Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out any chance of Steven Gerrard playing for the club again.
However, the German would be happy to welcome him back in another capacity once his contract with Los Angeles Galaxy is over.
A report suggested there was a prospect the 35-year-old midfielder, currently in the Major League Soccer off-season, could don the red shirt again after a conversation with Klopp about training with the squad now he is back in England.
But the manager said that was not a likely prospect, although he is happy to honour the agreement Gerrard had with former manager Brendan Rodgers to train at the club’s Melwood base while he is home.
“I spoke with Stevie. One phone call and a few messages. He is a very nice guy I must say,” said Klopp, who has yet to meet Gerrard in person.
“He’s a Liverpool legend, of course, but his contract as I know is in the USA
“But now his break starts and I told him ’When you are here of course you can come whenever you want, you can train with us if you think it is good for you.
“Of course our doors are always open for him, that is clear. But nothing else.
“Do you think he should play at this moment or next year. No? Why did you ask me?
“Stevie has a contract with LA Galaxy, he loves this club and he is a legend and when his contract has ended we can talk about different stuff.
“We will find for sure something for Stevie when he comes back and whatever he wants to do we will help him but not at this moment – we are in the middle of the season.
“Everything is fine, perfect between LFC and Stevie, but I don’t know him until now and I’m looking forward to the moment we meet each other and we’ll talk about his ideas for the future, maybe, if he has some.
“The door is always open. Of course.”
Klopp has taken his strongest-possible side to Russia for the Europa League match against Rubin Kazan with the inclusion of youngsters, including the likes of Pedro Chirivella, Cameron Brannagan and back-up goalkeeper Ryan Fulton – kept to a minimum, although defender Connor Randall would also have travelled had he not picked up an injury in training yesterday.
Klopp’s policy is different to those of predecessor Brendan Rodgers, who on the club’s only other European trip this season left six senior players at home when they flew to Bordeaux in September.
Liverpool, who have had three successive 1-1 draws in Europe this season, at the very least have to avoid defeat in Kazan if they are to avoid a tricky conclusion to their Group B campaign.
They currently trail leaders Sion (on seven points) by three and are ahead of Kazan by only a point with Bordeaux to follow in their final home game ahead a trip to Switzerland in December.
Klopp was asked by a local journalist what he thought of the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan.
“We are not here for a visit. I hope you will see that tomorrow,” he added.
“We know it will be hard tomorrow and that is why the Europa League is a very big challenge.
“We are here to do our best and if we need to work hard for 95, 96 minutes then we shall do this.”
Klopp is eminently quotable and he was reminded of one of his oft-repeated phrases about wanting to play “heavy metal” football at former club Borussia Dortmund when asked how he would describe Liverpool’s musical style.
“The problem in my life is I say too many sh*t things,” said the German, reducing his audience to laughter.
“I don’t know, we have to work to create a new kind of music but we are in a good way.”