Tuesday 28 March 2017

Gerrard loan to Liverpool unlikely, says MLS supremo

LA Galaxy's Steven Gerrard (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
LA Galaxy's Steven Gerrard (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Jason Burt

Steven Gerrard is not expected to return to Anfield on loan in January, according to Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber.

There were suggestions, from Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre, when Gerrard announced his move to Los Angeles Galaxy, that a loan was "conceivable" and had even been discussed.

However, when asked about the possibility Garber was dismissive. "I don't think so," he said. "And I had not heard that was something that was being contemplated."

The most high-profile case of a player returning to Europe on loan was when David Beckham joined AC Milan from LA Galaxy in 2009 with Garber saying he had been "really upset" with the move because of the "big hoopla and the massive commitment we made" to Beckham.

"And people in our country said: 'What? He plays for two teams? And you are trying to build a sport'," Garber said.

"It was a challenge getting people to understand that. I don't believe we are going to see many more off-season loans happening in our league particularly at what I would call the high-level designated players.

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"It's been a couple of years [since it has happened]. I don't remember the last one we have had - Robbie Keane with [Aston] Villa, [Thierry] Henry with Arsenal [both 2012]."

The likelihood is that Gerrard will return to train with Liverpool but will not play for them again.

Garber also revealed the MLS has been "talking to the Premier League about doing some sort of official competition as opposed to just having clubs come over on a random basis playing in a [pre-season] tournament that takes place every summer".

He floated the idea of an annual event in New York in which the Premier League winners and the FA Cup winners would take on their MLS equivalents. Garber said: "I would love to do that. If not every year, then every four years because I know they have other places that they want to go to grow their brands."

Garber said the MLS would continue to expand with Beckham's Miami franchise to be one of three new teams formed in the next few years, possibly by 2018, especially now the former England captain has found a site for a new stadium.

Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is determined to be an important player this season, despite almost leaving the club in the summer.

The 28-year-old appeared to be on the verge of a loan move to Besiktas in August, but injury to captain Jordan Henderson gave the Brazil international an opening and he has started the last two matches against Arsenal and West Ham. "I was very close to moving, but one thing I will always have is commitment to this club," Lucas said. " I just need to now focus on my performance."

Irish Independent

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