Steven Gerrard lifts the lid on Jurgen Klopp’s pep talk before he opened the door for the Liverpool legend to start his career in management… but the Aston Villa boss insists he does NOT have a plan to replace him at Anfield
- Steven Gerrard sought Jurgen Klopp’s advice before starting as a manager
- The Reds boss advised him to start at the beginning at coached at Under 18 level
- Gerrard progressed to Rangers and is now the manager at Aston Villa
Steven Gerrard has opened up on the fascinating conversations he had with Jurgen Klopp before beginning his management career by taking charge of the Liverpool Under 18s.
Gerrard spent 18 months at Liverpool’s academy before taking over at Scottish giants Rangers, where he won the Scottish Premiership last season and snapped rivals Celtic’s hopes of an unprecedented 10-in-a-row.
Now at Aston Villa, Gerrard has reflected on his management path in a discussion with former England team-mate Gary Neville on his YouTube channel The Overlap.
Steven Gerrard has opened up to Gary Neville about his pathway into management
Gerrard revealed the advice Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave him about being a coach
‘I was open with Jurgen and Jurgen was open with me,’ Gerrard said of his return to Liverpool after retiring. ‘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 said he had no interference from Klopp or pressure to make sure the stream of players from the academy to the first team was continuing under his watch.
‘He left me to it, I could have picked any system,’ Gerrard said. ‘It was more the 23s (that would replicate the first team) – he wanted to control the 23s so when they went off to train they knew exactly what it was.
‘For me and him wanting to help and support me, he said “blank canvas and away you go – if you want to come and see me, phone me, ask me any questions I’ll be there for you but this is important that it’s got to be you. How do you want the next years to look? What do you believe in?”
Gerrard spent 18 months at Liverpool’s academy as manager of the Under 18 team
He left for Rangers, where he won the Scottish Premiership with the Ibrox club last season
Now, Gerrard is the manager of Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Aston Villa
Neville put it to Gerrard that Klopp made a brave call bringing such a big legend back to Anfield and suggested he could have felt threatened by having someone with such a powerful reputation in the background.
‘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,’ Gerrard replied. ‘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.’
Gerrard has long been linked with succeeding Klopp as manager at Liverpool but insisted his sole focus is on Aston Villa.
‘I haven’t got a plan beyond here,’ he said. ‘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.’