Gerrard: Liverpool’s contract offer came too late before MLS decision
Steven Gerrard says nobody should be blamed for his departure from Liverpool despite admitting he would be staying had he been offered a new deal last summer.
Gerrard revealed over the weekend that he would be ending his career-long association with the Anfield club at the end of the season, and it has since been reported that he is close to signing a deal to join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy. The 34-year-old is out of contract in the summer and a deal was not put on the table until November, by when he had been told by Brendan Rodgers that his playing time would be managed.
He was left on the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and that, combined with the delay in a deal being offered, made up his mind to try his luck elsewhere at the end of his contract.
"If a contract had been put in front of me in preseason I would have signed it," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. "I’d just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool. I didn’t want my club games to be tailored. My injury record had been fantastic for the past two and a half years and I had a great season from a personal point of view last season."
He added: "It’s all ifs, buts and hindsight now. That period between the summer and the end of November gave me thinking time. There’s no blame and I’m not angry about it. There are other people in the squad and the club had other things to worry about. There is no finger pointing from me towards the manager or anyone else at the club."
Gerrard insists his relationship with Rodgers remains ‘very good’ but he knew the writing was on the wall once the former Swansea manager spoke to him about giving him regular rests.
"I’ve got to be honest, that chat with Brendan came earlier than I was expecting," he added. "It was about a month before that he first mentioned to me about managing my game time. We had another chat on the subject recently – 10 days to two weeks ago. It was tough but I understood. It’s been very amicable. Everyone knows how much I rate Brendan. Our relationship is very good."
"There hasn’t been a cross word between us," Gerrard admitted. "Brendan has been fantastic for me. My only regret is that I didn’t get to work with him at a younger age. Since I was 16, 17 years of age, the moment I come into work on a Monday morning my preparations begin to play 90 minutes the following weekend. That’s the buzz. I’ve always worked hard all week to prepare and make sure my performance is right come the weekend."
Gerrard added: "When it gets to the stage where you don’t know if you’re going to be starting or not it becomes different. I’ve never wanted to be a squad player. If I was missing games now, I’d be sitting out even more next season. I knew it would get worse and worse as time went on."