Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Gerrard jokingly digs out Klopp over ‘north v south’ Prem All-Stars idea, but can’t help predicting winner

Steven Gerrard, September 2022

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has teased that he would’ve liked to have played in an All-Stars Premier League match, before admitting concerns over the idea.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly raised eyebrows earlier this month with his suggestion of a ‘north’ v ‘south’ clash. The La Dodgers co-owner claimed that such a high-brow event – as seen with MLB’s All-Star game – would raise money for the football pyramid.

Boehly, who is new to English football following his Chelsea takeover alongside a consortium in May, set tongues wagging as to whether the idea would work across the pond.

TEAMtalk has indeed taken a look at how the teams would line-up, with Erling Haaland and Harry Kane among the Premier League stars to feature.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and pundit Ally McCoist were some of the fiercest critics of Boehly’s idea.

Villa manager Gerrard admitted for a second that he would like to see the idea. However, he put his manager’s head back on and insisted the game would not work in the current landscape.

“Well look, I see Jurgen trying to put cold water on it and I’d quite like to watch it,” former Liverpool midfielder Gerrard told reporters with a smile.

“I would’ve liked to have played in one… no I’m only joking. Listen, I think the calendar is busy enough, we’ve all got enough to focus on.

“It’s a nice outside-the-box idea, it’s a nice thought, but for me, I think we’ve got enough to focus on.”

Gerrard predicts north v south winner

Gerrard nevertheless admitted he would “have the popcorn out” if a north v south ever went ahead.

And he could not help making a prediction as to who would win.

“The north would win it – because Liverpool and [Manchester] City are the two strongest teams in the league in my opinion,” he said.

Klopp – a fierce critic of international breaks and player welfare – had to ask twice if Boehly raised the proposition of an All-Stars game on top of the current demands on players.

Schedule busy enough in 2022/23

This season, the Premier League started at its earliest-ever point. At the back end of the campaign, the Champions League final takes place in Istanbul on June 10.

In between, matches are being crammed into tighter schedules ahead of a winter break for the Qatar World Cup.

The Champions League group stages are taking place over nine weeks instead of the usual 12. And the Europa League group stages will take place over eight weeks.

But, the passing of the Queen has raised further concerns over the fixture list. The Premier League shut down last weekend as a mark of respect, with three matches off this weekend due to policing concerns ahead of Her Majesty’s funeral on Monday.

Meanwhile, there has been a domino effect at Arsenal over their fixtures. Policing concerns moved Thursday’s Europa League tie with PSV Eindhoven to October 20.

Indeed, UEFA requires completion of all group stage matches in its competitions before the World Cup.

But the new date has meant the Premier League has to find a new date for Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City, originally scheduled for October 19.