Jurgen Klopp, fresh out of the end of a nine-year success story as manager of the Reds, hands over to arguably Steven Gerrard’s biggest football player.
After re-establishing the Rangers as a powerful rival to Old Firm Celtic opponents, Gerrard retires south of the border to reconnect with his childhood club which he has served with distinction for 710 games.
It’s a tempting prospect, post-Klopp, for many – including the Liverpool boss himself.
“If you ask who should follow me, I would say Stevie,” said Klopp in September. “I help her when I can. “
Such help may have even reached the streets of Liverpool during the lockout, where Gerrard admits to having seen Klopp running around his neighborhood.
While ensuring a space of two meters according to social distance, legends of Liverpool past and present have been able to discuss their common passion for football in recent times, without the often suffocating constraints that a large device in charge of two of the most fiercely. -clubs supported by European football can contribute.
“Jurgen will be the best football coach,” Gerrard told The Times this week.
“He walks by my house at the same time every day and goes the other way, so he’s definitely been jogging for over an hour.
“I also see him walking his dog and, with the instructions, we can talk from a distance. “
It has been two years this week that Gerrard has been confirmed as the boss of the Rangers after sharing a comfortable life by tweaking and shaping his managerial skills as the manager of the Liverpool Under-18s for Blood and Thunder. Scottish elite.
it was a bold decision. Gerrard had not been a manager for a long time and the demand for results at Rangers was far from developing the next generation among the young ranks of Liverpool.
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But how has he evolved as a manager since he sat in front of the press at Ibrox on May 5, 2018?
Now in his second season as manager of the Rangers, the iconic former Reds captain has helped make the Gers a truly competitive rival for Celtic once again after three successive trebles for the Bhoys.
Celtic had opened a solid 13-point lead before the Scottish Premiership’s suspension – and potential reduction – in March, but Gerrard can be proud of his efforts so far in Glasgow.
A final League Cup defeat in December could have gone either way and the Rangers had been largely in line with their rivals for much of the season before Neil Lennon’s team retired before the pause.
No stranger to a great moment on the red European scene of Liverpool, Gerrard carried this flair in the canoe this term, guiding his team in the last 16 of the Europa League.
Great nights have already been enjoyed by Gerrard and his team against players like Feyenoord and Porto in the group stages before a 4-2 victory over Braga propelled the Scots into the knockout stages against Bayer Leverkusen.
But like the most gifted English midfielder of his generation, how did he shape his football ideology now that he wears a suit and tie on match day?
“I tried to be a sponge for all the managers I have worked with during my playing career,” Gerrard told ECHO last year. “I have watched them all very closely and now I can see where I am.
“I have been in the job for two years for real, if you will – obviously a little longer if you take the job at the Academy – and I learn every day.
“In terms of philosophy, I think it’s a very interesting word because I don’t want to be a manager who says” oh I’m playing this way … “I think you should be able to adapt your philosophy to certain devices, for some of the staff you manage, what is the challenge, is it at home or away, or abroad, are you favorites or not?
“I think your principles should always stay the same, so in terms of that, yes, I have a way and what I like about football, but what I like to say is that you have to be ready to adapt to this philosophy, depending on what you are facing. “
It’s now 113 games managed for Gerrard in senior football after he took his current position.
His winning percentage of just over 60 is healthy, but there is still a lot of work to do for the former Liverpool captain.
Having one of the most respected managers of world football on your doorstep at Klopp would be ideal for any football lover, but for a student of the coaching game, there cannot be a larger fortune for Gerrard .
The Rangers boss, however, is wary of tapping into Klopp’s vast reserves of mind and wisdom as he continues to cut his teeth at Ibrox.
“If people think I’m going to leave the Rangers in the near future because it’s my decision and I don’t want to be there, then that opinion is wrong,” he said.
And even if, for some, it seems inevitable that Gerrard succeeds Klopp in the hot years of Anfield, reality does not always play out like Hollywood history.
This is something Gerrard is well aware of, even though his own play days were littered with moments from picture books.
“I often wonder where I want to end up and what is the ambition and the dream – the dream for me is to win the next football game,” he said in November.
“This is all I have to focus on. I don’t need to set deadlines on this or that. “
No deadlines, says Gerrard, but his track record is good after two years at Ibrox.