In Depth

Gerrard to rejoin Liverpool – will he be the next Guardiola?

Returning to his old club could be good move as the former Red contemplates management

Steven Gerrard may have announced his retirement but he could be heading back to the club he loves - as a coach.

According to Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph, "the former Liverpool and England captain is now understood to be close to accepting an opportunity to work within his old club's youth ranks".

The move will not come as a complete surprise. "Gerrard is continuing his Uefa 'A' licence with the assistance of Liverpool's staff. His decision to stop playing was taken as he considered a variety of offers and the lure of rejoining his boyhood team is expected to be too much to resist."

It is a move that makes sense, says Paul Wilson of The Guardian, who suggests the Liverpool legend should follow in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola rather than try to strike out on his own in the style of a similar icon, Bobby Charlton, whose managerial career was short and bitter.

"He left Manchester United, possibly a mistake, and lasted two years at Preston North End, where he and Nobby Stiles were relegated in their first season. An even shorter stint as caretaker manager at Wigan followed and that was it," says Wilson.

Gerrard should "study most carefully" the route to the top taken by the Manchester City boss, he adds.

"Guardiola started out in management at the club where he made his name as a player. It was a surprise when he was promoted from B‑team coach to manager of the first team, not least to the better qualified and arguably more deserving Mourinho, but presumably the reason Guardiola won the treble in his first season was that he had already demonstrated his suitability for the job to everyone involved with Barcelona."

Gerrard has already turned down Milton Keynes Dons and although there will be other offers, he "should not overlook the possibility that the most inviting opportunity might be under his nose", says Wilson.

Steven Gerrard retires: Five great moments and a catastrophe

24 November

Former England captain and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement after an 18-year career.

Tributes have flooded in for the Anfield icon, who made more than 700 appearances for his home-city club and won the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups before spending two seasons with LA Galaxy in the US.

"I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career," he said. "I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy. I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the famous red shirt of Liverpool."

Here are five of Gerrard's finest moments - and one he will want to forget.

Man United rocket (2001)

Gerrard broke into the Liverpool team as an 18-year-old in 1998, but did not establish himself until he began to forge a midfield partnership with Jamie Redknapp in the 1999-2000 season. However, he was injury prone and his breakthrough season came the following year, when he made 50 appearances for the Reds and helped win the FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup under Gerard Houllier.

His best moment of the season came against Manchester United at Anfield, when he opened the scoring with a 30-yard rocket that sent Liverpool on their way to a 2-0 win and their first league double over their bitter rivals for 22 years.


England 5 Germany 1 (2001)

Gerrard will be remembered as one of England's finest who won 114 caps over 14 years, but he will also be thought of as part of the ill-fated "Golden Generation" who consistently underachieved when it mattered. 

Yet his international career started well. He was unbeaten in his first 21 internationals and was part of the team that beat Germany 5-1 in Munich, scoring England's second goal on his sixth appearance for his country.


The Miracle of Istanbul (2005)

No one can underestimate Gerrard's role in what is regarded as one of the greatest ever sporting comebacks - the Champions League final of 2005. Liverpool trailed AC Milan 3-0 at half-time and looked dead and buried. But Gerrard had played a major part in getting his team to the final, scoring an absolutely sensational goal against Olympiakos to keep them in the competition, and refused to give up hope.

It was a header from the player that began the fightback and the rest is history. By the end of extra time, he was running on fumes and had been installed as a makeshift full-back, with manager Rafa Benitez not daring to risk a penalty shoot-out without him. The Liverpool skipper was penciled in for the final spot kick, but in the end, Jerzy Dudek's heroics meant all he had to do was lift the cup.


The Gerrard final (2006)

A year after the Miracle of Istanbul, Liverpool's hero was at it again, inspiring his side to a thrilling comeback against West Ham in the FA Cup final, only this time his contribution was even more telling. 

Once again, Gerrard scored the first goal for his side as they recovered from 2-0 down, only to see West Ham go 3-2 up. But with time almost up, he unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard drive to tie the scores again.

He later admitted he only attempted the shot because he was suffering from cramp.

There were no goals in extra time and Liverpool found themselves in another shoot-out. This time, Gerrard was required to take a penalty and he scored, with Liverpool winning what is now known as the "Gerrard Final".


Everton hat-trick (2012)

Gerrard scored ten goals for Liverpool against local rivals Everton during his illustrious career, three of them in a game in March 2012, on his 400th league appearance for the Reds. Liverpool won 3-0 at home and Gerrard became the first man to score a Merseyside hat-trick for 30 years.

It was a bright moment in an otherwise disappointing season for the Reds. Gerrard missed much of the campaign through injury and Kenny Dalglish's side finished below their local rivals in the table, coming in eighth. They also lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea.


The Chelsea slip ­(2014)

Every great silver-lined career must have a cloud and the one that hangs over Gerrard is the fact he never won the Premier League. Liverpool came within a whisker of the title in 2014, but a cruel slip from their hero against Chelsea fatally undermined their campaign. 

A win at Stamford Bridge would have knocked Chelsea out of the title race and left Liverpool with one hand on the trophy with two games remaining. But with the scores level in first-half injury time, Gerrard slipped over and presented the ball to Blues striker Demba Ba, who raced through to make it 1-0. Chelsea won the game 2-0, leaving Gerrard and his team-mates stunned.

The result took the wind out of Liverpool's sails and handed the initiative back to Manchester City, who went on to win the title by two points. It was a painful blow for a player who had done so much for the Liverpool cause.

Adding to the pain, he had been caught on camera a week earlier urging his team-mates not to let their standards slip.



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