With a lot being made of the confrontation between Steven Gerrard and Genaro Gattuso in the Champions League Final tomorrow evening, the war of words has yet to slow down.
With Gerrard poised to sign a new deal committing himself to Liverpool for the rest of his career, ironic considering it was in the aftermath of their last Champions League triumph, against Milan in Istanbul two years ago, that Gerrard handed in a transfer request. The focus of this years final has been on the two midfield power houses, and the slagging match that has erupted between the two. While Gerrard appears to be taking the high ground as the final approaches it is worth remembering that the situation arose because of comments that he made in his recent autobiography that were not to flattering on Gattuso. Gerrard recently said
I am worried about AC Milan generally and I am worried about myself. My main
focus is to get myself right. But if I can do that, we will see if Gattuso can
“If my form is right and I feel good I am confident I can overcome
anything Milan put in my way.
“We take no notice of the mind games. This
final is not about that, it is about two fantastic teams and I am sure the best
one on the night will win it.
“It is part and parcel of football that there
will be a lot of stuff said around the game. The players have learned to cope
So while Gerrard seems to be taking the sting out of the battle between him and Gattuso by suggesting that it is all of Milan that he will be worried about, he cant help by adding “we will see if Gattuso can stop me.” This seems to suggest that Gattuso is still on his mind, and rightly so, Gattuso will thrive on all that has gone on before, and will have a point to prove to the Liverpool captain. Gerrard, who tends to either drive the team on with an immovable force, or to be lost and anonymous in games, has picked a foe that may just prove to strong for him. While he may not hurt Liverpool with a killer pass or a goal, he will disrupt their play, tackle hard, and put himself about, while at the same time giving Kaka the freedom to really hurt Liverpool.
Gerrard may have his opinions, he may actually believe what he is saying, or it could all be mind games, but in Gattuso, I cant help but think Gerrard may come up short this time.