I am not going to get drawn into wishing Chelsea fans well: Steven Gerrard
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard played down the significance of Chelsea fans' applause for him.
Steven Gerrard was substituted in the second half of the game against Chelsea, as the game was reaching its final stages. As he left the pitch, everyone in the stadium, Chelsea fans, manager, staff and players included recognised the gravity of the moment.
Their “dear enemy” who almost joined them in 2005 was leaving the Stamford Bridge pitch for the last time as a Liverpool player. The crowd applauded the one they had sung about many times, often taunting him and reminding him of his monumental “slip” against the Blues at Anfield last year.
Everyone including Chelsea fans, staff, manager and players recognised the Liverpool captain as he went off the field. Of course, once the moment had past, hostilities resumed.
Speaking after the game, Gerrard said, “I was more happy with the ovation from the Liverpool fans.
“Chelsea fans have had respect for a couple of seconds today but have slaughtered me all game.
“I'm not going to get drawn into wishing Chelsea fans well. It was nice of them to turn up for once today.”
Speaking further about the bittersweet moment, he added: “It was a nice touch. I know they've absolutely murdered me for years because I never signed here. I've had great support from the Liverpool fans - that's all that matters to me.”
The Liverpool captain also appreciated Jose Mourinho, saying, “I have huge respect for him. He's the best manager in the world. I would have signed for him on three occasions if I wasn't such a big Liverpool fan.
“He's the reason my head was turned on a couple of occasions but he knew why I couldn't do it, because I love Liverpool Football Club. It always means more when you win for your people.”
In turn, Jose Mourinho who had previously waxed lyrical about Gerrard in the pre-match press conference, added to his earlier comments.
“I'm so happy with the ovation,” said Mourinho. “The negative song Chelsea fans sing for him is respect for an old, dear enemy that fought so much against us in every competition.
“After that, the standing applause is amazing. To get it at Anfield, he gets it week-in week-out, year after year, but away from home it shows a lot.”
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers also acknowledged the gesture from the fans of a club where he has previously been a part of, he said, “Steven's taken a lot of stick here over the years, but Chelsea's supporters have recognised him as a superstar player and they showed their appreciation. It was nice for him to get that ovation.”