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Saturday 10 December 2016

Klopp knows that Anfield still home for exiled Gerrard

Los Angeles Galaxy's Steven Gerrard watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, November 1, 2015, in Los Angeles (AP/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Galaxy's Steven Gerrard watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, November 1, 2015, in Los Angeles (AP/Mark J. Terrill)

If there is any real substance in the wave of speculation claiming that Jurgen Klopp is actively seeking the return of Steven Gerrard, he's a brave and very confident man.

Not many new managers would reach for a departed club legend as a stopgap knowing that if everything falls apart, he might be hiring his replacement.

Klopp has ruled out anything but some high class training facilities for Gerrard during the MLS off-season and LA Galaxy have issued a stern reminder to all that he can forget about kicking a ball wearing a red shirt.

According to Klopp, contact with Gerrard amounts to a phone call and some text messages but the story seems to have more to it than that with ligering reports claiming that Liverpool are exploring the possibility of paying Galaxy a fee.

Gerrard obviously believes he still has unfinished business with the club. When he came back to England in September to promote his book, he told the world that he would have been delighted to take on a coaching role under Brendan Rodgers had it been available. It wasn't.

"What would have kept me at Liverpool into this season was the chance of shadowing Brendan Rodgers and his staff as well as playing. Those ideas were only mentioned to me after I had announced I was leaving.

"I could have been a good squad player, a good sub, as well as getting management experience that money can't buy."

Maybe Gerrard was testing the water with the new man, seeing if perhaps there was a way back to the club he has never really left.

Any attempt by Klopp to chase Gerrard would have tested the limits of his control at Anfield by asking for the money and the role John Henry and his pals chose not to offer Gerrard this time last year.

Ian Ayre popped up at the Web Summit on Tuesday and mocked suggestions that the Anfield 'transfer committee' was a problem.

He is adamant that Klopp has the first and last word - just like Rodgers. Two words Ian. Mario and Balotelli.

When he arrived, Klopp identified how brittle his new squad was and there is little doubt that Gerrard's removal from the scene must have left a huge emotional and motivational gap which was not filled during the summer.

If Klopp identified Gerrard as the x-factor, it is no surprise at all that he made an attempt to lure back a man still spiritually joined at the hip to the club he loves.

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