MATT ADDISON COLUMN | Steven Gerrard should choose between coaching and punditry – not do both

Steven Gerrard is arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever player, and whilst fans of every other team in the country delight in reminding people that he never won the Premier League title, he retired in 2016 as a player who had won everything else in club football, often single-handedly.

The best player of his generation in England and the captain of his national side through three major tournaments, Gerrard had a distinctive career with his boyhood team, and despite moving to LA Galaxy as his football playing days wound down, was a one-club man.

He could have moved to other clubs on numerous occasions, but as he himself explained, winning one trophy with Liverpool gave the same satisfaction as winning ten with anyone else.

Now, he is continuing his journey on Merseyside as coach of Liverpool’s under-18s team, with the natural progression of moving on to the under-23s and then the senior team surely under consideration when the time is right.

When Jurgen Klopp moves on, it is not inconceivable that he will be the one to take over the top job, with Liverpool promoting from within as they used to before.

Coaching is not Gerrard’s only role, though, with the 37-year-old a prominent pundit for BT Sport for the channel’s Premier League and Champions League coverage.

Of course, with Liverpool involved in both competitions, there will be several times when Gerrard will have to pass judgement on his employers.


Gerrard puncit
Steven Gerrard working alongside Jake Humphrey for BT Sport at the Etihad Stadium


That is not problem when Liverpool perform as they did against Arsenal so magnificently on Sunday, but when it comes to a defeat or a poor game, which will come sooner or later, he would be criticising his own employers, and staff he is likely to work for in the future, if he is not doing so already.

It makes for uneasy and uncomfortable viewing when someone heavily involved with the football club speaks so openly about how Liverpool should have got the Virgil van Dijk deal over the line by now, and how crucial it would be, as he has done.

Everyone is aware that that is the case in terms of Van Dijk, but it is questionable as to whether someone involved with Liverpool should be pushed to give an opinion on what is an already difficult situation.

He is naturally going to have an opinion, but there is no real need to be put on a platform where that can – and will – be scrutinised and referenced.

So early in the season, Gerrard has not needed to criticise or pass comment on Liverpool too often yet, but that will change. At some point, Liverpool are going to come under scrutiny for a poor run of form, just like every other team, and as a pundit Gerrard is paid to offer his opinion in such scenarios.

Someone in a top job at a bank or a supermarket would not come out on television and criticise those working above him at the same company, just as any other employee wouldn’t. A job in football should be no different.

The ideal solution would be to only work for BT Sport when Liverpool are not involved, but failing that being a viable option, Gerrard should make a choice between coach and pundit.

Even if he feels as boss of the under-18s side, doing both roles is fine, as he progresses up the coaching ladder, that stance would have to change. If nothing else, Liverpool would quite rightly insist.

At some point, Gerrard has to make a choice – coach or pundit. It might be for the best he makes that choice now.

Matt Addison writes a column each week for @AnfieldPress, covering all of the major talking points in the world of Liverpool FC throughout the season. Follow him on Twitter at @MattAddison97.


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