Major League Soccer’s regular season comes to an end this weekend and the Los Angeles Galaxy are one of six Western Conference teams gearing up for the MLS Cup playoffs.
In advance of the club’s Fan Appreciation Night this weekend, several high profile players made branded social media posts to reach out to supporters and thank them for getting behind the team in 2016. Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard posted his on Instagram, and it caused something of a stir.
Steven Gerrard's career in the USA will end when the current Major League Soccer season finishes even though his Instagram message to Los Angeles Galaxy fans was part of a team thank you to supporters rather than a farewell note. The Liverpool legend is one of the Galaxy's 'designated players' which means that his lucrative $6.2 million annual wages are exempt from the club's basic salary cap.
But apparently it’s not quite that simple. Neither the LA Galaxy or Major League Soccer have made an official comment regarding Gerrard’s future. And Brendan Hannan, vice president of communications for the Galaxy, posted something of a clarification on Twitter.
All #LAGalaxy players are posting thank you notes to supporters ahead of Fan Appreciation night, including Zardes, Gerrard, Rowe and AJ.— brendan hannan (@brendanhannan) October 22, 2016
Gerrard’s contract runs out at the end of this season, and it’s unlikely any decisions will be made until after the Galaxy’s postseason run is over. If the Galaxy advance all the way to the MLS Cup Final, the earliest they would make an announcement would be mid-December. And while Gerrard’s departure from the Galaxy would likely spell the end of his playing career, that’s not absolutely assured.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp told reporters that Gerrard will always be welcome at the club, although he did not specify if he meant to train in the offseason or something else.
“Steven Gerrard is always so welcome at Liverpool FC. You cannot imagine how welcome -- absolutely no problem. Everything what we have already, or will, talk to each other [about] stays in this talk and stays in this situation. That's how I know Stevie and that's how I am. But nobody should be worried about that we have no space for Steven Gerrard. Everything will be fine, 100 percent.”
Obviously you should take any and all rumors about this with a boulder of salt. And even if Gerrard does return to Liverpool in an official capacity— as a member of the technical staff, perhaps— it could take a while before the details of that are all ironed out.
Still, there is a small but hopeful chance that Anfield’s native son could be coming back home soon.