Steven Gerrard is nearly two months into his MLS adventure, yet it still seems strange to see him in any colour other than the red of Liverpool.
The retired England international has been donning the white of LA Galaxy since he made his debut back in July. Meanwhile, his former club of 17 years, are four games into the new Premier League season and preparing for a clash with bitter rivals Manchester United.
Gerrard’s new club sit second in the MLS Western Conference, however Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool have made a lacklustre start to the new campaign. So far they've managed two defeats, a draw and a dreadful 3-0 home defeat to West Ham that means they go into this weekend’s encounter with United sitting seventh in the table.
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While his former club have struggled in the Premier League, Gerrard has made a decent start to life in the States. The Englishman has scored one and provided three assists for his team mates, in addition he’s completed 90 minutes an impressive five times in his seven games with Galaxy, suffering just two defeats since his debut.
On the pitch Gerrard is adapting well and has admitted that he’s been “surprised” by the standard of football in the country, though off the field he is still clearly a figure who is struggling to let go.
The midfielder spent the best years of his career at Anfield so it’s understandable that he still holds an allegiance to Liverpool, but it’s been apparent since he left that he’s struggling to accept that his time at the club has come to an end.
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STRUGGLING TO LET GO
It’s extremely difficult for Steven Gerrard to not talk about Liverpool, he may be plying his trade across the pond these days but he’s still regularly asked about the Merseyside club. Unfortunately his responses to this kind of quizzing means he has started to cast a shadow over his beloved club, and more specifically, the manager Brendan Rodgers.
In the summer the former-skipper waded in on the Raheem Sterling saga, an issue that did not concern someone in the early stages of a career in a new country. This week, Gerrard challenged Sir Alex Ferguson regarding comments made in his autobiography, the ex-United manager declared that the Liverpool captain was not a “top, top, player”.
When you consider that the Scotsman’s book was released in 2013, it seems strange that Gerrard has chosen to speak up two years later.
CASTING A SHADOW
In many respects, Liverpool are in the same boat as their fierce rivals Manchester United because both have lost key figures in the shape of Sir Alex Ferguson and Steven Gerrard. Ferguson has been casting a huge shadow since he retired in 2013, this was clearer during the short-lived David Moyes era but it’s still undoubtedly there under Louis van Gaal.
The departure of Gerrard has perhaps not had such a monumental effect, but the Kop legend is in danger of doing the same as United’s former manager.
On Thursday, Gerrard revealed to the Daily Mail that a back-room role would likely have been enough to convince him to stay at Liverpool, he went on to say “I could have been a good squad player, a good sub, as well as getting management experience that money can’t buy.”
Many a Liverpool fan would agree that the club should have done more to keep hold of their captain, whether that’s true is cause for debate, but the reality is that it’s comments like this that are undermining the work being done at Anfield.
Granted, the LA Galaxy midfielder is facing plenty of probing from the media but he could do with being more careful with what he says.
The 35-year-old is of course entitled to his opinion, but comments like those made to the Daily Mail give the impression that he’s rather bitter about the way things ended. Since his departure Gerrard has expressed that the club could have done more to keep him, this may well be true, but it’s less than ideal for Brendan Rodgers and the board for an influential player to be making these kinds of statements. Liverpool are in a difficult spell and should be working towards a brighter future, not dwelling on the past.
Gerrard will always be remembered as a Liverpool and Premier League legend, no one can deny that he was one of the finest midfielders of his generation. But the fact is that he’s had his time.
To be brutally honest, Steven Gerrard had 17 excellent years at Anfield and the time was right for him to move on, a return in January would be a step backwards for a club that needs to build for the future.
Whatever he says and does in the future will never undo the tremendous work he did for Liverpool, but Gerrard must make sure that he doesn't continue to cast a shadow over his former club.