Steven Gerrard speaks out over Liverpool standing ovation and aims dig at Man United
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has provided his take on the support afforded to him by the Liverpool faithful in attendance at Anfield earlier today.
The name of English tactician Gerrard took its place front and centre in the headlines back on the red half of Merseyside on Saturday afternoon.
This came after the legendary Liverpool midfielder returned to Anfield for the first time as a manager, to oversee new side Aston Villa’s Premier League meeting with the high-flying Reds.
Unfortunately for Gerrard, upon the final whistle sounding, though, the Claret and Blue were ultimately put to the sword by a goal to nil.
Mohamed Salah unsurprisingly proved the difference-maker on the day, dusting himself down after being felled in the Villa box to slot confidently beyond the otherwise faultless Emi Martinez.
15 – Mohamed Salah has scored each of his last 15 Premier League penalties, just the second player to score as many consecutively in the competition, after Matthew Le Tissier (23 in a row between January 1994 and April 2000). Guarantee.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
In turn, on the back of the action coming to a close at Anfield, it came as little surprise when Steven Gerrard was drawn on the warm welcome afforded to him by the supporters of his former club.
The ex-English international was met with a standing ovation upon making his way onto the touchline pre-match, in a classy tribute on the part of the Liverpool faithful.
And Gerrard went on to admit that, amid an emotional scene on Merseyside, he found it difficult to balance out his respect to both his current and former employers:
Gerrard: “For me, it was trying to control that, trying to control the outside noise and be respectful to Aston Villa. I respect the ovation I got and the relationship with the Liverpool fans. But the priority here was obviously Aston Villa.”
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 11, 2021
The noteworthy takeaways from Gerrard’s post-match media duties, however, did not end there.
In addition, the Aston Villa boss made use of the opportunity to aim a lighthearted dig at one-time arch rivals Manchester United.
Speaking to DAZN, Gerrard was questioned on how he dealt with the emotions of his Anfield return by ex-Liverpool teammate Michael Owen:
‘[I’m] Just wondering – we’ve all played, we’ve all gone back to Anfield in different guises.’
‘I must admit I hated going back to play against Liverpool. What were your emotions like going back today? How does it feel taking a team to your home?’
And the 41-year-old’s ensuing response culminated in quite the reaction back in the studio, with Gerrard having aimed a less-than-subtle dig at both Owen (who famously lined out for Manchester United late in his playing days) and the Red Devils themselves:
‘If I played for Man U, I’d hate coming back too!’
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