Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hailed Steven Gerrard as a “champion” as he prepares to face the Liverpool captain for what is likely to be the last time.
Liverpool visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday, trying to upset the newly crowned Premier League champions and boost their own bid to achieve a top-four finish.
And with Gerrard set to depart Anfield for LA Galaxy at the end of the season after over 16 years in Liverpool’s first-team squad, Mourinho – a long-time admirer of the midfielder – heaped praise on the former England captain.
“Speaking of Liverpool, it’s my time to honour a champion, to honour Steven Gerrard,” Mourinho said on Friday.
“It’s because of opponents like him, I am the manager I am. I learn from the best opponents, with the problems they give.
“It’s the way they make me think, the way they make me analyse them. Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite enemies.
“I tried to bring him to Chelsea, tried to bring him to Inter, tried to bring him to Real Madrid.
“I’m very sad this is the last time I play against him. It’s people like him make me a very good coach. I’m sad.
“Who knows, maybe I play against Steven when he is Liverpool manager one day.”
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