Steven Gerrard restarts his coaching career.
Today it has officially been announced that Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard will take on a coaching role at the Saudi Arabian team, Al-Ettifaq. The contract has been signed for two years.
Stevie G retired in 2017 while playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy and then returned to Merseyside to be a part of his hometown club's system. He took charge of the Liverpool U18 team and was later called to manage Rangers. Under Gerrard's leadership, the team finished second for two consecutive seasons, which was a good result. Then, for the first time in ten years, they clinched the championship title from Celtic. Moreover, they achieved this in style, securing a 20-point lead after six rounds.
The Englishman was called up by Aston Villa, where things didn't work out. The team plummeted into the relegation zone in the second season, and Unai Emery was brought in to save them. With such baggage, the Englishman heads to Saudi Arabia.
In the last season, Al-Ettifaq competed in the elite Saudi division and finished in a middle-of-the-pack position - seventh place. The club is an apparent mid-table team in the league, having only been crowned champions twice in its history, with the last title coming in the 1986/1987 season.
Unlike Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, and Al-Ahli, Al-Ettifaq is not considered a state-owned club. That's why it is not involved in the high-profile deals that Saudi clubs are actively conducting this summer.
However, it cannot be said that the new club of the Liverpool legend is entirely devoid of unknown names. The most expensive player at Al-Ettifaq is Tunisian Naïm Sliti (formerly of Dijon, Lille, and Red Star). Following him are Swedish player Robin Quaison (130 appearances for Mainz, 70 for Palermo, and a national team player), Turkish player Berat Özdemir (Trabzonspor and Gençlerbirliği), Brazilian Vitinha, Frenchman Marcel Tisserand (Wolfsburg), and German Amin Younes (Ajax, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Napoli).
It is still being determined what tasks will be set for Gerrard, but it seems unlikely he will aim for a top-four finish immediately.