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Tuesday 6 December 2016

John Giles: The last thing Brendan Rodgers needs is Steven Gerrard kicking him when he's down

Brendan Rodgers, right, admits he will be hard-pressed to find a replacement for Steven Gerrard
Brendan Rodgers, right, admits he will be hard-pressed to find a replacement for Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

STEVEN Gerrard breezed into town last week for a bit of book promotion and an earner with BT Sport before heading back to his $6m a season job in LA.

Somewhere in between he added an extra few stone to the load Brendan Rodgers is carrying.

It was quite a few days' work. Gerrard didn't seem to mind how many toes he stepped on in America and in England as long as he delivered the message he wanted to deliver.

He told us that he would have been a coach and maybe even still playing if someone had only asked him. But Rodgers didn't ask so he went off to the MLS.

The timing could not have been worse for the Liverpool manager. Under ferocious pressure anyway, the last thing Rodgers needs is a club legend turning up on his doorstep like a bad penny to remind everyone that he hasn't gone away.

I always get the feeling that Gerrard wants to be in complete control and if possible two steps ahead of everyone else. But this time, he's got ahead of himself.

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He is being disrespectful to LA Galaxy fans and his employers by trying to keep his hand in with BT Sport in the middle of his own season. He missed training as a result and for me that's just not right.

He can't be at his best or at least, he would be in better shape if he didn't make the transatlantic trip. Apparently, it won't be his only visit back to England.

I'd feel sorry for Rodgers if he wasn't busy making a fool of himself without any help. He claims he is delighted to be associated with a certain football "indentity" while delivering very little this season to suggest that he knows what it is he wants to do himself.

If the vision he has in his head of the way the game should be played is represented by Liverpool at the moment, Rodgers' mind must be a pretty disorganised place.

But that aside, he didn't need Gerrard standing up on a stage and telling Liverpool fans that he is still passionately tied to Merseyside, doesn't see the MLS in the same way Robbie Keane sees it and if the right carrot was dangled, he would be back in a shot.

He didn't say those things in as many words but his intent was clear and if I was connected to LA Galaxy, I would be very annoyed indeed.

What Gerrard has done presents John Henry and his partners with an option should they choose to ditch Rodgers. He clearly wants to manage Liverpool and it would certainly be a popular choice albeit a huge gamble.

Gerrard pointed out that Liverpool changed Rodgers's backroom team during the summer and that there was a perfect opportunity to give him a job on the coaching staff and hold onto to him as an occasional player.

The implication I take from that is that Rodgers didn't want him on the coaching staff and I can understand that completely. Who needs a legend lurking in the background, a constant reminder of better days?

It looks to me like Sean O'Driscoll and Gary McAllister were appointed by the club and not Rodgers and maybe that was the trade-off he had to make to shut the door on his ex-captain.

Louis van Gaal managed his situation with Ryan Giggs brilliantly by making it very plain that he was there to carry bags and not make decisions.

Giggs already had his feet under the table and van Gaal was confident enough in his own authority to agree to take him on as a nominal No.2 but you only have to look at the body language on the Manchester United bench to know who is the boss.

Rodgers talks a good game but he carries none of the authority which van Gaal has in abundance and he would have been undermined by Gerrard's presence in the dugout.

As events have unfolded, there isn't much left to undermine. I think Rodgers is lost and will struggle to find a way back.

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