Some coaches are appointed because of their legendary status with the club in question and their connection to the fan community, which is said to lead to greater unity. The best examples of this are currently Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.
A quick look at the managers of the leading football clubs shows that many appointments are driven by sentimentality.
The Liverpool legend is doing a good job with the Rangers, but his management style seems more like that of a former Reds manager.
In Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has a strong and special connection to the club’s fan base, but prior to his appointment in 2015, he had no prior connection to Reds or English football.
In Spain, the three biggest clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – are all run by former players who have had an outstanding career in their clubs. Italian champions Juventus also appointed former midfielder Andrea Pirlo this summer.
The name that comes up most often when it comes to the question of who could replace the former top player of Borussia Dortmund is – not surprisingly – Steven Gerrard. The inspiring former captain of the Reds began his coaching career in Liverpool before he was appointed manager of the Scottish giant Rangers in 2018.
His popularity is based on his success as manager at Anfield and the extent to which he has brought what Liverpool means as a club to the team.
Klopp has already been with Liverpool for five years, and although he has four more seasons on his contract, it is not entirely unreasonable for the club to consider his successor – only four managers in the football league have been in office longer than the German, and he will not be around forever.
“I was at home and saw it on television… I was invited to go to the players and be with them, be with them, but I thought it was right to be at home with my family and let the players celebrate and enjoy themselves,” Gerrard said according to ECHO.
His connection with Liverpool is still so strong that he was invited to the club’s Premier League title celebrations earlier this year, although he declined the offer.
“The scenes were absolutely fantastic. There was no happier house in Formby than my house, I can tell you that”.
However, there are signs that the tide has turned in Glasgow.
Gerrard is now in his third season in Scotland. Celtic’s domestic dominance has continued throughout this period, with the club having won nine successive league titles and every Scottish trophy that has been won throughout the city at Ibrox since Gerrard’s appointment.
The Rangers have won the last two Old Firm derbies – the last of which was on October 17th when Celtic failed to register a shot on the disc against their visitors, who seemed to be a much more sophisticated team where every player knew his role.
They also enjoyed fantastic nights in Europe. Last season they qualified for the round of the last 16 in the Europa League after a home and away win against Portuguese team Braga. To put this achievement into context: Celtic have not won a European knockout in any competition since the group stage since 2004.
While the Gers under Gerrard still have a trophy to win, the gap at the top is narrowing and the Gers currently have a six-point lead over Neil Lennon’s men, who have not lost a game in SPL this season.
The Rangers are undefeated in 16 games in all competitions this season and have won 14 games, including four European victories. They impressively left Galatasaray behind in the European League qualifiers before celebrating another striking two-goal win in Standard Liège this week.
Gerrard has helped turn the team into one that is more than comfortable on the European stage by putting his tactics to the test and forming a resilient team with a top position in the last period.