LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers opened the door for Steven Gerrard to return to the club in a coaching capacity, saying Friday that his departing captain "would certainly be someone I'd love to have work here."
Gerrard is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after 17 years as a professional to join the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS. He is already taking his UEFA coaching badges and has suggested he would like to return to the club after he retires.
Rodgers has spoken to Gerrard many times about what is in store when his playing career ends and said the former England captain's future lies at Anfield.
"Steven leaving here isn't permanent, certainly as long as I'm here," Rodgers said. "That opportunity for him to come back will always be there as long as I'm here.
"If coaching is the route he wants to go down when he finishes in America, then that's certainly something we will discuss in more detail."
Gerrard, who has been Liverpool captain since 2003 and was voted the club's greatest player in an online poll by its website in 2013, will be given a guard of honor before kickoff in his last home game for Liverpool — against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
His departure will leave a huge hole in a team that has relied on Gerrard for years, and Rodgers has labeled the midfielder as "Mr. Liverpool."
"He grew up round the corner and went on to play for the club he supported and what he has given to this city, politicians haven't given to this city," Rodgers said. "What he has (done for) local hospitals and charities, all the work he does is unheralded.
"If you think he is a good player he is an even better human being."
Gerrard's last game for Liverpool will be at Stoke on May 24 on the final day of the Premier League season.