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Steven Gerrard: Aston Villa must be ready to suffer if they are to shock 'best-ever' Liverpool team

Steven Gerrard has told Villa’s players they must be prepared to suffer to stand any chance of beating the best Liverpool team he’s ever seen.


              
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard encourages his team-mates during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday May 7, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire.


RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised 
audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard encourages his team-mates during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday May 7, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The boss wants his team to be bold but calculating on Tuesday night as they look to pull off a major shock and put a serious dent in his former club’s title challenge.

Liverpool arrive at Villa Park three points behind leaders Manchester City after being held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham on Saturday and Gerrard acknowledges they must match the discipline shown by Antonio Conte’s team.

“There's no two ways about it, at times we're going to have to defend extremely well and we're going to have to be organised, we're going to have to be compact,” he said.

"At times we'll have to suffer but if we do that together and get through those situations, we believe at home, the form we're in of late and the players we are going to select, we're hoping we'll have some interesting moments in the game.

"That's what Tottenham did. They were organised, they were patient. When their moments came they did cause Liverpool some problems.

"We've got to make sure we're bold enough and brave enough and show enough quality on the pitch to go and hurt Liverpool as well.”

Gerrard added: "I'm never going to set a team up to just suffer for 90 minutes.

"I want us to be brave and bold and show our quality as well but I don't want that to be gung-ho or careless. It has to be calculated."

Liverpool have already won the League Cup and remain in with a chance of claiming an unprecedented quadruple and Gerrard, who made more than 700 appearances for the club and won the Champions League in 2005, believes Jurgen Klopp’s current vintage may be the Reds’ best-ever team.

“I say that without disrespecting previous Liverpool teams because I grew up watching them,” he explained. “The European Cup winners, serial league title winners, I grew up on all of that DNA of that club.

“I’m well aware they’ve previously had world-class players, managers and teams. But I think to watch, on the eye, because of the way the game itself has changed – it’s gone quicker, it’s gone faster – I think you’re probably watching the best Liverpool team there has been.”

Gerrard, who played more than 700 times for the Reds, knows there will be plenty of focus on himself but insists his only concern is the performance of his own team.

He said: “I appreciate that people will look for headlines of what’s going through my mind, the outcome of the next 90 minutes and how it could affect certain situations.

“But at the end of the day a league campaign at the bottom, middle or top is over 38 games.

“Over the next 90 minutes it’s my job to prepare Villa in the best way I can. Nothing will change. Whoever I represent, I go into the game wanting to win. The day I don’t have that urgency to win I won’t be sitting in a seat like this.”

Midfielder Jacob Ramsey remains sidelined with a groin problem and the conundrum facing Gerrard is what changes, if any, need making to an XI which produced one of the best performances of his reign in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Burnley.

He continued: “We’ve taken seven points from nine and are in a much better position in terms of positivity, confidence and belief but at the same time we’ve got to respect the challenge in front of us.

“We’re playing against one of the best teams in the world who are in top form they’re about to go into a fixture congestion fighting on all fronts.

“We will be very respectful to the challenge in front of us but at the same time I want the players, staff and fans to embrace it and challenge ourselves against one of the best teams. “

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