Steven Gerrard – the feeling is mutual

Ex skipper reveals his regret at leaving the club when he did

Steven Gerrard has admitted on Sunday in an interview that he regrets calling time on his Reds career in 2015.  It comes as he takes up his first role as a manager and is obviously something of a surprise revelation to all Liverpool fans.

Gerrard always came across as a man very much in control of his own destiny.  There were many painful decisions along the way for him, but the midfielder always seemed composed and unmolested by it all.  His regret is reciprocated from the fans as many of us felt it was far too soon to be saying goodbye to the Huyton born Liverpool legend as he still could have played a part for the first team.

 Horrible way to go

Brendan Rodgers had well and truly lost his way at Liverpool in that 2014-15 campaign. In fairness to the Ulsterman he was the victim of some appealing luck and could rightfully have demanded a lot more from the players at his disposal.

Perhaps the biggest shock of that season came in January 2015 when Stevie announced he would depart the club in the summer, calling time on sixteen years at Anfield.  Rodgers had told him he would be playing a lot less and it must have hurt a player like Gerrard to sit out of a match as huge as Real Madrid in the Champions League, perhaps this forced his hand.

Regardless of his motivation, for a career as poignant and successful as Gerrard’s to fizzle and end in abject humiliation at the hands of Stoke City, was tragic for all involved.  Liverpool seemed on the cusp of another worrying tailspin and players like Sterling and Coutinho were linked with moves away.  With the club’s talisman gone, our last link to better days was severed and the team felt all the more hollow for it.

What may have been…

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Jurgen Klopp’s announcement as Liverpool manager to global fanfare came at a good time for the club.  Morale was very low and the performances on the pitch were woefully inadequate.  Klopp’s impact was massive and performances steadily improved as his high tempo pressing game blew away the cobwebs of Rodger’s stagnant possession game.

It is also worth remembering that the German reached two finals that year.  Liverpool lost both, the second in gutless second half showing to an inferior but plucky Sevilla side.  Would Klopp have benefited from someone like Steven Gerrard’s experience of winning trophies?  He certainly lacked leaders that night, and someone of Gerrard’s stature may have gotten us over the line.

Klopp could still call on the likes of James Milner and Kolo Toure, but neither man had the same bond with the club.  Gerrard’s presence alone could lift players, and his impact in either of those two finals could have led to a different outcome.  It would also have given the skipper that one last final trophy we all desperately wanted him to win.

Of course, there is an argument about all players of Gerrard’s stature.  Do they become a daunting presence in the dressing room?  This was widely reported to be the case at Arsenal when Henry departed for Barcelona in 2008.  Would Gerrard have demanded too many set pieces or made certain players retreat into their shells?

In all honesty it’s a bit of a flimsy argument.  There is no doubt that Jurgen Klopp would have benefited from Stevie’s quality and experience, albeit at a reduced number of games.  He deserved a better send off then the one he got at Stoke City in 2015, but football is cruel game and doesn’t always give the best players what they deserve. Stevie will always conjure up wonderful memories for all Liverpool fans regardless but it would have been interesting to see what he could have achieved with Klopp as his manager.

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