When Brendan Rodgers took the reins at Celtic back in May of this year, there were inevitable questions about possible reunions with his former Liverpool players. Although Rodgers remained coy about any such prospects, he did speak exceedingly warmly of former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, stating that “[y]ou want to work with the best people and he's certainly one of the best.” With the MLS season already underway, a swoop by Celtic was a remote possibility, and that was that for the time being.
Fast forward to the present, and an encore featuring two key figures from Liverpool’s 2013-14 title challenge looks a slight touch more likely. Gerrard’s contract with the L.A. Galaxy will run its course next month, and with no more MLS football on the cards, the midfielder has let slip through various channels that he intends to continue his playing career, ideally on more familiar shores. Unsurprisingly, the rumors of a role with Celtic have resurfaced.
Assuming that Rodgers’ interest is real and not just more press conference niceties, the obstacles to any such deal materializing have always been finances and the level of interest on the part of the player. Where there’s strong interest, there is usually a way to make the money work, so they key question remains: would Gerrard be amenable to forgoing the glitz of the Premier League or one of the continental top divisions to spend his last playing days in the Scottish Premier League?
Now, a former Celtic mainstay has indicated that Gerrard might be more open to spending time at Parkhead than many might believe. Andy Lynch, a former captain and winner of three Scottish League titles with Celtic, recounted a meeting with Gerrard during which the midfielder revealed a connection to a club other than Liverpool:
“The decisive factor could be that he is a real Celtic man. That took me by surprise when I met him at half-time during a Liverpool game at Stoke. I had travelled up from London with the club owners, Hicks and Gillett, to be guests of Liverpool. Gerrard wasn’t playing so at half-time he was introduced to me.
It was him who brought up the subject of Celtic and you could see he was pretty excited talking about it. He said ‘that’s my team, that’s who I support.’
Obviously, I’m sure he’s got a great love for Liverpool and I’m not saying Celtic would have been a greater love. But he was very adamant about his passion for Celtic and said whenever he gets opportunities he would come up and see them because that was his team when he was younger.”
Under Rodgers, Celtic are currently flying high in the SPL, a full 10 points ahead of their closest competition. They are also competing in the UEFA Champions League, though admittedly at the wrong end of the table in a very muscular group. A green reprise of Istanbul for Gerrard appears unlikely, but a reunion with Rodgers would provide an opportunity to close out his career with a league title - just not quite the one he always wanted.