Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has been disappointed by questions over his side’s integrity ahead of their season-ending clash with Manchester City.
It means Gerrard, a Liverpool great, has the chance to do his old club a huge favour. Should City drop points against Villa on Sunday, then a win for the Reds over Wolves would ensure the Premier League title is theirs.
Villa hosted Liverpool last week, with some doubts raised over how Gerrard would approach that game, but the Reds were pushed hard before ultimately triumphing 2-1.
Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings started on the bench on Thursday in Villa’s final home game of the season – a 1-1 draw with Burnley – with both players coming on in the final 20 minutes.
Those questions, however, have frustrated Gerrard.
“In terms of Liverpool, I totally understand and respect the external noise and the questions that have been coming my way for some time,” the former England midfielder told a news conference.
“They’re involved in a title race, and I spent a lot of time there. It is disappointing when people mention integrity and aim it towards me or Aston Villa or any of my players.
“We’ll go out at the weekend and give it everything we’ve got to try to get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic.”
City have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Villa (D1), including the last six in a row, while Villa have lost 15 of their last 16 trips to the Etihad Stadium in the league, losing each of their last 11 on the bounce since a 2-0 win in 2007.
Speaking of facing City and Liverpool, Gerrard said: “In terms of my experience being back in the Premier League, they have been the two best sides by far that we have faced.
“Very different – one tries to hurt you with positional play and possession and one tries to hurt you with speed and intensity.
“They are both extremely consistent and have got top managers. They have both recruited extremely well over a period of time and had a lot of time to work with the team so it is no surprise that they get the results that they do.”
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