PREMIER - Liverpool boss Klopp: "It's fantastic to face Stevie Gerrard"
Ahead of upcoming Premier League match against Aston Villa, now trained by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, Reds boss, Jurgen Klopp, stated:
“There will be no person inside this stadium today more keen to keep the focus entirely on the match itself than Steven. This is a tough column to write in many respects, because of course it is important to acknowledge what a significant moment it is having him return today but at the same time not lose sight of the fact that for 90 minutes we are opponents.
It’s fantastic news for the Premier League to have Steven Gerrard in our competition as a manager. Typical of him, he has done everything properly on his path to such a terrific club like Villa. I remember the discussion we had when it was very early in his coaching career and we talked about the most suitable role at LFC for that to begin. Stevie chose a tough route. He didn’t want shortcuts. Speak to our Academy staff and they’ll tell you he was a guy who didn’t want his previous status within the club to count for anything when he started.
He wanted to be judged on the work he did as a coach and U18s manager. I can’t begin to tell you how much respect I had for him in how he went about that. And then, his first senior job was far from being a holiday. The expectation and history of a great club like Rangers could have been difficult for a lesser leader, but he made them better each season and eventually he made them champions.
Steven is the professional he is and has had the career he has had, until now, because he has always had focus on one thing: winning! He doesn’t come here today for any sentiment or nostalgia. He comes to win. He comes to beat us. This is how it should be and we must be ready.
Of course, there will be an opportunity for our supporters to show love, respect and affection for a person who is rightly considered one of the all-time greats to ever wear a Liverpool shirt. But that is completely separate to the game. Steven is a serious guy. His commitment to Aston Villa today is absolute. They will be an extremely dangerous opponent who are full of confidence and in good form and we have to be ready".