There is a lot of uncertainty about Steven Gerrard’s future at Liverpool, the latest being that the veteran midfielder may cross the Atlantic and join the New York Cosmos next summer.
Gerrard is out of contract at Anfield next year, and as he will turn 35 in May and is not as dynamic as before, a move to the Big Apple is a tempting option for the England captain. He is about to enter negotiations for a new contract with the club he joined as a kid, but there is no guarantee that the relationship will last much longer.
Rick Parry, the former Liverpool chief executive, is on the board of the New York Cosmos, and his connection with Gerrard could be a factor in striking a deal.
Despite the fact that Real Madrid legend Raul is the designated star at Cosmos, Gerrard may still join them, otherwise Los Angeles Galaxy are interested in him too.
But speculation about his moving on may fizzle out altogether because Reds boss Brendan Rodgers insists he wants to extend Gerrard’s contract, and it is solely down to ability, not sentimentality.
Rodgers is a long-time admirer of his club captain and has already given notice to the Anfield board that he wants their talisman to stay. As Gerrard can sign a pre-contract agreement to move, which would allow him to find a new club as early as Jan. 1, both parties want this uncertainty resolved quickly.
Liverpool took on the mighty Real Madrid on Tuesday in their latest Champions League match, and Rodgers feels he needs an experienced campaigner like Gerrard to lead them in Europe as he rebuilds the side following the loss of Luis Suarez, who contributed so much to their success, and nearly winning the Premier League last season. Liverpool have already lost four Premiership games and trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points.
Rodgers is even more reliant on Gerrard this season, partly because of the failure of Mario Balotelli to score regularly, which has contributed to their indifferent results.
The mercurial Italian may still come around. Lack of commitment is definitely not Balotelli’s worse failing, his confidence is though. Also, his role, as a classic big, target man, is not really the typical style of Liverpool, who relied on the quick, predatory talent of Luis Suarez.
Rodgers admitted signing Balotelli was a “calculated risk” which evidently has not paid off so far.
A lingering hope is that Balotelli can forge a partnership with Daniel Sturridge, who is overcoming injury problems. In their only game together so far, when they beat Spurs 3-0 at the end of August, they combined well.
Sturridge injured a thigh on England duty in September before pulling a calf muscle in training last month but was included in the squad that faced Madrid.