‘He was a great leader’ – Ex-Liverpool ‘keeper tips Steven Gerrard to succeed Jurgen Klopp
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek has backed ex-teammate Steven Gerrard to succeed Jurgen Klopp in the Anfield hotseat – despite being surprised at the club legend’s foray into management.
Currently taking charge of Rangers in the Scottish Premiership, talk of Gerrard replacing Klopp at his former club has surfaced after the current Reds boss recently hinted to German publication Kicker (via Metro) that he would take a sabbatical from the game when his contract expires in 2022.
And Dudek, who won the Champions League alongside Gerrard at Liverpool, has backed the 39-year-old’s leadership qualities by tipping him to be a suitable successor to Klopp should he leave in three years’ time.
Speaking to Polish outlet Przeglad Sportowy, he said (via TalkSPORT): “He is ideally suited to it because he was a great leader, and as a captain, he brilliantly managed our dressing room.
“But honestly, I would have laughed at you if you told me he wanted to be a manager.
“Most of the very best players like to take a break after their playing career has ended and return to their family, who have sacrificed a lot during their career.
“But Steven quickly jumped from coaching the kids at Liverpool to becoming manager of Rangers. And it wasn’t an obvious choice either because he took on a really difficult task.
“But his development has been rapid because no one expected that and he has exceeded expectations. Everyone knows that sooner or later the great captain will return.”
There is evidence to suggest that Gerrard has taken to management well, with the former Liverpool skipper improving Rangers’ standing in the Scottish league with a runners-up finish in 2018/19 – cutting the gap from the previous year between themselves and arch-rivals Celtic by three points in the process.
Taking control of European champions Liverpool may prove to be a different kettle of fish for anyone, but with Chelsea adopting a similar approach in hiring Frank Lampard, perhaps the likelihood of the Reds organising a homecoming of their own for their long-time captain is not too unrealistic.
And with a glowing endorsement from Dudek at this early stage of his management career, Gerrard could yet be well-placed to be given a chance should Klopp follow through on talk of a break from football in the years to come.
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