He’s tried to inspire the Reds throughout the match but so far everything he’s attempted hasn’t quite come off. This is his big moment.
Gerrard steps forward, and the crowd holds its breath. He lifts his right arm into the air, and beckons one of his players to the touchline whilst ushering another one towards the pitch. This is the substitution the Liverpool manager hopes will change the game.
Last week Gerrard went public with his desire to one day realise his dream of managing Liverpool (Daily Mail), answering a question that many Reds supporters had wondered about him for a long time.
After years of being so vital on the pitch, would Gerrard want to continue his importance off it? The answer appears to be yes.
So often linked with Jamie Carragher throughout his career as a one club man, the 33-year-old Gerrard’s thoughts have now turned to what he’ll do when he follows his great mate into retirement.
For so long it was felt that, of the two, Carragher would be the one most likely to move into management. But with the former defender having made the move into television punditry instead, a career in the dugout has seemingly been put on hold for now.
Gerrard’s post-playing career has always been somewhat harder to envisage given his prominence on the pitch. This is the Liverpool and England captain we’re talking about remember.
Following his Reds testimonial against Olympiakos this summer, next month the midfielder will celebrate a decade of wearing the Liverpool armband, an impressive milestone of course but also one which indicates that his career is entering its’ autumn years.
His slightly withdrawn role in Brendan Rodgers’ current team ensures that he doesn’t have to do as much running as he used to, and so that might prolong the playing days of a man who has given so much to the Liverpool cause.
But the day will come when the Reds can’t rely on him as a player any more.
Whether he then moves directly into the manager’s hotseat depends on a large number of factors of course―perhaps the chief amongst them being that Rodgers is only seven years Gerrard’s senior, and despite being just a year into the job he’ll be hoping for a long and successful reign at Anfield.
But Gerrard and his supporters can dream. Just how he’d do as a manager is another question entirely though.
Perceived wisdom states that the best players don’t always make the best managers, but at Liverpool the 10 trophies won by Kenny Dalglish suggest that a different outcome can be true.
Bob Paisley―the club’s most successful manager and the only boss in history to win three European Cups―played for Liverpool for 15 years either side of the Second World War. But his playing career with Liverpool isn’t remembered with the same fondness as Graeme Souness’ was, and the Scot’s three-year managerial reign between 1991 and 1994 is considered a disappointment.
There is no magic formula of course. Just because things did or didn’t work out for someone doesn’t mean the same will happen again.
For Gerrard―recently voted the Reds’ greatest ever player in a refreshed poll run by the club’s website (LiverpoolFC.com)―there is simply a desire to help the club he’s spent his whole life helping.
No doubt drawing on inspiration from Gerard Houllier, who he had a great relationship with, and Rafael Benitez, under whom he was most successful, it would possible to imagine Gerrard as a great boss, encouraging and cajoling performances out of players in the way he’s done for over a decade.
As inspirational figures on the touchline go, few would have greater presence. Perhaps one day he’ll get to realise his dream and be the man directing operations from the sidelines as opposed to the centre of the pitch.
Most of the other dreams Gerrard has had have come true, so why not this one?