Steven Gerrard leaving Aston Villa to replace Jurgen Klopp is far from certain under FSG – Brian Reade

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard left Rangers earlier this month to become Aston Villa’s new manager and takes charge of his first Premier League game on Saturday – and many have already done the maths over him stepping in at Anfield eventually

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Steven Gerrard appointed Aston Villa manager

I doubt that Steven Gerrard is losing much sleep about what fans of clubs past and present think of him right now.

He won’t have been happy leaving Rangers fans in the lurch. He will have understood the scepticism among some Aston Villa supporters who’ve swapped a local hero for someone who has yet to manage a game in England.

And he probably shared the fears of those Kopites who worry that Jurgen Klopp’s chosen heir could screw it all up by failing at Villa.

But judging by how energised he looked on the training ground this week, any regrets, doubts or fears appear to be behind him. And his battle-cry about thriving on pressure and risk seems genuine.

I’m sure he’s occasionally questioned his decision in 2005 to reject a move to become a serial champion at Chelsea or Real Madrid.

How will Steven Gerrard get on at Aston Villa? Let us know in the comments below!

Steven Gerrard is eyeing up more trophies at Aston Villa


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Back then, the 25-year-old could not cut the umbilical cord with the club he’d been at since boyhood. But he clearly won’t let sentiment block his ambitions again.

However, if I were a Villa fan, I wouldn’t be overly-worried about Gerrard scarpering to Anfield in June 2024 to replace the outgoing Jurgen Klopp, as it is far from a certainty.

Liverpool’s owners FSG don’t follow fan wishes, accepted wisdom or nostalgia. They were callous with another club icon, Kenny Dalglish, when they sacked him in 2012 after reaching two cup finals and winning one.

Brendan Rodgers came achingly close to winning them their first title in 24 years but was discarded when Klopp became available.

Instead they do numbers. And they may already have run them on Klopp’s much-respected assistant Pep Lijnders and seen a natural successor, as they have with Julian Ward who will step up as sporting director next summer when Michael Edwards leaves.

Maybe they’ll try to woo Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann, a big success at Red Bull Leipzig whose playing and recruitment model have much in common with FSG’s. Who knows?

The Villa job is a big step up for Gerrard yet one that he had to take if he wants to prove himself as a top manager.

To be judged a success at ambitious Villa he needs to either win a trophy or get them into the Champions League but looking at their current position and the world-class calibre of managers at the top of the Premier League, that will take some doing.

It took him three full seasons to get Rangers to where he wanted them to be and there are only two-and-a-half before Klopp leaves Liverpool. It would be remarkable if Gerrard wasn’t still in a major building job at Villa by then.

But nobody will know this more than Gerrard who may be eyeing up a longer game for the job he’s declared he wants “100%.” He will only be 44 when Klopp leaves in June 2024.

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The German was 48 when he took over at Anfield. Why not keep learning on the job at Villa and let someone else step into Klopp’s considerable shoes and possibly struggle, as often happens, in the shadow of coaching geniuses.

Gerrard is aware of the pressure on fan favourites returning as managers.

He will remember Graeme Souness flopping at Liverpool and Frank Lampard at Chelsea, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently struggling at Manchester United, and be wary about trading on the club legend ticket until he’s proven himself to be better than all the non-legends. As will FSG.

If I was a gambler I’d put money on Gerrard being the first English manager to lift the Premier League title.

But if I was a Villa fan I wouldn’t be fooled by the notion that he’s nailed-on to succeed Klopp in 30 months time.

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