Chelsea fans gave Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard a standing ovation after years of abuse, but the Liverpool legend drew one last dig in return
| Today Headlines | Fox News
No matter how deep, beneath every footballing rivalry hides a thin layer of respect.
For Chelsea, Steven Gerrard was at the top of the enemies, right next to Tottenham and Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo.
He personified a war between the Blues and Liverpool that prevailed during his career, as the two clubs seemed to meet in the Champions League every season.
Perhaps it was the fact that many considered him better than Chelsea hero Frank Lampard, or because he ultimately rejected the chance to sign for Jose Mourinho’s side in 2005, despite his baggage at the origin.
And it must be said, for all his exceptional brilliance in a Liverpool shirt, Gerrard has become an easy target for the Stamford Bridge faithful.
It all started with an own goal in the 2005 Carling Cup final, with many suggesting at the time that the midfielder was simply opening his account for Chelsea.
Five years later, Gerrard would claim an assist for the Blues, with a sloppy back pass that saw Didier Drogba score in a 2-0 win, which saw them take the 2009/10 title.
But Gerrard and Chelsea’s relationship will forever be defined by one moment: the slippage in 2014.
As Chelsea fans have said so eloquently, and still sing to this day: “He slipped on his f ****** a ***, he gave it to Demba Ba, that will will.”
The following season, when Gerrard played his last game at Stamford Bridge, that song echoed for 79 minutes.
But just as he has done over the years, the Reds legend gave as much as he could, scoring Liverpool’s equalizer in a 1-1 draw.
Then one of those transcendent sporting moments happened when he was replaced.
Led by Mourinho, Chelsea fans rose to cheer Gerrard off the pitch, purposefully exposing that thin layer of respect that was there from the start.
For Gerrard, however, all that remained was resentment, mixed with a bit of joke.
Asked about the reception, Gerrard said: “I was happier with the ovation from the Liverpool fans.
“The Chelsea fans had respect for a few seconds today but slaughtered me the whole game.
“I’m not going to get dragged into wishing Chelsea fans good luck. It was nice of them to introduce themselves for once today.
Gerrard will face Chelsea for the first time since the day his Aston Villa team welcomed Thomas Tuchel and co. the day after Christmas.
Six years have they done something to cool his hatred of the Blues? It seems so.
He said at a press conference on Wednesday: “A lot has happened, but for me it’s a lot of water under the bridges.
“I’m sure I’m going to push the Chelsea fans away a bit, but I’m sure looking forward to it, it’s part of the jokes of the game.
“But it’s not about me and my playing days against Chelsea, it’s a lot about Aston Villa and Chelsea, which is completely different.”
Aston Villa vs Chelsea is live on talkSPORT at 5:30 p.m. Boxing Day
Breaking News Updates News Today Chelsea fans gave Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard a standing ovation after years of abuse, but the Liverpool legend drew one last dig in return