Saturday 3 January 2015 14:27, UK
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists he wanted Steven Gerrard to stay at Anfield.
Gerrard announced on Friday he would leave the club he joined as an eight-year-old boy at the end of the season.
He wasn’t ready to move into coaching or anything like that yet, he still sees himself very much as a player.
The 34-year-old, who refused Liverpool's offer of a new contract, has since confirmed reports that he will move to the MLS while Rodgers has insisted he wanted his “brilliant” captain to stay at Anfield. And Rodgers hopes that the former England captain will return to Anfield as a coach once his playing career ends.
“I’ve been in conversations for quite a while with Steven and had an idea of his feelings to moving forward,” Rodgers told Sky Sports News HQ.
“He had always been really respectful in terms of once he had made his final decision that he wanted me to know first, and in fairness to him, we had a chat a few days before the announcement was made, so I’ve been fully aware all the way along.
“I think he is someone who deserves the utmost respect, that’s why I said in the last few press conferences at the time, when we were talking, what the guy has done in the game and how he is as a person, he deserves that time to make his decision and the decision is purely at this time for him and his family.
“He’s been and is an iconic figure at this football club and always will be. And over time there will be an opportunity for him to come back here for sure.
“But at this moment in time in his life it’s the chance to experience something different for him and when that time comes at the end of the season it will obviously bring an end to his career as a Liverpool player.”
Rodgers dismissed suggestions that the club failed to do enough to convince Gerrard to stay with the Merseyside giants.
“I think if you look at Steven’s statement that he put out the other day it makes it clear, he certainly knew my feelings on wanting him to be here. He’s been a brilliant captain for me and my team so naturally of course I wanted him to stay here," he said.
“His role is slightly different, he still sees himself as wanting to go on and play for a couple of more years. Naturally at this level that was maybe going to be tapered a little bit of the next couple of years.
“He wasn’t ready to move into coaching or anything like that yet, he still sees himself very much as a player.
“When that time comes and he finishes and retires as a player; that’s maybe something we can look at because he‘s someone that of course will be brilliant to be back here as part of the staff.
“But at this moment in time his concentration is on his football and he said that himself, he leaves here on great terms both with myself and the owners, so I think anything else that is said will be wide of the mark.”