CHRIS SUTTON: Villa boss Gerrard picked up some pointers from Klopp

CHRIS SUTTON: Steven Gerrard picked up a few pointers from Jurgen Klopp and he could use a similar system to Liverpool at Aston Villa where he will be under huge pressure to deliver

  • Steven Gerrard delivered Rangers the title using a 4-3-3 system last season  
  • It was a style not too dissimilar to what has been seen with Jurgen Klopp’s side 
  • The Liverpool legend worked with the academy under Klopp before Rangers 
  • Aston Villa fans could expect a front three with two narrow inside forwards 

Steven Gerrard swept into Rangers, denied Celtic the 10 in a row, and did it using a 4-3-3 system not dissimilar to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. It’s clear that he picked up more than a few pointers while working with the academy under Klopp.

I’ve watched Rangers as much as anyone (when they let me into Ibrox, that is) and know their style. Gerrard hasn’t been a tinkerman in Scotland, so Aston Villa fans can look forward to a 4-3-3. 

That will involve a narrow front three with the two inside forwards staying close to the striker, much like how Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are in close proximity to Roberto Firmino. That leaves the full backs room to fly forward. 

Steven Gerrard worked under Jurgen Klopp before he left to take on the Rangers job

Gerrard picked up more than a few pointers coaching Liverpool’s academy

Rangers right back James Tavernier picked up nine assists last season, while left back Borna Barisic managed six. 

They are relentless and produce crosses galore, much like how Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson pride themselves on topping those charts.

Villa have the players to play Gerrard’s way. With Danny Ings, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and more, he can pick a very effective front three.  

Ollie Watkins could play on the left of a 4-3-3 system with Danny Ings down the centre

The Liverpool legend will be under huge pressure to deliver in his new job at Villa Park

Douglas Luiz can be his deep-lying midfielder, flanked by John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey. Full backs Matty Cash and Matt Targett are more than capable of charging upfield.

This will be a change for Gerrard. He’s left a club where he was expected to beat every opponent and so the challenge on a Saturday was often how you break down a low block. In the Premier League, he will now be trying to beat opponents who won’t just sit back — they’ll push up, so that’ll be a new test. 

I thought Dean Smith’s sacking was harsh but expectations at Villa seem high. They finished 11th last season and don’t see fighting for European football as an unrealistic ambition.

Gerrard is walking into a historically huge club and there will be pressure on him to deliver.

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