‘You’re probably watching the best Liverpool team there has been’: Reds legend Steven Gerrard says Jurgen Klopp’s side are Anfield’s best EVER because of their ‘speed, mentality and intensity’… as his Aston Villa side look to derail title bid
- Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard is a huge admirer of his former club’s current crop
- Gerrard acknowledges Liverpool have assembled world-class squads in the past
- The ex-Reds Champions League hero says football is more demanding than ever
- Aston Villa boss Gerrard’s team host Liverpool in the Premier League on Tuesday
Steven Gerrard believes the current Liverpool team is the best he has ever watched as he tries to put a huge dent in his former club’s Quadruple ambitions.
After drawing at home to Tottenham, Liverpool can ill afford to drop more points against Gerrard’s Villa on Tuesday. Manchester City are three points clear of the Reds with only three games left.
Gerrard remains a Liverpool supporter and wants them to pip City but that will not prevent him trying to thwart their bid to win a clean sweep of trophies, as Villa attempt to finish in the top 10 for the first time since 2011. The 42-year-old could not hide his admiration for the thrilling football produced by Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Steven Gerrard (front, left) was part of the Champions League-winning 2005 Liverpool squad
The Aston Villa manager believes the current Liverpool side is the best the club has ever had
‘Because of the way the game has changed – it’s gone quicker, it’s gone faster – I think you’re probably watching the best Liverpool team there has been,’ said Gerrard. ‘That’s due to the speed, mentality and intensity of this current group.
‘But I say that without disrespecting previous Liverpool teams because I grew up watching them. The European Cup winners, serial league title winners – I grew up on all of that. I’m well aware they’ve previously had world-class players, managers and teams.’
Although he never lifted a league title as a player, Gerrard captained Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 – one of nine major trophies he won during his time at Anfield.
This is Gerrard’s first season as a Premier League manager and despite some bumps in the road, it has largely been positive.
Reds chief Jurgen Klopp hopes to be all smiles after his side visit Villa in the Premier League
When he succeeded Dean Smith in November, the club were two points above the relegation zone. With four games left, Villa are comfortable in 11th, only four points behind ninth-placed Brighton with two games in hand.
The first of those is against Liverpool at Villa Park, where Klopp’s team were beaten 7-2 on their last league visit in October 2020. There is little chance of a repeat yet Gerrard wants his team to do more than simply absorb pressure.
‘We’ve got to make sure we’re brave enough and show enough quality to hurt Liverpool,’ insisted Gerrard. ‘I’m never going to set a team up to just suffer for 90 minutes, but I don’t want that to be gung-ho or careless. It has to be calculated.
‘At times we’ll have to suffer but if we do that together and get through those situations, we believe with the form we’re in, we’ll have some interesting moments in the game.
Liverpool are three points shy of league leaders Manchester City after a draw at home to Spurs
‘That’s what Tottenham did. They were organised, they were patient. And when their moments came they did cause Liverpool some problems.’
This will also be Philippe Coutinho’s first appearance against Liverpool since his return to the Premier League, on loan from Barcelona in January.
The Brazilian left Anfield to move to Spain in a £142million deal in January 2018 but failed to recapture his best form at the Nou Camp. Villa have yet to decide whether to pay the £33million required to make the deal permanent at the end of the campaign.
Coutinho was left out of the starting XI for last weekend’s 3-1 win at Burnley. ‘I have some decisions to make,’ Gerrard added.
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