LONDON • Steven Gerrard is reportedly in talks with Juergen Klopp over a surprise return to Liverpool, with the former captain considering ending his spell with American team Los Angeles Galaxy early.
The Independent has claimed that the 35-year-old midfielder, who left the English Premier League football club at the end of last season to join the Major League Soccer side on an 18-month contract, has held several phone conversations with Klopp over a potential role in the German manager's coaching staff.
The report also says that "there is a chance of a formal playing agreement being brokered", although that could be complicated by the likelihood that the Galaxy would demand a transfer fee as they are not willing to allow him to go out on loan.
The Galaxy are currently not willing to sanction a loan deal similar to the one afforded to David Beckham, who went to AC Milan twice in his five years at the club.
Gerrard's season ended last week when the Galaxy were knocked out of the MLS play-offs by the Seattle Sounders. He is due back for pre-season training on Jan 15 and is reported to have discussed his future with Galaxy manager Bruce Arena before flying back to England yesterday morning.
TOUGHER THAN THOUGHT
''Goingonthe road, playingon(artificial) turf, playing at altitude, playing in humidity, those are the hurdles that I've hadto face over the last threemonths that I wasn't aware of. '
STEVENGERRARD, on his debut season in MLS
The speculation comes at a time when Gerrard admitted that his time on the field was coming to an end.
"It could be my last season as a footballer," he told the Galaxy's website. "I certainly don't want to feel like I'm feeling right now come next year.
"I'd love to go out on a high. It's a long season, and I only came here for the last four months. But I'll certainly be better for the experience next year."
Gerrard, who had spent his entire career at Liverpool before the mpve, scored on his MLS debut but has netted only once more in 14 matches for the club, who are five-time MLS Cup winners.
The former England captain admitted it had taken time to adapt to playing in the United States, with its variety of locations, conditions and time zones.
"Going on the road, playing on (artificial) turf, playing at altitude, playing in humidity, those are the hurdles that I've had to face over the last three months that I wasn't aware of," he said.
"Every away game has a different challenge."
Gerrard, who played more than 700 games for the Reds and scored 186 goals in all competitions, has missed Liverpool acutely as well as the cut and thrust of the Premier League - a level at which he believes he can still have an impact.
He is expected to attend Liverpool's home match against Crystal Palace on Sunday and should meet Klopp in person for the first time early next week when the pair will try to work a way out.
Klopp will need experience in his midfield if he is to achieve a top-four Premier League finish and to do well in the FA and League Cups and the Europa League.
Gerrard could also help with coaching, given that former player Gary McAllister carried out that role briefly under former manager Brendan Rodgers.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS