Gallery: Exclusive photos from NYCFC’s win over LA Galaxy on Saturday

Some of the biggest stars in Major League Soccer went head-to-head on Saturday afternoon as New York City FC took on LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium.

It was NYCFC who emerged victorious, thanks to an early David Villa goal, helping them to a 1-0 win to remain top of the Eastern Conference in just their second MLS season.

LA Galaxy will be disappointed with their performance, suffering a first defeat in ten regular season outings this weekend. They fell to fourth in the West and are seven points off Dallas in first place.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

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Steven Gerrard to leave LA Galaxy as Liverpool return looms – report

Steven Gerrard’s MLS adventure might be coming to a very abrupt end just four months after moving to the LA Galaxy as Liverpool are reportedly looking to bring back their talisman.

Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Anfield has seen the club change their outlook on Gerrard, who they watched leave after 18 years of service, as the German head coach wants to see the 35-year-old midfielder return “to define the standards of professionalism”, according to a report by the Independent.

The report claims Klopp has spoken to Gerrard on the phone “several times” since becoming Liverpool boss and wants him back on Merseyside to join the club for training at the very least, with a playing role a possibility.

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The Galaxy do not want to allow their Designated Player to go on loan to another club during the offseason and are also unlikely to want him training with another team.

That would probably mean Liverpool have to table a transfer offer to release Gerrard from the final 12 months of his Galaxy contract, should LA allow him to go.

The Galaxy crashed out of the playoffs at the first hurdle last week and Gerrard revealed after their exit that he was considering retirement in a year’s time. He also said he never anticipated the travel involved in MLS would present such a challenge as it did during his brief experience so far.

“It could be my last season as a footballer. I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m feeling right now come next year. I’d love to go out on a high,” he told reporters in Seattle last week.

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“Going on the road, playing on turf, playing at altitude, playing in humidity, those are the hurdles that I’ve had to face over the last three months that I wasn’t aware of. Every away game has a different challenge.”

It’s those challenges that might have changed Gerrard’s stance on playing out his final days across the pond. He will meet Jurgen Klopp in person early next week for the first time as negotiations over a permanent return to Anfield look to be high on the agenda.

Should Steven Gerrard consider a return to Liverpool already? Should LA Galaxy sell him if a transfer offer is received?

LA Galaxy fear Klopp’s Liverpool arrival will tempt Gerrard away – report

A huge managerial appointment on Merseyside could sent shockwaves that rumble across to Los Angeles as LA Galaxy fear Jurgen Klopp’s pending Liverpool appointment could see Steven Gerrard return to Anfield.

Klopp is expected to be announced as the new Liverpool boss on Friday morning, with multiple reports suggesting a three-year deal has been offered to the former Borussia Dortmund head coach.

One of his first jobs will be to assemble a backroom team to help him turn Liverpool’s season around after a slow start and LA Galaxy fear that will see the Reds approach Kop legend Gerrard, according to the Daily Mirror.

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The 35-year-old English midfield enforcer only joined the Galaxy in the summer and still has more than a year left on his 18-month contract. But he has made it clear he hopes to return to Liverpool one day in some capacity and the Mirror report claims Galaxy chiefs “believe there may be interest”.

Gerrard may feel more comfortable seeing out the remainder of his Galaxy contract, especially with the team chasing a second successive MLS Cup title, before returning to Anfield in January 2017.

Would Steven Gerrard be a good addition to the Liverpool backroom under Jurgen Klopp?

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, July 17 – 23:00 ET (04:00 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 11/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy face the San Jose Earthquakes in the third Californian Clasico in less than three weeks at StubHub Center on Friday night in a game that should see Steven Gerrard make his MLS debut.

All eyes will be on Gerrard as he plays his first game in Major League Soccer but the former Liverpool captain will be focused on trying to seal all three points to move LA into top spot in the Western Conference for at least a few hours.

A Galaxy win would see them move onto 34 points, just one behind Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United so this is a crucial game for last year’s MLS Cup winners.

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The fact that it’s against their fiercest rivals in MLS will only intensify pressure and the home crowd will be desperate for revenge following their 3-1 defeat to San Jose in the reverse league fixture at the end of June.

LA did beat San Jose 1-0 in the US Open Cup a few days after that defeat but it’s results in MLS that mean most to fans. The loss to San Jose was their only league defeat in their last five and they’ve won their last three at home, scoring 14 and conceding just one.

The Earthquakes will have a tough task winning at StubHub Center as they haven’t done so since 2012 and come into the game off back-to-back losses to Portland and Houston without scoring a goal.

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Steven Gerrard has played 90 minutes over two games so far for the Galaxy but Friday night will see him make his MLS debut in front of his own fans and it’s tough to see San Jose spoiling the party.

Team News

Brian Perk is out for the season but is LA’s only injury concern heading into this one. But Jaime Penedo, Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes and Alan Gordon are all away at the Gold Cup as is new signing Giovani Dos Santos so none of those will feature here.

San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear is still without Innocent Emeghara and Steven Lenhart. More worryingly, Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato, who both scored in the 3-1 win over the Galaxy last month, are away at the Gold Cup with the USA and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored at least four goals in their last three home matches in MLS, conceding just once.

Key Player: Steven Gerrard – Impossible to overlook the midfield enforcer as he will be desperate to start his MLS career with a victory against the Galaxy’s fierce rivals.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Both sides missing players but the Galaxy to get revenge for last month’s loss with a win by the same scoreline. Expect Gerrard to be involved with plenty of positive play going forward.

Former Spurs attackers reunited in MLS as LA Galaxy secure Giovani deal

LA Galaxy’s capture of Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos is a huge one for the club and few seemed more excited about the deal than Robbie Keane.

The former Spurs attackers will link up once again for the first time in five years and Keane is tipping Giovani to go on a “become a superstar” in Major League Soccer.

“I’m very excited to have him here,” Keane said on Wednesday. “We had a good relationship when he came to Tottenham. He came to Tottenham as a young kid who couldn’t’ speak English so I made sure that he was looked after.

“I looked after him when he came over, and we’d stayed in contact since. He’s here to win. He wants to make sure that he takes the Galaxy to the next level.”

Dos Santos joins the Galaxy from Spanish side Villarreal in a deal worth around $34 million (or £21 million). He won’t link up with his new teammates until early August after Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign but Keane is buzzing to play alongside the tricky playmaker once more.

“I think that he’s going to be a superstar in this league,” the Irishman added. “There’s no question about it. He has the right mentality, he has the flair, and I’m sure that Galaxy fans are going to be excited to see him play.”

As well as linking up with Keane in LA, Giovani will be able to play alongside fellow new arrival Steven Gerrard in what is looking like the strongest Designated Player trio in MLS.

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“It’s certainly looking like exciting times for the Galaxy,” Keane finalised. “I think that everyone is looking forward to getting the group on the field and developing chemistry.”

Gerrard has yet to make his MLS debut but is expected to do so in Friday night’s contest against the San Jose Earthquakes, while Dos Santos’s debut could come at home to the Seattle Sounders on August 9.

Have LA Galaxy got the best trio of Designated Players in MLS?

PHOTOS: Steven Gerrard makes LA Galaxy debut in win over Club America

Steven Gerrard made his LA Galaxy debut in the club’s International Champions Cup game against Club America on Saturday night, playing 45 minutes with his new teammates in front of 27,924 fans at StubHub Center.

The former Liverpool midfielder helped the Galaxy to a 2-1 win on the night, despite going behind early on, and he was delighted to have got his first piece of action under his belt.

“It was a great feeling,” Gerrard said after the game. “It was a difficult game and I thought [Club América] were very good. I thought after 15 or 20 minutes that the team settled really well, we played some good football and we got our deserved equalizer.

“For me personally, it was good to get 45 minutes under my belt and I’ll keep getting better and better and the more I get used to my teammates, I’ll improve.”

WATCH – Highlights of Steven Gerrard’s first performance in an LA Galaxy shirt:

His manager, Bruce Arena, was equally pleased to see the English hero make his debut but he refused to confirm whether or not Gerrard will play against Real Salt Lake in their US Open Cup quarterfinal clash on Tuesday.

“I think Steven played well, we are going to see how he feels tomorrow and Monday before we make a decision moving forward for Open Cup,” Arena said.

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“His passing was very good, his partnership with Juninho was good, he won some tackles, helped create some chances, he could have had a goal, the ‘keeper made a great save on him. For his first time out it was very encouraging, he looked like he belonged, his leadership was really good, and I thought he was solid.”

If Gerrard doesn’t play on Tuesday night, he will expect to make his MLS debut against fierce rivals San Jose Earthquakes next Friday.

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Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy arrival from Liverpool announced

Steven Gerrard will be unveiled in front of the LA Galaxy supporters for the first time on Independence Day next weekend.

The Liverpool legend will enter the field at halftime during Saturday’s game with Toronto FC at StubHub Center as Galaxy fans will be able to cheer their new man’s name for the first time since his signing was announced in January.

The 35-year-old will take part in his first training session with his new teammates on Tuesday, July 7 and will be eligible to play for the reining champions when the MLS transfer window opens on July 8.

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That should see Gerrard play his first game in Major League Soccer on July 17 in the home game against Western rivals San Jose Earthquakes in the Californian Clasico – the reverse fixture of the game LA lost 3-1 on Saturday night.

Gerrard and his wife Alex Curran were greeted by paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday as the former Reds captain’s new life stateside is about to get underway.

Will Steven Gerrard be a hero at LA Galaxy?

Liverpool closing in on £18m-rated Arsenal target as Gerrard replacement

Liverpool have reportedly made an offer for Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic as they look to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard as he leaves for MLS side LA Galaxy, according to the Express.

The 21-year-old has also attracted interest from Arsenal and Liverpool initially made an offer of £7.5m which was rejected by the Italian club.

But now Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that Liverpool have returned with a new offer of £12.9m for the Croatian youngster.

Despite the improved offer, it’s expected that Inter are likely to turn it down as they are hoping to hold out for a figure closer to the £18m mark for one of their key players.

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With Liverpool stepping up their interest, it could force Arsenal into action if they are to further pursue the possibility of bringing Kovacic to the club.

Kovacic is a versatile midfielder capable of playing numerous roles whether it be as an attacking midfielder, box-to-box player or in the holding role.

The Croatian international made 34 appearances, scored five goals and made two assists for Inter in Serie A this season.

Would Mateo Kovacic be an ideal replacement for Steven Gerrard?

Steven Gerrard writes emotional farewell letter to fans ahead of LA Galaxy move

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has delivered one final message to the fans before he jets off for the USA in July to join up with his LA Galaxy teammates and prepares for life in MLS.

“Saying goodbye hasn’t been easy. Liverpool Football Club has been such a massive part of my life since I was eight years old and I know how much I’m going to miss it,” said Gerrard in an open letter.

“It’s been an emotional time for my family and I with my final game at Anfield against Crystal Palace and then my last appearance away to Stoke City. But I’ve been blown away by the send-off I’ve been given by the supporters and I’d like to thank every one of you.

“It’s been very humbling and it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this football club for so long.”

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The 34-year-old points to the dramatic Champions League final turnaround against AC Milan in 2005 as the highlight of his time at Anfield and is thankful for the support the fans have given him.

“Of course the pinnacle of my career arrived in Istanbul 10 years ago. That was the best night of my life. When I lifted the European Cup, there was no prouder man on the planet.”

“It meant so much to me to deliver that trophy for you. The supporters played such a big part in helping to inspire that famous comeback against AC Milan. I’ll never forget how they helped to lift our chins off the floor after that nightmare first half.”

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The ex-England skipper hasn’t bemoaned the extra responsibility that came with being the main man at such a big club but says it was something he enjoyed.

“People have often asked me about the pressure on my shoulders to deliver for Liverpool but I’ve never seen that as a burden. There’s been huge responsibility on me but I’ve always loved and embraced that. It’s been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long.”

Gerrard rounded off his goodbye with a short and simple message that most Liverpool fans would agree is a fair reflection on the efforts he’s put in for the club.

“I’ve always given my best and tried to lead by example.”

Will Liverpool cope with life after Steven Gerrard? And will he enjoy his MLS experience with LA Galaxy?

Young Liverpool star says he can replace LA Galaxy-bound Gerrard

Liverpool will desperately need to replace outgoing midfield legend Steven Gerrard this summer as he heads over to Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy and they might not have to look far.

Emre Can believes he could be the man to replace Gerrard in the Liverpool midfield next season after spending his first season in England playing in defence.

The 21-year-old German powerhouse has only made five of his 27 league appearances in midfield this term and has told the Anfield Wrap podcast that he hopes to play further forward next season.

“[Rodgers] talks all the time with me. He sees me as a midfield player and I hope next year to be playing in midfield.

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“Of course he talks with me every day and says what I can do better. He helps my game. He wants to play football and that’s what I want. That’s why I came to Liverpool.

“I want to play in midfield and I can take the responsibility [of replacing Gerrard].”

Gerrard scored in his final game for the club on Sunday in that shock 6-1 defeat at Stoke, in a game Emre Can will want to forget after being blamed for at least three of the Potters’ goals before being subbed at halftime.

Can Emre Can replace Steven Gerrard at Liverpool next season?