Steven Gerrard has described claims Aston Villa will be a ‘stepping stone’ for him as “very unfair,” calling for a “lifetime deal” for Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.
Thursday saw Gerrard take his first press conference as Villa boss, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Brighton at Villa Park.
It will be a big moment for the 41-year-old, having last played in the Premier League in 2015, in his final game with Liverpool after 26 years on the books.
There is no hiding Gerrard’s desire to eventually manage the Reds, but the situation with Klopp – a legendary manager and the undisputed best man for the job at Anfield – makes it complicated for the former No. 8.
Since taking his new job, there have been claims Villa will be a ‘stepping stone’ for Gerrard to prove he is ready to succeed Klopp in 2024.
But speaking to reporters, he criticised those as “very unfair.”
“You’ll never hear me saying it’s a stepping stone. For me, I’m really honoured and proud to be in this position,” he explained.
“As I say, I’m all in. I’ll give this job everything that it needs for it to be a success. I’ll be 100 percent committed and more so, and my staff.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong in football to have dreams and aspirations, but as I say, Liverpool have got a world-class coach, that they’re very happy with.
“If he was to sign a lifetime deal right now, I would be very happy for them and him.”
It was inevitable, but Gerrard appeared to see repeated questions about Liverpool as disrespectful, insisting his “focus and commitment” is on the Villa job.
“In terms of Liverpool, again, I don’t think this press conference should be about any other club but Aston Villa,” he explained.
“I think we have to show respect to our supporters.
“I think everyone around the world knows what Liverpool means to me, but the focus and my commitment is very much on Aston Villa.
“I said last week in a one-to-one that I’m all in, and I can promise our supporters that’s the case.”
Villa will travel to Anfield on December 11, and Gerrard has revealed that he has bumped into Klopp on a number of occasions around Formby.
The German has told him he expects a “big hug” on the touchline at Anfield that day.