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Football-Gerrard gears up for Liverpool’s emotional return to Villa

Premier League - Aston Villa v Leicester City
FILE PHOTO: Football Football – English Premier League – Aston Villa v Leicester City – Villa Park, Birmingham, England – December 5, 2021 Aston Villa coaches Steven Gerrard and Ashley Young celebrate after the game Action images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

December 9, 2021

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – While Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard may object that his mind is fully focused on his side beating Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday, there’s no denying it. the emotions that his return to Anfield will stir.

A Liverpudlian who joined the youth team at the age of nine, Gerrard made 504 appearances for the club, most famously captaining them to an incredible comeback in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan .

He played his last game for Liverpool at Anfield in 2015 and spent time as a youth team coach in the academy before taking up a managerial job at Scottish club Rangers.

Gerrard’s success in winning the Scottish Premiership last season gives him a chance to take over at Villa after Dean Smith was sacked last month.

The 41-year-old has made a quick impact at the Midlands club, winning three of the opening four games he has led, with the only loss going to league leaders Manchester City.

It wouldn’t be surprising if, when the Juergen Klopp era ended, Gerrard returned to managing Liverpool but he is smart enough to know that there is little benefit now from such talks.

“I just want to go there and try to win and take what I can. For us, we don’t compete with Liverpool, considering the level of both of us at the moment, but for sure we will go there and give everything we have,” he said. .

There will certainly be a warm welcome from fans at The Kop and kind words from Klopp but the German has plenty more to focus on as the three-horse race for the title enters the Christmas season. important birth.

Liverpool are second in the table, one point behind Pep Guardiola’s Man City and one point above European champions Chelsea.

City host Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and need no reminder of the threat they face having lost to Wolves twice in 2019 – including a 0-2 defeat at home when Adama Traore scored twice.

Chelsea, which lost their top spot with defeat to West Ham last week, cannot afford another slip at home to struggling Leeds United.

Ralf Rangnick has enjoyed a positive start as Manchester United’s caretaker manager and his first away game sees him face bottom of the table Norwich City, who have been showing signs of life since when Smith took over from German Daniel Farke.

(Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Huynh Nguyen

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