Steven Gerrard admits he is “almost jealous” that he didn’t get to play under Jurgen Klopp, whom he mentioned in the same breath as Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley as among Liverpool’s best ever managers.
Gerrard spent the best part of two decades excelling for Liverpool, winning the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup as captain. However, he was never able to win the Premier League with his boyhood club.
Liverpool’s long wait for that piece of silverware finally ended this season. They finished a huge 18 points ahead of nearest competitors Manchester City to win the title.
The triumph has cemented Klopp’s legacy, after already winning the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup with the Reds. The Liverpool boss won the Manager of the Year award for his success.
And ex-Liverpool captain Gerrard, speaking on a new documentary about Klopp, believes the 53-year-old is among the all-time great managers on Merseyside.
“The institution of Liverpool is almost like a religion – people who take the baton off each other to continue the Liverpool way, going back to Shankly, Paisley, [Joe] Fagan,” Gerrard said.
“And Jurgen has come and taken all that pressure on his shoulders of one of the biggest clubs in the world, played phenomenal, ferocious football, and won trophies. He came with his shoulders back, believing he would deliver success.
“So he’s right up there with the best Liverpool managers, and the best managers in the world. Fact.”
Gerrard left Liverpool in 2015, a few months before Klopp’s arrival, to finish his career with LA Galaxy. He returned to Melwood as a youth coach just over a year later, working under the Klopp regime.
Although he is no longer employed by Liverpool, after leaving to become Rangers manager in 2018, Gerrard remains connected to the club for his achievements as a player.
And the 40-year-old admits he wishes he could still be playing under Klopp’s management.
He added: “The warmth and the charisma and the smile is Jurgen as a human being, that is his personality, but don’t worry about what’s underneath that. There is a fierce drive, a winning mentality.
“He makes you feel special, and wanted and welcome. Imagine playing for him. I am almost jealous of the Liverpool players, because 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.
“I want to sit with him… I want to put a kit on and play for him and run for him and play hard – and that’s the reason the players are doing it for him.”
The former England midfielder also gave insight into his absence from Liverpool’s title celebrations, after revealing that he was invited to the squad’s party.
Liverpool won the league when Manchester City dropped points at Chelsea, with the squad watching in a golf club in Gerrard’s hometown, Formby.
However, Gerrard admits he preferred to celebrate at home, and leave the current squad to it.
“I was at home watching it on TV,” he revealed. “I was invited to go and be around the the players, be with them, but I thought the right thing to do was be at home with my family, and let the players celebrate and enjoy themselves,” he said.
“The scenes were absolute fantastic. There was no happier house in Formby than my house, let me tell you. I was onboard and all in with Jurgen from day one – from the start he made everyone believe they were about to go on a special journey.
“So I was immensely proud when I saw him deliver the title – and there was relief, from waiting so long as a fan and as a player. To watch what it meant for all those players and all the people around them was special.”
Gerrard was speaking on a documentary called Jürgen Klopp: Germany’s Greatest Export. Channel 4 will show it on Monday, 3rd August at 10pm.