The storied and gifted son of the Kop, Steven Gerrard, returned to Anfield last night, but this time he came as the coach for Aston Villa, who were ultimately beaten 1-0 by Liverpool. Walking onto the pitch behind his squad, he was greeted with a standing ovation from fans in Anfield stadium.
He respectfully applauded, but then chose not to sing the words to Liverpool’s football anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, perhaps out of respect for his current club. Or maybe he was nervous or running match plays through his head and didn’t feel like singing, everything’s not that deep!
Stevie was interviewed by liverpoolfc.com after the game, and he applauded his own side’s efforts.
“I thought we did a good containing job on Liverpool for large periods; the plan was to take it to the latter stages and then throw more ambition and more quality players at it from the side and try to make Liverpool nervous”, he said.
While Villa blocked multiple scoring attempts by Jurgen Klopp’s side, a 62nd minute mistake was taken advantage of by Mohamed Salah, leading to what Gerrard later called a “a light penalty”, and which he felt was a “huge blow” to his side.
But he conceded that ultimately Liverpool were the better team.
“Box to box, Liverpool were a level above. I thought they showed their quality at times and you can really see why they are competing for league titles and competing in Europe until the latter stages, if not favourites to go and win it.”
Speaking of the weight of the moment that was his return to Anfield, he played it down as coolly and professionally as he could.
“I had to accept it was going to be emotional for me and my family. Of course it is; 17 years as a player and also coming here as an eight-year-old boy. I’ve spent many years and given a lot of my life to this football club.
“For me, it was trying to control that, trying to control the outside noise and be respectful to Aston Villa.”