Rio Ferdinand has hit out at Liverpool for the lack of loyalty they showed to club legend Steven Gerrard towards the end of his playing career.
Gerrard came through the Reds’ academy and spent the majority of his playing career at Liverpool, making over 700 appearances across a 17-year senior career. During that time, Gerrard scored 185 goals and won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, two FA Cups, three League Cups and two Community Shields, lifting a large number of those trophies as club captain.
However, after just missing out on the 2013/14 Premier League title, Gerrard started to have a reduced role under Brendan Rodgers and was famously left out of the starting XI in a big Champions League clash against Real Madrid.
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Gerrard would go on to leave Liverpool at the end of the 2014/15 season, stating he would have signed a new contract had one been offered in the summer of 2014. Just days after his Liverpool departure was announced in January 2015, Gerrard was confirmed as a new signing for LA Galaxy, linking up with the MLS club in the summer.
But Ferdinand believes Liverpool could have done more to keep Gerrard at the club, had they shown him the same loyalty that he had shown them when turning down a big-money move to Chelsea in 2005.
“He’s been loyal to them, he had that obscene offer we’re hearing from Chelsea,” Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel.
“They courted him, they tried every which way they could through players and what not trying to get him and unsettle him. He became unsettled, flirted with the idea a little bit, but actually, loyalty probably made him stay at Liverpool.
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“Whatever happened, he was courted by Chelsea. He decides to stay, and then he gets towards the end of his career and the club don’t want to give him a new deal. Bearing in mind [he’s] arguably the club’s best-ever player, been a part of iconic moments at the football club and would have had so much to offer young players staying there from a culture, a mentality and somebody they can look at and identify as a local lad, but they let him go to LA Galaxy.”
Gerrard would spent 18 months in MLS, playing 39 times before retiring in January 2017 and trying his hand at coaching.
The Englishman first returned to the Liverpool academy as a youth coach but left 18 months later to take charge of Rangers, eventually leading them to Scottish Premiership glory before joining Aston Villa last year.
“There was the ability for him to stay there as a player-coach and groom him into being a coach in the system that they’ve got or a manager, but they chose to do something totally different and allowed him to go to LA Galaxy,” Ferdinand added.
“So when you talk about loyalty maybe if the club were being shown an element of loyalty there they might have gone, you know what, because of that loyalty he’s showing us, we’re going to give him a bit back at the end of his career.”