Gerard Houllier expects Steven Gerrard to become a brilliant manager, once his playing days come to an end. The Liverpool captain joins LA Galaxy on an 18-month deal this summer, ahead of his likely retirement.
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The 34-year-old, who has played over 700 games for the Reds, will be sorely missed at Anfield, where he will make his penultimate Liverpool appearance this weekend. Having scored the winner against QPR and the equaliser in the draw at Chelsea already this month, the Kop will be dreaming of another golden Gerrard moment to treasure.
Houllier managed Gerrard during his early years at Liverpool, handing him his professional debut in 1998 and making him club captain in 2003. The pair won six major honours together, including the treble in 2001.
The 67-year-old went on to coach Lyon and Aston Villa before being effectively forced into retirement in 2011 after falling ill. He won 160 of his 307 matches in charge of the Reds before leaving in the summer of 2004.
Speaking about Gerrard this week, in quotes taken by BBC Sport, he said: “He will make a great manager because he has always put the team first.
“He has got everything it takes to think about the team, the club and the development of others. He is a natural born leader, a very inspirational leader. He is somebody you want to follow.”
“The fans will miss him. He is a leader and has always done that. He will be as much in the heart of the Galaxy fans as Beckham was,” he said. “Stevie was a world-class player and makes your team win.
“The MLS is very lucky to get him. He will be extremely successful there. He will come back to Liverpool in some capacity, I’m sure he will. Maybe not in the coming years but sooner or later he will come back.”
Asked why he thought Gerrard had chosen to leave Liverpool, Houllier added: “I don’t think he wanted to show the fans his decline. I personally think he could play in a different role, a bit like Andrea Pirlo, in front of the defence like an anchorman. Maybe he wanted to have a new challenge and that’s typical of Stevie.”