When Jurgen Klopp and Steven Gerrard both extended their managerial contracts with their respected clubs to 2024 within hours of each other there was a sense that this was by no means coincidental.
Although it is impossible what this means in the long term developments regarding Gerrard and Liverpool it did add further validity to the idea of the former Liverpool captain one day in the distant future being unveiled as the manager of his boyhood club.
For some time now, Gerrard has been deemed as Klopp’s long-term successor after the Champions League-winning captain started his coaching journey with Liverpool’s U18s back in 2017 before taking the role as Rangers manager a year later.
It isn’t just the fans who felt Gerrard would be an adequate replacement to take the Anfield reigns once Klopp calls it a day on his Liverpool tenure but also the German himself after speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo, he said: “If you ask who should follow me, I’d say Stevie. I help him whenever I can.”
While it is important to realise a lot can happen between now and in four years time when Klopp’s Liverpool contract reaches its expiration date there is a tendency for contemplation to wonder what life without the FIFA Coach of the Year will one day look like.
Also, it’s difficult to judge Gerrard’s accomplishments in the Scottish Premiership when there is such a gaping intangible difference when monitoring what is deemed a success at both entities. Rangers have fallen frustratingly off the pace in their domestic league winning just two of their last five league games to leave them trailing Celtic by 12 points (albeit, with a game in hand).
However, in Europe, Gerrard has showcased managerial qualities that perfectly portray the resilience and steel needed to manage a club with such continental pedigree as Liverpool. The Gers hadn’t qualified for the Europa League in their previous seven years before this season and now Gerrard is guiding his troops into the last-16 of the competition.
After recovering from 2-0 down to win 3-2 during a European clash that would have taken the Englishman back to his playing days, Gerrard’s side finished the job in Portugal on Wednesday with another former Liverpool man, Ryan Kent, scoring an extraordinary winner.
Rangers await the draw for the next stage of the competition where they could be drawn to face any of the likes of Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester United or Wolves.
If Gerrard is to be deemed as a candidate for the Liverpool role then auditions like midweek certainly won’t damage his credentials. It was a true away performance of maturity coupled with real guts and guile to inspire back-to-back European victories. The knowledge of meticulously navigating his way through knockout ties will certainly benefit his tactical nous as a manager.
Despite this, it is, of course, a long shot to suggest that Gerrard is ready-made for the Liverpool role. All the Rangers boss can do is maintain what he is doing now and to continue learning his trade. Europe has proven to be a match made for heaven for Gerrard and Liverpool over the years and the romance between the trio doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.