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Gerrard is 'best fit in the universe' for LA Galaxy

Mike Whalley and ESPN staff
January 7, 2015
Rodgers hails Gerrard's performance

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is being called the "best fit in the universe" for Los Angeles Galaxy as he prepares to take a 50% cut in his basic wage to join the Major League Soccer side.

Gerrard and Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told the LA Times of the deal on Wednesday morning, before the club confirmed later in the day on their website that an 18-month contract - starting in July - has been finalised.

The 34-year-old is set to earn a basic salary of around $6 million (£4m) a year, roughly half of what he is paid at Anfield, although he will be able to increase that figure through image rights and sponsorship.

'I would have signed and stayed'

Steven Gerrard wants regular game time © Getty Images
  • Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was ready to commit to the club last summer but was not offered a new contract. A deal was proposed several months later and by then he had established that he be forced to spend more time on the bench.
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"The time's right for myself and my family for the change, for the fresh challenge," Gerrard told the LA Times by phone from Liverpool. "I've been here for a long time. I've given an awful lot back to this club.

"But I now I feel it's the time for a fresh break and to try something different."

The former England captain announced on Friday that he would leave Liverpool when his contract expires in June.

"Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available," Arena, who has led the club to three MLS titles in four years, added.

"He's a player of quality. I'm not concerned about how he's going to fit in with our team.

"We have a club now with a proven history of success. All those things go hand in hand in making LA Galaxy a very attractive team for players such as Steven Gerrard."

Galaxy president Chris Klein described the Liverpool captain as "the perfect fit".

"We just started thinking in the universe of players that are out there, we want to make a decision on what signifies a Galaxy-designated player," Klein said.

"When we look at that, Steven Gerrard is the perfect fit with what he brings to us on the field and the character that he has off it."

Gerrard added: "My discussions with Bruce Arena and Chris Klein were extremely positive and the future of the team is very bright. I am committed to helping the LA Galaxy compete for trophies and to having an impact in Los Angeles and I will give my all for the club.

"In the meantime, I will continue to give everything for Liverpool for the remainder of this season before joining up with the Galaxy."

Jordan Henderson, signed from Sunderland for £16m in June 2011, is set to be handed the captain's armband at Liverpool next season and Gerrard has given the midfielder his backing.

Jordan Henderson is set to take over the captain's armband from Steven Gerrard next season © Getty Images
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"I certainly believe Jordan has everything you need to be a great captain," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. "He's a fantastic professional who tries to lead by example in every training session and in every game.

"He has really grown as a player and is improving all the time with experience. He can become a great captain for this club. He's a fantastic player for me to hand the armband over to.

"I've got great respect for Jordan Henderson and I know everyone else at the club feels the same."

England midfielder Henderson, 24, almost left Liverpool after a difficult first season at Anfield, but rejected a move to Fulham in 2012 and chose instead to fight for his place.

"Initially, it was very difficult for Jordan," Gerrard added. "He was a Sunderland boy and moving to Liverpool was his first time out of the area. It was a big move at a young age.

"Playing for Liverpool, with all the pressure and expectation, is tough. It's a very demanding club.

"Jordan stayed and toughed it out. It's in difficult situations like that you learn a lot about the type of player and the type of character someone is.

"He knuckled down and worked even harder. He's a true professional and a very strong character. Every day he's in the gym doing extra work. He doesn't drink and he looks after himself. He has made a lot of sacrifices to play well for this club."

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