Steven Gerrard has reportedly flown out to Los Angeles to finalise his 18-month deal with LA Galaxy, which, if true, puts into question whether the skipper will be back in time to face Sunderland on Saturday lunchtime.
UPDATE: It seems The Mirror report is false.
Press Association Sport write: “A deal to take the 34-year-old to the Major League Soccer at the end of this season is now close to completion. However, contrary to reports Gerrard has not been given leave to travel to the United States to finalise the move and has not flown to America as all the necessary requirements associated with the deal have been done in this country.”
The Mirror report that Gerrard will fly out to America, which, given he was pictured at Martin Skrtel’s 30th birthday celebrations on Tuesday evening, must mean Wednesday.
Of course, should Gerrard be pictured at Melwood on Wednesday or Thursday, the report will be proven false. Watch this space.
If true though and Gerrard has boarded a transatlantic flight to California (11 hours each way) the chances of him returning in time for the trip to the Stadium of Light look slim.
Brendan Rodgers and his squad will travel to the north-east on Friday, and even if Gerrard has flown back on Thursday, which would be pretty full-on, he wouldn’t be in prime condition for such an important Premier League away game.
Rodgers would have to look at switching his side around somewhat if so. The likely thing to do would be to bring Alberto Moreno back into the team at left midfield, with Lazar Markovic occupying Gerrard’s ‘number 10’ role behind the returning, and hopefully refreshed, Raheem Sterling – who took a trip to Jamaica this weekend.
Sterling could equally start behind the striker, with Mario Balotelli given a chance in place of Rickie Lambert, after a relatively promising cameo against AFC Wimbledon on Monday evening. It would be a risk though, given the Italian’s unpredictability.
Rodgers often seems desperate to include Gerrard one way or another, which has backfired a few times this season, and selecting him for Saturday’s game, given the captain’s rumoured travels between now and then, would be madness.