Jurgen Klopp faced the media ahead of Steven Gerrard’s Anfield return and was unsurprisingly asked about the club legend for most of his press conference.
Our boss was full of praise for the former captain and his journey from Under 18 boss to Aston Villa manager and advised on how it will feel for him to return to his former club.
Speaking about his transition from youth team to Premier League boss, the German said: “Wonderful story, to be honest, a wonderful story. I can imagine a little bit how he’s feeling.
READ MORE: Everything Steven Gerrard had to say about Jurgen Klopp and his return to Anfield in his Aston Villa press conference
“I know he said already, ‘No sentiments’ and all these kind of things and Stevie is meanwhile already an experienced coach, manager. He is doing the job already for a while and he knows exactly how to approach games, but he has probably no idea how it will feel when he steps into the stadium or out of the dugout or whatever.
“I had that in a similar way; I cannot really compare it but when I came for the first time back to Mainz or I came first and last time back with Liverpool to Dortmund. It’s strange, it’s strange.
“You like or love pretty much all the people you meet when you arrive in the stadium and that’s pretty much not often the case when you go somewhere – it’s easy to be very competitive usually. But I could handle it, Stevie will handle it.
“I think Stevie is friends with 99.9 per cent of the people working for Liverpool FC and the 0.1 per cent never met him because they arrived after him. I never heard a negative word about Steven Gerrard since I am here. I met him, he’s a great guy and he will come here and want to win the football game.
“Before, nice handshake, after nice handshake, and in between they will go full throttle and he will go full throttle. I remember when we scored with Dortmund at Mainz, I forgot everything about my story at Mainz, I was celebrating like a crazy devil!
“So he is allowed to do that as well, I just hope he has no reason for it”.
The former Dortmund and Mainz manager was then asked whether any advice he’s provided our former No.8 will benefit him tomorrow, to which he replied: “Yeah, it can with football. ‘Advice’? It was long ago, really long ago. We spoke a couple of times of course, but since he is at Rangers and especially since he is at Villa we had some messages, sending each other.
“But that’s it, pretty much. I am not silly, not because I wouldn’t give him advice but there’s no need for it, obviously. I watched now Aston Villa often enough since he is there: quite an impact, to be honest.
“Similar style to Rangers, but obviously with different players, really good players. It feels like everybody plays in exactly the position he is made for and it looks good, honestly. It will be a tough challenge but that’s how Premier League football is.
“There is no difference to other games and we try to figure out how we can cause them more problems than they had so far in the games they played – and hopefully we can do that”.
Then he discussed the reception the ex-Rangers gaffer could expect: “Stevie might say there are no sentiments and that’s right but from our point of view, from the club’s point of view, there is sentiment.
“We love Stevie but that doesn’t mean anything around this game. We are all professionals as well and we will go with all we have and we will need Anfield.
“Stevie can get the best reception in the world because he deserves it, before the game, after the game they can sing songs and all these kind of things but in the 95 minutes we need everybody behind us and I know our people good enough, that’s what they like as well.
Our boss then discussed the inevitability of the Huyton-born manager’s inevitability of taking the Anfield hot seat: “Oh, yeah. Yes, I think, absolutely I think. The only problem is when is the right moment for that? That’s not only about Stevie but we saw that with Frank [Lampard], for example, at Chelsea – a similar story.
“I think that Stevie is doing really well in the moment because he is very young still from a manager’s point of view, so it’s just when is the right moment to take the job. Not that he is not able to do it, but how long you want to do it.
So, is this the last job you do, is it the second job you do, the third job you do, whatever. That’s questions I cannot answer, but yes I think it will definitely happen and good for everybody”.
Finally, whether the captain of the Istanbul comeback needs to prove himself more before he can take Klopp’s job, he said: “I’m not the right person to answer that. It’s not [up to] me to make these kind of decisions.
“I don’t know what you have to do before you become a Liverpool manager. I know people say you have to win things, I am not sure about that.
“I think it’s more important that you win things when you are here: you don’t have to win things in the past and be a ‘proven winner’ and all this kind of rubbish.
“You can win things in the past but never win something again, so for these kind of things you have to be the right manager and for each manager in the world it is really important that the club is in a stable moment.
“So even when they are from a sports point of view probably not in the best moment, because that is most of the time the reason why a manager gets the sack and another one is coming in, but if the rest is stable then you have a good chance to improve things and that’s what you have to do.
“Everything what Stevie did so far looks good, like it’s going in absolutely the right direction. But what does that mean? I will not, I can’t see a scenario where I will be involved in that decision, to be honest.
“But who knows what the future brings – and we will see”.
We all hope the man currently in the role is there for a very long time, if there comes a day when he leaves and the man stood in the opposite dug out is ready and available – then it will be his to turn down.
Until then, we can enjoy the sentiment that surrounds tomorrow, before and after the game.
Other than that, there’s three points to win and we need to go and get them!
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