Gerrard 'can be good manager'

Retired Liverpool players Patrik Berger (second from left) and Vladimir Smicer showing they are good Czech-mates with fans, in a game to burst balloons at a meet-and-greet session at Courts Megastore.
Retired Liverpool players Patrik Berger (second from left) and Vladimir Smicer showing they are good Czech-mates with fans, in a game to burst balloons at a meet-and-greet session at Courts Megastore.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Ex-Reds duo Berger, Smicer say club icon will do well if he's as passionate as in playing days

They are proud of their association with Steven Gerrard - once they were his team-mates and he was their captain.

For former Liverpool stars Patrik Berger and Vladimir Smicer, they believe that the just-retired Reds star will make a good boss "if he is as passionate a manager as he was a player".

Gerrard, 36, announced his retirement on Thursday, after spending 19 years at Liverpool till last year, including 12 as the first-team captain.

Said Berger, 43, who was with Liverpool from 1996 to 2003: "He was great on the offence and defence, at scoring and creating goals... he had everything."

Smicer, also 43, added: "I always felt more comfortable when he was on the pitch because I knew we'd have a good chance to win the games. The opposition side always had more respect when they knew Stevie G was playing. They knew it was going to be tougher for them."

But the Czech, who played for the Reds from 1999 to 2005, warned of the challenges that lie ahead should Gerrard decide to take on a managerial role.

"He would be under more pressure as a manager than a player because, as a player, you just look after yourself, but as a manager you have 25 players to look after. The pressure to achieve results is massive," he said.

Berger agreed that managing a club was a tough job, saying: "As a manager, if you want to do it right, you're not going home after training. You analyse what you're going to do the next day and the opponents you're going to play against - there's so much to do.

"If (Gerrard) really puts 100 per cent into it, then I think he can really be a good manager."

The Czech duo were at a meet-and-greet session at Courts Megastore in Tampines, as part of the store's 10th anniversary celebrations. They signed autographs and took photos with over 200 fans, including five Straits Times contest winners.

They were also chatty about their old club's current form, as Liverpool have started the season in fine fettle, scoring goals with aplomb and even leading the English Premier League earlier this month.

Said Berger: "Maybe they need to improve defensively, but the good thing is even if they had conceded quite a lot of goals so far, they were always able to score two or three more than the opposition.

"If they can play like this until the end of the season, they have a really big chance to win the league."

Smicer, who scored the decisive penalty for Liverpool to win the Champions League in 2005, praised his former club's offensive power and named Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge as players "who are all great assets to the team".

"They're really good offensively and scoring goals," he added. "I think Jurgen Klopp is a great manager; he had success with Dortmund and we all hope that he brings the same success to Liverpool.

"We've already beaten teams such as Chelsea, so we have shown our strengths and hope that, fingers crossed, we can win this season."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 27, 2016, with the headline 'Gerrard 'can be good manager''. Print Edition | Subscribe