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04th Nov 2015

Bringing back Steven Gerrard is the worst thing Liverpool could do

Tom Victor

There’s a scene in 90s classic BASEketball where hometown hero Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper has to throw three home runs to fulfil a promise he made to critically ill child Joey Thomas.

The only problem? He’s not in the best of conditions, having spent the previous night drinking.

He nails the first two, before taking to the field for the crucial third. There’s the huge dramatic build-up and then…

BASEketball (6/11) Movie CLIP - Drunk Come True (1998) HD

The problem with these grand gestures is that they can often do more harm than good, and Steven Gerrard’s rumoured return to Liverpool’s playing staff is as grand as they come.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to rule out a move for the former captain, and frankly he has no other option but to leave it on the table, given the esteem in which the Anfield faithful hold their local boy done good.

But it would be best for Klopp, for Liverpool and even for Gerrard if the LA Galaxy midfielder stays stateside.


Of course you can forgive those connected to the club for acting out of sentimentality. Liverpool have a proud history of looking after their own, and many were sad to see the club begin this season with Jon Flanagan flying the Scouse flag alone.

But the answer isn’t clinging on to past glories to the detriment of the squad. Gerrard was phenomenal at his peak, but there were times last season where it felt like he was dragging the team down.

The tendency of the 35-year-old to try to do it all himself could work when he was an all-action midfielder, but when Hollywood passes and long range shots started arriving instead of those runs, rather than alongside them, it felt as though he was moving on at the right time.

For anyone still on the fence, Gerrard’s trajectory in MLS ought to only strengthen the argument.

After an impressive start, when it looked as though he was properly getting on board with his new environment and prepared to adapt to the different demands, he has faded badly and admitted he may have been unprepared for long journeys and artificial turf.

Like one of his trademark cross-field passes, it looked promising to begin with, before it became clear it would never hit the desired target.

As less-skilled but more energetic Galaxy team-mates, such as Sebastian Lletget, have begun to put the veteran in the shade, it’s time for Liverpool to proceed with something more pragmatic and less grandiose if they have any desire to flourish in the long term.


It’s a little like Hollywood directors’ efforts to reunite Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for one last great film, feeling in the back of their minds that the magic of Heat could return if they just do it right.

But something has left Gerrard for good, and the lack of enthusiasm for MLS won’t translate into a rebirth elsewhere.

Just because De Niro’s grown tired of the Meet the Parents franchise, if you try to make him flick a switch and return to the unforgiving surroundings of Raging Bull you’ll just end up with Righteous Kill – and no one wants that.

Perhaps it’s best to just keep Stevie G on as an executive producer – a role that looks to the future rather than the past.