Jurgen Klopp believes it is practically inevitable that Steven Gerrard, who is set to make his return to Anfield as Aston Villa manager on Saturday (Watch live, 10am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com), will manage Liverpool one day.
Klopp has been publicly adamant that he won’t be at Liverpool forever, which immediately leads to speculation over who might replace him. Given that timeline (Steven Gerrard is 41 years old, three and a half years into his managerial career), the legendary midfielder’s is the first name out of everyone’s mouth — quotes from the Guardian:
“Yes, absolutely. The only thing is when is the right moment for that. I think it will definitely happen and that is good for everybody.”
“Wonderful story — I can imagine how his feelings are. Stevie is already an experienced coach and knows how to approach games, but probably has no idea how to approach it when he steps in the stadium and dugout.
“It’s not easy for a world-class player to become an outstanding manager, but it’s possible and it looks like Stevie has all the skills you need. I’m really happy for him.”
As for Steven Gerrard, he’s (predictably) saying all the right things — downplaying the occasion while still acknowledging that Liverpool is a special club to him, and Anfield a special place — so you’ll have to read between the lines and decide for yourself if he has long-term eyes on the job.
“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.
“Everyone in that stadium will know me well enough to know what I’m about and what I’m going to Anfield for. I’m going back to a club where I spent many years, and it brings a smile to my face for a couple of reasons.
“One, I’ve 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. It was the team I supported growing up and I will always support that team.
“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 and a good manager and try to win the game. That’s my only focus.”