Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has lifted the lid on his relationship with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Following a spell at LA Galaxy, Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football in 2016.
At the start of 2017, the Liverpool legend returned to the club to take charge of their U18s side. He also had a spell as the boss of their U19 side before he took over at Rangers in 2018.
Gerrard won the Scottish Premiership with Rangers in 2020/21. He returned to the Premier League earlier this season as he replaced Dean Smith at Aston Villa.
He has won eight of his 21 games in charge of the Villans so far. His side currently sit 15th in the table.
Klopp was Liverpool’s manager when Gerrard made his return in 2017. The Englishman has discussed his relationship with the respected manager:
“I was open with Jurgen and Jurgen was open with me,” Gerrard told Gary Neville on The Overlap.
“I said to him ‘go on then, what do you see from ex-players that have been in the game?’
“He said ‘I see so many who have been good players or have had strong careers and they automatically think they can go into the coaching or the management side of it and be a success’. He said for me, the key is going back to the beginning, taking your team at a level where there is no cameras and making tons of mistakes.
“He said to me ‘I make tons of mistakes every day’ – I said ‘it doesn’t look like it’! He said ‘take the U18 team here, we’ll shuffle the staff about and no one will lose their job. Don’t take the 23s because I give you players, I take players, I have them training at the time that I do and I run it around what I need’. Take your own team, play your own way, try things, make mistakes, it doesn’t matter.
“It did matter to me, I wanted to win all the games. But I think that 18 months at the academy really helped me and gave me the confidence that I could take a job like Rangers.”
Gerrard was also insistent that Klopp did not feel threatened by his presence at the club:
“He’s so comfortable in himself, so much belief and charisma in himself, what he’s done before, the character, the man I don’t think he’s seen it as a threat. I think previous managers might have.
“But I always got a feeling he was open arms, excited to have me in. I felt uncomfortable going back to Melwood. I’d been to America and when you’ve been away for a certain amount of time you feel like you don’t belong there, although you do.
“Every time I’ve seen Jurgen Klopp whether it be anywhere, I see him walking his dog, and it’s open arms and it’s real. Liverpool fans should enjoy Jurgen Klopp, I think he’s one in a million, he’s that good.
“I haven’t got a plan beyond here. My plan is make Aston Villa, making the owners proud. I don’t think there is any point in having a plan because in this game you don’t know how long a plan is going to last.”
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