When Steven Gerrard announced his imminent departure from Liverpool earlier this month, many fans expressed sadness at the end of an era. Gerrard's Liverpool career includes 182 goals, with many of those finishes coming in the most dramatic of circumstances. Though he leaves for the MLS in the summer to play for the LA Galaxy, his reputation as a player who helped shape the football fan experience of countless Liverpool supporters will remain intact.
According to chief executive Ian Ayre, Gerrard's exit may only be temporary. It has been suggested that Gerrard could return someday as a coach or club ambassador, but Ayre hinted at a possible return for the current captain as a player. BBC quotes Ayre as saying that a future loan move is "conceivable."
"The fact he's leaving doesn't mean it's the last we'll see of him at Liverpool," Ayre said. "It happens a lot in MLS, and it's something we talked to Steven and his representatives about."
"The details aren't known yet, but we will keep a regular dialogue with him and I hope we will see him here again in the long term."
On one hand, it's easy to discount such talk as impractical given Gerrard's age. He is 34 and clearly cannot keep up physically for long periods of time anymore, especially when tasked with manning the central midfield. This will only become more apparent as time goes on. But to return to Anfield as a super sub and team leader? The thought is certainly tantalizing.
However, as experienced through Liverpool's rather flirtatious relationship with Xabi Alonso since his 2009 departure, possible reunions make good headlines but often lead to disappointment if taken too seriously. So despite the fact that it was a key Liverpool figure suggesting a possible return for the club's beloved captain, such a move will be difficult to believe until finalized.