We all knew the questions and quotes would be coming from both camps today ahead of Steven Gerrard’s long awaited Anfield return.
The Aston Villa boss was unsurprisingly asked a host of questions about the return to his old stomping ground and this is everything he had to say in response, courtesy of Aston Villa’s club website.
On returning to Liverpool, our former captain said: “I think I’ve certainly stuck to that promise, from a playing point of view [not lining up to play against Liverpool].
“For me, I really respect and understand all the noise around the game for obvious reasons because I’m going back to a club where I spent many years. So it brings a smile to my face for a couple of reasons.
“One, because I’ve obviously got a good relationship with a lot of people at the club, I had a fantastic time there, a really good journey, I’m a local boy, the team I supported growing up and I always will support that team, of course.
“But at the same time, it brings a smile to my face because I’ve got the opportunity to go there and compete against a good team, a good manager, with the opportunity to try and win the game. And that’s my only main focus.
“I think the noise is for other people to get excited about. For me, it’s about preparing the team in the best way I can to try and get a positive result for Aston Villa, and that’s the way I will be.
“Everyone in that stadium will know me well enough to know what I’m about and what I’m going to Anfield for.”
The 41-year-old was then asked about Jurgen Klopp, to which he replied: “I played for Jurgen Klopp in Australia in an exhibition match, in 2013, and he addressed the players; he actually felt like my manager for 24 hours. It was a fantastic experience.
“It doesn’t need me to sit here and talk about Jurgen Klopp, I think the world know what a fantastic coach he is.
“He’s always been fantastic with me, very supportive, given me a lot of top advice in terms of the transition from being a player to a coach.
“He obviously gave me an opportunity to go and coach Liverpool’s youth team, U19s team, which I’ll be forever grateful for.
“But, at the end of the day, he knows and I know, once that whistle goes at the weekend, I’m going to try and compete in the best way I can and the team can to try and get a result and one over on him.
“That’s the way I am, that’s what’s inside me and that’s the way I’ll approach it.”
A lot to say and a lot to take from a truly legendary figure within our club, on what will be a highly emotive game for all involved.
He will be glad that the questions are over for now and attention can turn to the game, as can ours.
Once the welcome back is done, fingers crossed for a big victory and three more points.