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Aston Villa v Leicester City: Steven Gerrard’s looking get one over on old boss Brendan Rodgers

Together they came incredibly close to guiding Liverpool to their first Premier League title.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

Now, seven years on, Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers will meet again as top flight managers when Villa host Leicester tomorrow.

It won’t be the first time they have locked horns in a dugout – with Gerrard’s Rangers side taking on Rodgers’ Celtic in Scotland.

But there’s no doubt both men have huge respect for each other – with Villa’s new boss admitting his philosophy has been influenced by the man he played under at Anfield between 2012 and 2015.

“I tried to take a lot of things from Brendan,” Gerrard said.

“I thought he was a really good man manager – the way he spoke to players, the way he dealt with players was really impressive.

“But really importantly on the training pitch he was slick.

“There was a good organisation about his sessions and the way he used to set his team up.

“I was really impressed with him. In possession he had some really good ideas, innovative ideas, modern ideas.

“And then of course I went to try and compete with his Celtic team.

“We found that tough at the start because there was a big gap.

“But in time we managed to be much more competitive and I really enjoyed the challenge of competing against him manager to manager.

“I’m looking forward to that duel again on the weekend but it’s very much a case of both teams rather than both managers.”

Since his arrival as boss, Gerrard has chosen to play in a 4-3-3 formation that often sees his wide players tuck in to become number 10s.

And he believes that system is helping to get the best out of Emi Buendia – who had previously struggled for form following his £33million move from Norwich.

“Different people take different time to settle at a club – I’m not sure what went on before, but to be honest I’m not really interested,” Gerrard said.

“I’m interested in him being fit and in a place to help the team.

“We see a big future for him here.

“We want to give him every bit of support that is needed for him to go on and perform at his best level.

“That is one thing about my team, we will certainly take the excuses away for any player.

“We will give them every chance to be the best they can be and I’m really excited to work with Emi.

“He’s very talented, very creative. I think this system will suit him.”

Asked why the system will suit him Gerrard continued: “It’s not a case of being narrow or over-narrow. It’s getting our talent close to the goal and involved in the game.

“We want to be adaptable. Sometimes the width will come from full-backs, sometimes it will come from a seven or an 11.

“I think what our system does is allow us to adapt to what we need to do so we can hurt teams.

“With Emi, we have played two number 10s in the previous three games. That gives him the chance to play in his favoured position, to be involved in areas where he can be creative.

“He is producing in the areas of the pitch we want him in, we want him to be that creative force.

“Us as a team, a staff, our identify, style, philosophy will suit him and good attacking players.”

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