The nightmare that was going to happen for Liverpool fans finally came true on 2nd January 2015, with Steven Gerrard announcing that at the end of the current campaign he'll be leaving Anfield for pastures new to experience playing in another climate.
Just like other Liverpool legends before him (Rush and Barnes to name a few), Gerrard is heading off to play for another club after what can only be described as phenomenal service in a Reds shirt. He deserves whatever he gets and there's no doubting that a move to America would appeal to him, despite reports and comments from the man himself suggesting he'd have stayed at Liverpool beyond this season.
Unlike Rush and Barnes, Steven Gerrard is more than likely heading off to Major League Soccer to join a growing list of big European stars who are keen to experience our flourishing league. With speculation rife, here's a few potential suitors for Gerrard:
New York Redbulls - There's many, many reasons why Gerrard should end up here. Gerrard Houllier is a director at the club, and they have an open Designated Player spot. It's New York City, the big smoke. Apparently a lot of people from England love to visit, plus the Redbulls need to make a splash since New York City FC has arrived. He'd have a great two years in the midfield in the Eastern Conference and they're certainly contenders for his signature.
Los Angeles Galaxy - LA Galaxy really don't need another midfielder, but they need another star. Landon Donovan retired after the MLS Cup win and they too have a Designated Player spot open. Galaxy fans might be weary of bringing in another English player after some of the rocky times they had with Beckham, but 'Stevie G' would fit in well giving service to Robbie Keane. It would also give Gerrard two added advantages over any other club - Los Angeles is an entertainment market and a fantastic place to live and Bruce Arena is the best American born manager of all time. I'm sure Becks has already been on the phone to Gerrard to tell him all about the area and what playing the the Galaxy entails.
Columbus Crew SC - Not a glamorous move by any stretch, but they need a star. Columbus really don't need another midfielder, they need strikers, but Gerrard could score a shedload in this league. He'd also be the focal point of the club, and they do at times think outside the box so a move there isn't as farfetched as it might sound.
DC United - They are the Manchester United of the MLS - were once the dominant force and has tailed off slightly, but are now getting better and improving under a new manager. Ben Olsen is a good boss and the club need that big star for their rabid fan base. He'd fit in well in their midfield and provide the club further momentum as they continue their rise.
Tampa Bay Rowdies - The Rowdies aren't in the MLS and don't have a Designated Player slot but have a huge Liverpool fan base (even without that they're great fans) and a superb owner who dreams of conquering the NASL. They need players, and more coaches on the sideline would help. Gerrard has made it known he wants to coach. Why not do both? This could be the perfect opportunity.
Steven Gerrard isn't what he used to be, everyone knows that, but despite his engine not being as smooth running as it used to be, he'd still be a phenomenal acquisition for any of those sides I've named above.
This year has shown that he can't necessarily hack every match, particularly in the Premier League, and a bit part role isn't good for club or player, especially considering the money he's on and his desire to play. In short spurts he's been amazing this campaign, but not enough, sadly. Coming over to the MLS, not a top league, he'd standout despite not being at the peak of his game these days. I'd hope that down the line he'd look back at his time over here as amazing and value his contribution in helping the league grow, because he certainly would help do that.
The question, as asked by the main stream media in England to American Journalist Grant Wahl, is - is Steven Gerrard really that well known over here in the States? The answer is, simply put, yes. There's more fans of English clubs in the USA than in any other country and being the Premier League superstar that he is he's graced our screens for years. There's certainly a big buzz around any potential move. In any city that he goes to there will be at least a supporters group of Liverpool and expats who are England fans.
Football fans in America just want to see great players who are good professionals. Steven Gerrard would have no problem settling in here and we'd love to have him. The MLS needs more greats to help raise the profile of the game over here and the Liverpool legend is certainly one of them.
By Stephen Brandt – Liverpool fan – @