At 36 years old there’s no doubt in my mind that former skipper Steven Gerrard could stick on a pair of boots and still be one of the best players on the park, especially for a side in dire need of a hero right now.
For countless years Gerrard was that hero. He was the one man the club could turn to when desperation kicked in. It is no coincidence then that Liverpool’s current form is seemingly impossible to repair, and their main man is of course not available to bail them out this time around.
It is also no coincidence that the club has had a massive downturn in form since that incredible season where that elusive title came so close yet so far. Gerrard was instrumental in driving his team to such phenomenal heights that year, and also many years before that.
The skipper was top scorer in three of five seasons for the club during a very successful period between 2004 and 2009, and incidentally was Liverpool’s top scorer in his last season, although still didn’t receive the ideal send-off he deserved.
The club finished sixth in an end to a miserable campaign where he received an infamous 38-second red card against bitter rivals Manchester United, followed by a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in his final Anfield game and an even more humiliating 6-1 loss at Stoke in his last ever game for the club. He did of course score in his last ever appearance, emphasising his passion for Liverpool Football Club and his ability to give all he had to every game he played.
His decision to leave Liverpool was also influenced by a lack of playing time and failed contract negotiations, all contributing to a somewhat melancholic ending to such a respected individual. With over 500 league appearances and over 700 appearances in total for Liverpool, his departure from the club was extremely disappointing, although a return to Anfield this year has sparked a new beginning for the former captain.
His decision to venture away from immediate first team management was a fantastic one, with the choice to come back to Liverpool and join the Academy setup an even better step for his development. He could have jumped into a managing position, with offers coming his way as soon as he left the playing field.
Of course this could have been a success, but more often than not these ex-professionals get it wrong. Take Alan Shearer for example, who although managed a condemned Newcastle side for just a brief period, took up a career in management far too early and picked up just five points from a possible 24.
Both ex-England internationals are learning a lot more about the game through punditry and analysis on TV, while Gerrard, in contrast to Shearer, is learning his trade at a much lower level rather than plunging head first into management.
Having come through the Academy, the coaching role couldn’t be a better fit for Gerrard and the youth players, with major positives for both parties. Gerrard will of course gain valuable insight into the field, while the Academy players can learn from a legend of the game and a legend of Liverpool.
His keen eye for talent has not gone unnoticed, having tipped Trent Alexander-Arnold to become a top player at such a premature stage in his career, before the youngster burst onto the first-team scene so successfully earlier this season. Having learned a lot from world class managers in Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers, the Academy in turn can learn a lot from Gerrard.
With countless ex-professionals tipping the legend to be a successful manager, he certainly has a bright future in management. Former Red Djibril Cisse is the most recent individual to endorse the prospect of Steven Gerrard as a manager, claiming that the midfielder inspired his team to impossibly turn the deficit around in arguably the greatest European Cup final of all time in Istanbul.
With a loyalty to Liverpool like his, and through humble beginnings to inspiring others, he will no doubt manage the club one day. With his experience of English football, and an abundance of knowledge on the club’s history and fans, Gerrard has the capacity to become a top, top manager for Liverpool Football Club.