Steven Gerrard made his first appearance in front of LA Galaxy fans last night but before that he treated them to 500 bottles of beer.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 4, 2015
To celebrate July 4, America’s Independence Day, the Liverpool legend ingratiated himself to the supporters for their pre-match tailgate parties.
In a message posted by the club, Stevie wrote: “Supporters are the lifeblood of any club and I know that with your support we’ll challenge for the MLS Cup again.”
“As a token of appreciation for what you do for the club, I wanted to provide you with some refreshments for the 4th of July. I look forward to meeting you at tonight’s match.”
And he did.
At half time of Galaxy’s match against Toronto FC, Gerrard, 34, was introduced onto the pitch by President Chris Klein to huge cheers from the sell out crowd at the Stubhub Center.
With wife Alex watching from a box, where she was accompanied by Robbie Keane’s wife Claudine, Steven said: “Thank you very much for a fantastic welcome.”
“Thank you for making myself and my family feel at home in LA. It feels great to be here, I’m excited and I can’t wait to get my boots on and play.
“And hopefully we can have some good times together. Happy 4th of July.”
Here is what the former Liverpool legend said:
Gerrard was warmly received by his new supporters, with several brandishing supportive placards in anticipation of the the Liverpool icon pulling on the colours of the Galaxy.
On the night, Galaxy didn’t look like they needed a new, dynamic central midfielder, but the fans’ support suggests that they are desperate for Gerrard to nail down his place in Bruce Arena’s starting XI.
The man Gerrard will likely replace, Baggio Husidic, registered an assist in a tough-tackling display, but it was Robbie Keane – a former team-mate of Gerrard’s at Anfield – who stole the show, notching a hat-trick against a Toronto team shorn of their key components because of the Gold Cup.
Nevertheless, Galaxy could use a boost. The MLS Cup champions currently occupy a playoff position but they have played more matches than any other side in the Western Conference, and Gerrard has arrived at a time when the side historically picks up steam.
The club have a successful history with big-name imports, starting with David Beckham and continuing through to Keane, while manager Arena has proven himself to be a master of integrating new signings.
“I think when you insert a player of his calibre, things are going to look different,” said Arena, when asked about Gerrard. “He’s obviously a first-class player. He’s going to make us better in the midfield. He’s going to improve our passing as a team, he can score goals, he’s outstanding at set pieces.
“There’s a lot of things that he should add to our team. But we’re going to let him have the proper time to get integrated. He’s going to need some games to get used to his team-mates and his team-mates getting used to him, but I think once he gets settled in he’s going to make an outstanding contribution.”
Gerrard will begin training on Tuesday before making his MLS debut on Friday July 17 against the San Jose Earthquakes.