Steven Gerrard is doing a solid job managing Rangers. Steven Gerrard wants to manage Liverpool eventually. There’s no secret in that.
But he has been very clear, on a number of occasions now, that he has to earn it. If someone else is better qualified when Jürgen Klopp leaves, so be it.
“I understand why because I was captain for so long and a large chunk of the fanbase would like me back at the club”, Gerrard told the Mail on Sunday. “But I’m bright enough to realise that, first and foremost, you have to be good enough. The owners need to think you’re the right man.
“Let’s say Klopp wins the Premier League, Champions League and goes because he feels he can’t do any more. They aren’t going to pick me if I am only the 20th best candidate.
“And nobody asks if I think I need two or three goes elsewhere. If I got the chance [at Liverpool] I’d want to be best prepared. You can’t plan everything season by season. If things turn in months, you’d be out of work.
“That’s how brutal the job is, but you are aware before you go in. Jurgen Klopp told me he’d made two years of mistakes away from the cameras, getting his pitch confidence. That is what I did at Liverpool with the youngsters. I didn’t go into Rangers thinking I’d cracked it.
“Am I ready for the Liverpool job right now? Maybe not.”
His own career wasn’t the only issue Gerrard touched on, as he also discussed the attitude and application of his successor as Liverpool skipper, Jordan Henderson.
“We both know there are players who are “at it” every day. I appreciated Jordan’s power and fitness by training with him. Some players play for themselves, Jordan does the dirty running, grappling for second balls, 12 or 13km Saturday and Wednesday, again and again.
“Teams can’t function at Liverpool’s level without a cog like Jordan Henderson. He’s obviously going be a Premier League winner. I look at him and think: good for you.
“He has that confidence now. He has lifted the European Cup above his head. I don’t deserve one iota of credit, he has done it all himself, but I remember a chat with Jordan in LA a while ago and he wasn’t sure whether he was coming or going at the club. I remember saying to him don’t give up on Liverpool, you’ll be fine.
“I knew what he had inside and that he would get there. You know with certain people.”
You do know, just as everyone knew with Gerrard. But management is about wiping the slate clean on past experiences. If he wants the big job at Anfield, he has to show that he’s good enough.