs.
All because their is a void between the board and the manager does not mean it should be filled by Gerrard. I agree the void should be filled, and if it was by an ex-player then Dalglish, Rush, Barnes or Fowler could also be in the frame. Dalglish being the obvious choice because of his experience as a player and manager at Liverpool. How in practice this person would link Klopp with FSG on a formal basis is difficult to see, the parallel between Houlier and Saunders is misreprsentive in the sence that Peter Robinson had been Chief exec for twenty years and during that time very little had changed and culturally there was a Liverpool way of doing things that Saunders could explain to Houllier.
Having been the main man at the club as a player for such a long time would Gerrard at the age of 35 be happy to become one of the backroom staff like Roy Evans did or would he want to be lined up as Klopps successor like Kenny? At the end of the day is Gerrard too high profile to take on a low profile role. Having made the break and written the book then unless Klopp wants him back as part of his team then I dont see a role in a football context.
Gerrard could be an ambassador for the club and be part of the world wide marketing and be a figure head for the Academy, but he is not going to come in as Academy Director with no experience of coaching or administration. At the Academy their is very little Gerrard is trained to do unless it involves coaching, and normally this follows patterns laid down by other more experienced coaches, would that be enough for him?
The reverence Gerrard has towards Hodgeson in his book is also a concern, does he really think that the coaching drills and way of playing football the Hodge way is better than Rafa or is it a way to get in with the England set up?
The one role I could see being created for Gerrard is to be part of the transfer commitee and help the recruitment of players, not on the selection side but on selling the club to elite players as well as academy youngsters, it would be high profile and Gerrard could use all his media contacts to persuade the next Sanchez to come to Liverpool.
Gerrard was done before he came to the Galaxy. Galaxy should have saved the money.
No thanks. I want that era to end fast. An era where we only won ONE CL title, no epls, (no where near good enough for LFC) all our best players constantly leaving and gerrard is part of that, and its over. Now let klopp work his magic with no distractions and egos to manage. Klopp will make LIVERPOOL the star, like shanks like paisley or even united under fergie. the team is the key and you can have super talented players but they all know who is boss, the manager and that they have to sacrifice for the team. No more torreses, suarezes sterlings or gerrards. If gerrard and his ego come into the mix its ludicrous. He cant play a high tempo game anymore and we need new guys to step up not keep going back to the past. we are doing nicely now and i wonder if suddenly gerrard sees a chance of an epl title again lol…to be fair some of the stuff gerry has come out with i dont care for. such as first saying rodgers was a great manager (we all know he isisnt!) then saying he though rodgers was being overconfident vs chelsea (slight shift there?) and now whinging about mls…yeah all that money and livin in malibu must sure be hard knocks eh….nah…enough of the gerrard sideshow. LETS MOVE ON.
Too high profile for a long profile role. Agree with that. If he doesn’t like the flying in the MLS will he like flying around Europe as an Ambassador? He needs a pre-retirement course the lad. Shanks was asked to do something else other than hang around the club like a unfulfilled ghost. Tough yes. Sad yes. But boundaried. And it’s not the bit we remember about Shanks is it?