When Steven Gerrard returned to Liverpool at the end of the MLS season, it was inevitable that people would ask about the chances of him being involved again at the club he had captained for more than a decade. Would he train with the first team? Would he take on a mentoring role? Might he even return in January on loan?
In the end, there would only be the chance for Gerrard to train at Melwood with the his former teammates, to keep himself fit during the MLS offseason. Still, even the thought it might end up being more than that created quite a buzz, and with Gerrard having his first training session yesterday those questions—that speculation—was once again on the table.
"Steven won't play," said Jürgen Klopp when asked about the club's former captain at his pre-Southampton press conference. "He's in good shape, and the doors always have to be open for Stevie. It's a good situation. Everybody had a smile. It's good to have him here and we hope we can help him, and maybe he can help us being in the dressing room."
As for the game at hand, despite a short layoff between matches, Klopp says his side will be ready to take on Southampton in the Capital One Cup. And while a trip to the semi-finals is on the line and perhaps the club's best chance at silverware this season, the manager isn't taking advancement for granted against a side he knows has some history with the Reds.
"I knew about Southampton from before," said the Kop boss. "They're a good team and brilliant offensively, and [Dusan] Tadic is difficult to play against. The biggest fault you can make is to think already about the next round. It's only about Southampton, and I hear Southampton and Liverpool are not the best of friends, so it will be a feisty game."