No ex-Liverpool legend feels the regret of just missing out on the Jürgen Klopp era so acutely as Steven Gerrard. Stevie G, who came so close to lifting the Premier League trophy with Brendan Rodgers and Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and the bunch. But Stevie G, who was already on the far edge of his career at that time and left Liverpool before Rodgers’ was asked to vacate the Melwood premises the following autumn.
Surely, you remember those topsy-turvy days when little made sense? Well, those were Steven Gerrard’s finals days as a Red. And what came after is the thing we all love so much. Klopp has ushered in the new new. Liverpool are back on top, have been back on top for two and a half seasons. There’s a real shot at the Champions League trophy for this team, having fought passed some of the very best sides in Europe to get to the final. And with Tottenham Hotspur remaining.
It must be a nightmare for Gerrard to balance his joy and jealousy for all that Liverpool have become since he left for LA Galaxy in 2015. But Gerrard has probably learned a great deal about quality management by having access to Klopp and Melwood when he’s in town, on leave from Rangers. The problem is fending off the temptation to boot up and hit the training pitch after yet another rousing homily from the German manager.
“I come out of his office after a sit-down, and when I walk out of the training ground, I actually want to walk back in and sit with him. I want to put a kit on and play for them, and run for them and run hard. He’s infectious, he inspires you.”
Gerrard reaffirms Klopp’s reputation as a living great person of history. What we see and hear on this side of the microphones and cameras is real. The team’s performances this season are proof enough of that. Unity. Fight. That stuff. It all comes from the manager, and these players are addicted to it.
“The one thing that I’d say is his major strength, is his personality. The majority of people only see him on camera, and they talk about this personality,” he explained. “This is a special personality, it’s an infectious character to be around.
“He makes you feel special and wanted, and welcome. That’s the reason why the players are doing it for him. Because of this infectious personality.
“He’s a man that you’ll want to see succeed in the game. I think the Liverpool supporters, the fans, the people, the city, the players - Jurgen’s got that connection with them. It’s something special to see.”