Jurgen Klopp: Two key decisions went against Liverpool in West Ham defeat
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Dean Smith’s departure from Aston Villa on Sunday has seen various managers linked in a bid to become his replacement. Villa’s five defeats in a row culminated with Friday’s grim loss to lowly Southampton, leaving club chiefs no chance but to replace the man who got them promoted. And in a shock move, Steven Gerrard is reportedly top of their shortlist.
Successive Premier League losses to Southampton, West Ham, Wolves, Arsenal and Tottenham were enough to see Smith ousted from the job, despite earning promotion for Villa in 2018/19 and recording 17th and 11th-placed finishes in his two Premier League seasons as boss.
The Villains miraculously stayed up by a point on their return to the top-flight, before spending big last summer and recording a mid-table finish as a result.
An exciting team starring Jack Grealish, alongside Ollie Watkins, John McGinn and England defender Tyrone Mings captured the hearts of many fans from the nation’s second city.
And with serious investment this summer – with over £100million spent on Danny Ings, Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey after the sale of Grealish to Manchester City – Villa were expected to break the top-half and push for a European spot.
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However with the club languishing in 16th and just two points off relegation, Smith has been sacked. And according to the Daily Mail, Gerrard is the man Villa owners want to replace him.
The report states that Villa will make a formal approach to Rangers to speak to the ex-Liverpool legend this week in a bid to have him appointed over the international break.
Owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have reportedly been impressed by the job he has done at Rangers, with the Liverpudlian having broken Celtic’s dominance of nine titles in a row in the league whilst also impressing in Europe.
Gerrard’s men have also taken scalps by beating teams such as Benfica, Braga, Galatasaray and Feyenoord – something Villa fans will hope he could repeat against the Premier League’s giants.
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It is likely he will not come on the cheap with his contract running out in 2024.
But if a proposal is made, it is suggested that Gerrard would be interested in a switch to the one-time European champions.
Rangers have slightly struggled this season but remain top of the Scottish Premiership and are still in the race to qualify from their European League group thus far.
Smith looked back with pride at a stint that he will be fondly remembered for by Villa fans.
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“My initial remit was to try and lead the club back to the Premier League within a two-year period,” Smith said.
“To be appointed the Head Coach of Aston Villa, the club I supported throughout my childhood, was and remains something I am extremely proud of.
“Sitting in 15th position in the Championship when I arrived in the October, managing to lead the team on a record-breaking ten-match winning run and into the play-offs, where we would eventually win promotion thanks to a memorable day at Wembley Stadium, was without doubt an achievement that I will always look back on with pride.”
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