Gerrard on Mourinho, Suarez, Benitez, Hodgson, Madrid and more

On being benched for big games –  ‘I didn’t enjoy missing big games.  I sat on the bench against Manchester United and Real Madrid and for me, I don’t want people to remember me as a substitute, maybe that’s being a bit selfish but I’ve played for the first team for 17 years and I’ve been a key part of the team, I’ve been a captain since 23 and I still love my football.  I want to be on the pitch as much as possible.  I didn’t really want to become a squad player.’

‘Sitting on the bench at home against Manchester United at home was tough to take as well and was probably the reason why I was sent off within 30 seconds’

On Mourinho
‘we’re two football people.  I think if you park that rivalry aside, the rivalry’s done for the time being. I’ve got nothing but admiration for what he’s achieved. Not just at Chelsea when he’s been a rival but at Porto when he went to Inter Milan.  He’s had an incredible career. And even during the rivalry when you set-up against his teams, they’re very difficult to play against.  I think he always signs top players. And just watching Chelsea as a neutral when Liverpool are not facing them, some of the things I’ve seen him do for Chelsea, for Porto, for Inter, tactically to win big games, you’ve got to tip your hat to the man. He is one of the best out there and he’s tried to sign me on three occasions, three different teams.  Even though I haven’t played for him, I’ve had that close relationship with him and I’ve still felt he rates me as a player and even bumping into him when the rivalry’s been going on, he’s given me some good bits of advice and yeah I’m a big fan.’

On Real Madrid trying to sign him (while Mourinho was there) ‘The Real Madrid interest was real.  They wanted me to kick up a war to get out of Liverpool for a certain amount of money, which I weren’t prepared to do.  I think Real Madrid, when they’re after a player they have the attitude of we’re Real Madrid, you should fight to come to us but my love for Liverpool, I’m not prepared to go to war with Liverpool and plus I was very happy and stable at the time and enjoying my football.’

The message Mourinho sent him via John Terry in a charity game ‘Congratulations on a wonderful career, he said he had a regret he didn’t work with me on a daily basis.  He just told me to be really proud of what I achieved and to enjoy my family everyday were the key messages that I took from it.  Just for him to take the time out to write that letter shows his class.  It was a nice touch at the time.’

On Rafa ‘Although we’re not very close and we’ve never been very close Rafa’s certainly the best coach I’ve ever worked with and I’ve got nothing but respect for the man.’

On Rafa not sending a message when Gerrard left;You’d have to ask Rafa that reason.  I sent him a message when he left Liverpool but he didn’t send me one when I left, but it’s no big problem.  He’s got more important things to worry about than sending me a message when I’m leaving Liverpool. We had a very professional relationship, tactically he was a genius for me.’

On being on the bench in final game v UnitedThe emotions got the better of me on the day, I was just full of anger.  Very disappointed in Brendan’s team selection, but instead of being professional and parking it up and thinking about the team. I was very selfish in my performance and in my actions.  That’s the reason why I came out and apologised straight away.  I wasn’t proud of that performance at all, and I think looking back now, that summed up to everyone how hurt I was to be left out of the starting line-up that day.’ 


On his role in Liverpool keeping Suarez from joining ArsenalBefore the meeting you had Luis Suarez training on his own in the afternoon at Melwood. Brendan’s relationship with Luis had broken down.  I don’t think it was Brendan’s fault. Luis wanted to move on, to play Champions’ League football and he had people in his ear and people around him forcing him to make moves that maybe he didn’t really wanna do.  So I think it was just a case of being in the middle and trying to heal that relationship with him and Brendan and get him training with the first team again and just chatting to Luis and saying to him, is it Arsenal that you really want or do you want Real Madrid or Barca? That was the jist of the conversation, because I knew, deep down that him and his family wanted Barcelona rather than Arsenal…For me and all the Liverpool supporters and Liverpool people it made no sense at all, him going to Arsenal because it would have made them an awful lot stronger.  When you lose someone like Luis Suarez it makes you an awful lot weaker, so for me, I was prepared to do anything it took to try and make that not happen.’

On giving himself a 6 or a 7 out of 10 for his England career – ‘For me there there’s been maybe 2, maybe 3 England teams that can sit in front of an interviewer and give themselves maybe an 8 or a 9.  One’s 1966 when they won it.  Euro 96 of course, they done fantastically well and 1990 when they got to the semi-finals. I think anyone else has experienced similar patterns to me where you get that build-up going into the tournament, you feel really confident and when you go out, a little bit too early you get that disappointment.’

On Roy Hodgson @ Liverpool ‘I was gutted when he left Liverpool.  I thought the timing of him taking the Liverpool job was probably wrong because a lot of the fans wanted Dalglish in and Dalglish is the king at Liverpool.  I thought Roy paid the price for that, coming in before Kenny.  I think if it had been reversed and if he came in after him, he maybe would have got a bit more time and the fans would have had a bit more respect for him because he’s certainly a top coach, a good person and someone who works very hard to make sure his teams are hard to beat, so I’ve got a lot of respect for him.’

On Stuart Pearce stripping him of the captaincy in the toilet.  ‘I’ve said how bizarre it was in the book, it’s there in black and white and that’s not to put Stuart Pearce down or to dig him out, I’ve purposely before I signed up to write the book I didn’t want to go for anyone because that’s not me, that’s not the type of person I am.  I just thought at the time, he showed me no respect, how he went about it, how he told me.  I thought he could have done it in a different way and I also think that the decision he made was bizarre.’

On Mario Balotelli telling Rodgers he doesn’t mark at corners in training. ‘If a manager tells you to mark at a corner you mark, simple.  You do what the manager tells you to do. That’s Sunday league level.  Any level of football, if a manager says to you ‘you’re marking at a corner’ you’re marking.  You don’t come out and say ‘you don’t do that’ because the manager is telling you ‘you are doing it’. So within seconds, he understood that he was marking and he actually did a fantastic job in the game that we’re talking about.’

On Jordan Henderson ‘This is someone who works harder than most on a daily basis, he always does his gym work, doesn’t drink, professional.  A team player, you know, will sacrifice himself for the team.  I just hope that he keeps going from strength to strength. Becomes a regular for England and does well at the tournaments because I’d love to see nothing better than it work out for him.’


Watch a 30 minute BT Sport special — “Sport In Focus – Steven Gerrard” – on BT Sport 1 next Wednesday 30 September at 3pm.  



I'm 19 years old, and have a real passion for Liverpool. I enjoy expressing my views about football. I am the owner of and one of the presenters at The Red Corner.