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Steven Gerrard’s disappointed integrity questioned ahead of Liverpool game | AstonVilla

Steven Gerrard’s disappointed integrity questioned ahead of Liverpool game | AstonVilla

Steven Gerrard said he was disappointed his integrity was called into question before the former Liverpool captain took his side from Aston Villa to Manchester City but conceded the dream scenario would be for his current and former club to profit on the final day.

If Villa took points away from City, they would hand the Premier League title to liverpoolhanding Jürgen Klopp’s side a sure win at home to Wolves, but for Villa the only objective is to try and secure a place in the top half of the Premier League for the first time since 2011.

Questions have been asked about how Villa will approach last week’s home game against Liverpool, when they put on a fighting performance before losing 2-1. Gerard’s selection against Burnley on Thursday was then investigated for signs he was resting players for the City game, but only Danny Ings being a substitute was a notable break from the recent norm and one that has followed the striker from four matches over the course of of the previous 21 days.

Gerrard said “the phone has been busy” in the build-up to the end-of-season finale and raised the issue of integrity himself. “When it comes to Liverpool, I fully understand and respect the noise outside and the questions that have been put to me for some time,” Gerrard said. “They’re involved in a title chase, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. It’s disappointing when people mention integrity and point it at me or AstonVilla or one of my players. We will go out at the weekend and give everything we have to try and get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic.

Gerrard believes Klopp and Pep Guardiola, such is the strength of their respective teams, have created a buffer between them and the rest of the league. “When I played there was a lot of talk about the top four and for a period it became a top six,” Gerrard said. “But I think it’s become pretty clear that over the last two or three years, with the consistency of Jürgen and Pep since José [Mourinho] left – he finished second to Manchester United just before he left – they have been the strongest teams for a long time now and there is a gap forming.

“In terms of my experience coming back to the Premier League, they’re by far the two best teams we’ve faced. Very different: they try to hurt you with positional play and possession and they try to hurt you with speed and intensity. They’re both extremely consistent and have top managers. They’ve both recruited extremely well over a period of time and had plenty of time to work with the team, there’s no So it’s no surprise that they get the results they get.

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Gerrard knows Villa face a tough task given City have only lost twice at home in the league and haven’t dropped points in successive league games since December 2020. “They have class players world and a top manager, but there’s a lot of pressure on them at the weekend,” he said. “We’re going to go there as prepared as we can be and try to make it as difficult as possible. Why? Because we want to be better than 14th and we need more points.

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