LOS ANGELES • Steven Gerrard has warned Frank Lampard to be ready for "war", as the former Liverpool and Chelsea midfield adversaries prepare to lock horns for their Major League Soccer sides.
Gerrard's Los Angeles Galaxy and Lampard's New York City FC meet in Carson, United States, today in a game being hyped as the most star-studded clash in MLS history, between two of the league's big-spending sides.
The Galaxy's StubHub Centre will be the backdrop for one of the last meetings between Gerrard and Lampard, who regularly featured in the fierce rivalry that developed between English clubs Liverpool and Chelsea over the last decade.
Gerrard, who joined the Galaxy in July, played down suggestions that today's game would be a personal duel with former England midfield partner Lampard, who remains a friend off the pitch.
Promotional posters styled the contest as a boxing bout, billing the meeting as "The British Invasion" and featuring Gerrard and Lampard against a Union Jack.
The 35-year-old admitted, however, that no quarter would be given against Lampard and his City team-mates. "I'm sure Frank agrees it's slightly embarrassing to have all the focus on you when it's Los Angeles Galaxy versus New York," Gerrard said on Friday.
"It's about the game and the three points. But we understand it - we've played together for so many years. (The rivalry) it's real. So, if Frank plays... we become enemies, and when the game's over we become friends again."
Gerrard and Lampard have faced each other on 33 occasions, with Lampard winning 15 to 11.
However, the 37-year-old Lampard has endured a patchy start to his MLS career, with injuries restricting his appearances.
Gerrard has steadily settled into California since arriving last month, making five starts and scoring a goal in a thrilling win over the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico on July 17.
He said he was taken by surprise at the standard of the MLS, stating the Galaxy would give a good account of themselves if they were playing in English competitions.
"For sure," he said. "The level is a lot stronger than what other people suggested when I came. I've been really surprised. We've got a very good team here, I'm playing for the champions and they know how to win."