The Presser: Gerrard previews Liverpool

The Presser: Gerrard previews Liverpool

Speaking via a virtual press conference from Bodymoor Heath, the Aston Villa head coach gave the latest update on team news, discussed his side’s approach in matches, returning to Anfield, coming up against Jurgen Klopp, the developing Covid situation, and much more.Information Guide Nigeria

Here’s what he had to say…

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On team news…

“We’ve got a couple of kicks from yesterday’s session but we think they’re all going to pull through.

“Morgan Sanson wasn’t feeling too well but we’ve had good news this morning that he’ll be back in for training.

“We’ve still got one session to go, in terms of the preparation.

“So if we come through that then we’re travelling up to Anfield in a good place.

“Obviously still Bertrand (Traore) and Leon (Bailey) will be missing, certainly Bertie for a couple more weeks and obviously Leon’s one who will be back sometime after Christmas.

“Aside from those two, we’re in good health and in a good place.”

He added: “It’s great to have Danny (Ings) back in full training, he’s training quite well.

“We’ve obviously got three games coming up in a week so we’ll have to manage his load.

“But it’s great to have him back, it’s a real big boost for us. He certainly brings a lot more firepower to the squad.”

On Villa’s approach having possibly showed too much first-half respect to Man City…

Aston Villa v Leicester City.

“I think that was the case for periods of the Leicester game as well, I think what we’ve learnt about this group is we’re at our best when we’re playing with controlled aggression, we’re on the front foot, we let opposition teams really feel us and we come away from being passive.

“I think at this level against the level of teams you’re talking about – Liverpool, City, Leicester.

“If you’re passive anywhere, any area of the pitch, you can be punished very quickly.

“But in both the games, Leicester and City, we’ve experienced so far, we’ve had a really big reaction at half-time.

“We need that to be before games and try to find that consistency over 90 minutes.

“When we do, we’ll be a really tough team to play against.”

On what has surprised him most about his squad…

Aston Villa v Leicester City

“I’ve been really impressed with their application, how open they’ve been for a new group of staff coming in, in terms of working to adapt to what we want.

“They have been all eyes and all ears and really applied themselves in a really top way.

“The big surprise for me coming back into the Premier League is how difficult it is to earn every point; with all due respect to the previous league and the previous challenge we had, it was very different.

“The league is high level; every challenge is tough and different. All the managers’ styles are different.

“It’s fascinating in terms of what you’ve got to do and the preparation and detail we have to put in to try and take every point from every game.”

On returning to Liverpool…


“I think I’ve certainly stuck to that promise, from a playing point of view (not lining up to play against Liverpool).

“For me, I really respect and understand all the noise around the game for obvious reasons because I’m going back to a club where I spent many years.

“So it brings a smile to my face for a couple of reasons.

“One, because I’ve obviously got a good relationship with a lot of people at the club, I had a fantastic time there, a really good journey, I’m a local boy, the team I supported growing up and I always will support that team, of course.

“But at the same time, it brings a smile to my face because I’ve got the opportunity to go there and compete against a good team, a good manager, with the opportunity to try and win the game.

“And that’s my only main focus.

“I think the noise is for other people to get excited about. For me, it’s about preparing the team in the best way I can to try and get a positive result for Aston Villa, and that’s the way I will be.

“Everyone in that stadium will know me well enough to know what I’m about and what I’m going to Anfield for.”

Other Top Football News:

On Jurgen Klopp…

Jurgen Klopp

“I played for Jurgen Klopp in Australia in an exhibition match, in 2000, and he addressed the players; he actually felt like my manager for 24 hours. It was a fantastic experience.

“It doesn’t need me to sit here and talk about Jurgen Klopp, I think the world know what a fantastic coach he is.

“He’s always been fantastic with me, very supportive, given me a lot of top advice in terms of the transition from being a player to a coach.

“He obviously gave me an opportunity to go and coach Liverpool’s youth team, U19s team, which I’ll be forever grateful for.

“But, at the end of the day, he knows and I know, once that whistle goes at the weekend, I’m going to try and compete in the best way I can and the team can to try and get a result and one over on him.

“That’s the way I am, that’s what’s inside me and that’s the way I’ll approach it.”

On the developing Covid situation…

Aston Villa train ahead of taking on Leicester City this weekend.

“To be honest, we’ve always remained very safe around the facilities, we’ve always stuck to a certain level of ruling to protect ourselves and protect each other.

“I had a conversation last night with Christian Purslow, he’s going to come down on Monday and address the players in more detail.

“But we have obviously been told and warned that things are changing all the time and just to be careful.

“It’s always a concern for myself and every manager, we obviously sympathise with Antonio (Conte) and his situation.

“There’s been a situation here prior before I came and at my previous job, you’ve always got that little lingering paranoia about the what-ifs. And it is a virus that’s not gone, we’re not through the woods.

“It’s changing all the time so you’ve always got to be on your toes and be as careful as you can because you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re losing players, which obviously affects points.

“So we need to remain really diligent and make sure the players are doing everything they can as well to protect each other.”JAMB Result

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Emediong Ekpe

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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