Gerrard slams ‘integrity’ accusations, but admits Villa helping Liverpool would be ‘fantastic’

Steven Gerrard Aston Villa May 2022

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has slammed pre-match talk that he is only looking to help Liverpool win the Premier League title on Sunday.

Former Liverpool great Gerrard takes his Villa side to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a match which could have huge bearing at the top. Should Villa take points off Manchester City and Liverpool beat Wolves, the Reds would be champions.

However, Gerrard is not the only feature in the Liverpool-related narrative at Villa ahead of Sunday’s final matchday.

Former Anfield stars Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings are in the West Midlands club’s ranks too.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, though, Gerrard insisted that his focus is only on Villa. Nevertheless, he did admit that indirectly helping out his former side would be “fantastic”.

“It is disappointing when people mention integrity and aim it towards me or Aston Villa or any of my players,” the manager said.

“We’ll go out at the weekend and give it everything we’ve got to try and get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic, but my priority is to try and get points for Aston Villa.

“We’ve got three massive points to play for, we’ve got an opportunity to finish the season on a high. It would be nice if we can reward our supporters with something at the weekend.

“In terms of Liverpool, I totally understand and respect the external noise and the questions that have been coming my way for some time. They’re involved in a title race and I spent a lot of time there.”

Villa themselves are looking to finish their season with a win. They are currently 14th and were two places lower when Gerrard took over in November.

However, they have not won in three matches and could finish as high as 10th.

Gerrard deflects Liverpool, Man City talk

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard shaking hands with Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker

Still, all the focus is on Villa‘s potential role in the title race. And Gerrard has insisted that either Liverpool or Man City are worthy winners.

“When I played there [at Liverpool] it was a lot of talk about the top four and for a period that became a top six,” he said.

“But I think it has become quite clear in the last two or three years with Jurgen and Pep’s consistency since Jose [Mourinho] left – he finished second at 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 being back in the Premier League, they have been the two best sides by far we have faced.

“One tries to hurt you with positional play and possession and one tries to hurt you with speed and intensity. They are both extremely consistent and have got top managers.

“They have both recruited extremely well over a period of time and had a lot of time to work with the team so it is no surprise that they get the results that they do.”

Villa ran City close in their reverse fixture in December, eventually losing 2-1 to the champions.