If you’d asked me at the beginning of season whether Steven Gerrard should join the Liverpool training staff after finishing his stint with LA Galaxy I’d have said it was a no-brainer, of course he should. Yet now the time has come for Gerrard to finally finish his playing career I find I’m not so certain as I once was.
It’s nothing to do with Stevie G, I still respect him as much as I ever did, it’s more to do with the dynamic within the club. At the moment the overall balance between the players and the coaches is right, in my opinion. Klopp has got the right mix of encouragement and discipline off the pitch whereas Henderson, as captain, has got the right mix of encouragement and discipline on the pitch. It’s a fine balance that’s not always easy to reach but I’d say, given recent results, the balance is pretty much right.
The problem with Gerrard’s return is that he’s such a colossal figure both inside and outside the club. Would his presence alter the dynamic between Klopp and his players? Would him being in the dressing room alter the relationship between Henderson and his players (mentally speaking, Jordan has always seen Gerrard as his superior). I’m not for one minute suggesting Gerrard would consciously cause problems, it’s the subtle unintended consequences that worry me. The situation reminds me of when Shankly retired but kept on turning up at training. In the end he had to be told not to because it was making things difficult for Paisley. Shankly’s intentions were perfectly noble but it’s so difficult to build a team after the departure of a legend just their sheer presence can be problematic.
There have been rumours that Gerrard could join the coaching staff at Celtic, not an illogical idea given Gerrard’s good relationship with Brendan Rodgers. But the question is whether Gerrard should return to Liverpool instead? I’m completely divided on the subject but I have a niggling feeling we have a setup at the moment that is moving in the right direction and shouldn’t be interfered with.