Jurgen Klopp is absolutely sure that Steven Gerrard will one day be Liverpool manager and doesn’t think it will depend on whether the former Reds captain is a ‘proven winner’ in the Premier League.
Aston Villa boss Gerrard returns to his childhood club and spiritual home of Anfield on Saturday for what is sure to be an emotional occasion for him and the Liverpool fans.
Ever since the 41-year-old became a manager, starting with a season in charge of the Reds’ Under-18s before moving on to Rangers where he won the title, he has been touted as a long-term option to become Liverpool manager.
Klopp has no doubt that will happen and doesn’t think it will be up to him to win things with Villa.
âOh yeah. I absolutely think so,â Klopp said when asked if Gerrard would ever take over, but not necessarily directly from him.
âHe (Gerrard) is doing very well but is very young from a manager’s point of view.
âWhen is the right time to take on the managerial position? We saw it with Frank (Lampard) at Chelsea.
âBut yeah, I think it will definitely happen – and good for everyone.
“I don’t know what you have to do before you become manager of Liverpool. I know people say you have to win things, but I’m not sure.
âIt’s more important that you win things when you’re here, you don’t have to win things in the past with all that ‘proven winner’ garbage.
âYou can win things in the past and never win again. Everything he’s done so far looks good and it’s headed in the right direction – but what does that mean?
âI don’t see a scenario where I will be involved in this decision (to name him) but who knows what the future holds. We will see.”
Saturday will be a big occasion as Gerrard is sure to be welcomed by adoring fans who still chant his name even though he left the club as a player in 2015.
But while Gerrard insists he can rule out outside noise, Klopp, who has comeback experience to manage against his former clubs, isn’t so sure.
âI can imagine what his feelings are like. “No feelings, blah, blah, blah,” “the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz boss said.
âAlready Stevie is an experienced coach and manager and knows exactly how to approach games, but he probably has no idea how he will feel when he enters the stadium and comes out of the dugout.
“I had it the same way the first time I went back to Mainz and the first time I went back with Liverpool to Dortmund.
âIt’s weird, you like pretty much everyone you meet when you walk into the stadium and you normally don’t. When you go somewhere it’s easier to be very competitive.
âStevie is friends with 99.9% of the people working in Liverpool and the 0.1% never met him because they came after him.
âStevie might say ‘no feeling’ and that’s true, but from a club’s point of view there is a feeling, we love Steven but that doesn’t mean anything around this game. We’re also all professionals and we’ll go with everything we’ve got.
âHe will come here and want to win the football game and after I shake his hand we will be going full blast.
âI remember when we scored for Dortmund in Mainz I forgot everything about my history in Mainz and celebrated like hell.
“He’s allowed to do it too, I just hope he doesn’t have any reason for it.”
Klopp is in doubt over the injury of Diogo Jota, who took a hit after last week’s win against Wolves, but Divock Origi – the match winner in their last two matches – will be fit after missing the Thursday workout for extra recovery.
However, fifth-choice center-back Nat Phillips, who made his first start of the season against AC Milan at San Siro on Tuesday, is set to miss several weeks after breaking his cheekbone in that game.