In 2014, with Liverpool chasing Manchester City in the Premier League title race, Steven Gerrard slipped against Chelsea in the third to last game of the season. Chelsea scored, the Reds lost, and in the final table ended up two points back of City.
Now, on Sunday, Steven Gerrard the Aston Villa manager has a chance to win Liverpool the title if his side can take points off City—and if Liverpool can win their game against Wolves. As far as narratives go, the potential on offer is difficult to beat.
Inevitably, then, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was asked about the situation heading into the final round of games for the 2021-22 Premier League season, noting that were he in a similar situation he would expect to have a little extra motivation.
“If I could play a game and help Dortmund or help Mainz it would give me extra motivation,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference. “But I don’t play and Stevie doesn’t play—much more a shame that Stevie is not playing than I’m not playing.
“But Stevie will take it 100% serious without me calling him or I’m sure. I think a really good example of how motivated football teams are is last night’s game from Crystal Palace. It was such an important game for Everton and then Crystal Palace plays incredible football.
“In the end they lost but the effort they put in, the passion they showed, the whole game was really good. They lost in the end but that’s a good example just how football teams usually are. We play to win, and Aston Villa will play to win.”
In the end, though, even if Villa manage to overcome the odds and get a result against a highly motivated City side, for Liverpool nothing else will matter if they don’t do their job and win their game on Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“I’m not concerned about [Villa],” Klopp added. “I speak already too much about that and it’s disrespectful to Wolves. They don’t come here to be part of our celebrations, they come here to win and get three points, and we have to be ready for that.”