Gerrard not bothered if he’s not ‘most popular’ on Anfield return

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is not bothered if he leaves Anfield not too popular upon his return to Liverpool on Saturday.

Gerrard will return to his former side for the first time as a manager on Saturday afternoon as he takes his in-form Villa side to take on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.

Gerrard, who took over at Villa Park last month, spent over 20 years with the Merseyside club and is one of the most influential figures in the club’s history.

There has been a lot of talk on Gerrard’s return to Liverpool but the 41-year-old has no time for sentiment, something that has been echoed by his former-teammate Jordan Henderson.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, the Villa boss said: “I really respect and understand all the noise around the game for obvious reasons.

“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.

“For everyone else, it’s a massive occasion. For me, it’s three points, it’s a big game of football and it’s 90 minutes that we need to focus on.

“If I’m on the bus, heading back down the M6 towards Birmingham and I’m not the most popular at Anfield, so be it.

“I certainly won’t make it about me. If other people do I can’t control that. It’s about us going there full of confidence and belief that we can go and take something from the game.”

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The former-Liverpool captain also revealed how his side will have to play to earn a result, urging his side to be aggressive.

“We’re at our best when we play with controlled aggression and we’re on the front foot.

“At this level, if you’re passive in any area of the pitch, you can be punished quickly.

“We’re a good team, we’ve got top players, we’re a threat and we want to make it as difficult as we can for Liverpool.”

Amid a number of positive Covid results around the Premier League, Gerrard admitted he has spoken to Villa chief executive Christian Purlsow on the situation.

“I had a conversation last night with Christian Purslow. He’s going to come down on Monday and address the players in more detail.

“But we have been told and warned that things are changing all the time. Just to be careful and look after ourselves.”

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