Sunday’s showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool is more than just another match. It is a farewell match for Steven Gerrard from both ends. Liverpool will be bidding the 34 year-old goodbye at the end of the season, and Chelsea will be having an enemy of the special one, play against them in the Liverpool colours for the last time. And as both teams meet, Jose Mourinho says of him,
“I am very happy that he didn’t move because in the end it’s an amazing career and an amazing feeling with his people that he refused to play for other big clubs and in other big Leagues. This is a feeling that stays forever and who knows I may play against him as Liverpool manager one day.”
Mourinho had tried to sign the midfield maestro thrice. First during his first stay with Chelsea and while he was at Inter-Milan and Real Madrid. But every time, the deal always fell through. The Portuguese says ahead of the game that Gerrard made him a better coach,
“My dear enemy, he has made me a better manager because to stop him has been very difficult. I am very sad this is the last time I will face him.”
The history between both won’t fade away easily. Chelsea were responsible for dashing his hopes of his only premiership title last season, and he was responsible for eliminating them from the semifinals of the UEFA champions league in 2005 and 2007.
If Gerrard had signed for Chelsea in 04, he would have won 3 EPL titles by now, and Mourinho would have had his chance to effectively pair him with Lampard – something most England coaches had problems with. He says of that,
“I always thought that both were the best two number eights in Europe. In my opinion and my vision with them you don’t play a number 10, you play with one number six and give the freedom to the two number eights because they score more goals than any number 10. So Lampard with 30 goals a season from midfield and Gerrard with 25, they score more goals together than a No 10 and the striker.”
As the “testimonial” takes place on Sunday, Mourinho will always dream of what a Gerrard in blue would have been like. But that isn’t ever going to happen.