Steven Gerrard reveals message from Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool legend sets out to take Aston Villa into Europe

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Steven Gerrard reveals message from Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool legend sets out to take Aston Villa into Europe
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Steven Gerrard wants to take Aston Villa back into European football after taking his first job as a Premier League manager.

The Liverpool legend agreed a three-and-a-half year contract at Villa Park having left Rangers, where he had been in charge since 2018.

Villa suffered five successive Premier League defeats before deciding to axe former manager Dean Smith, who has already replaced Daniel Farke at Norwich.

Gerrard insists his focus is on getting back to winning ways, but added that returning to European football is a long-term goal with Aston Villa.

"Success in football is always about winning football matches, first and foremost," said Gerrard. "Long term, the club would like to be back on a European level, I don't think now is the right time to put any date on that.

"For me more importantly, it is about focusing on the short-term, which is Brighton at the weekend. We need to start winning football matches again."

The former England international, who was a youth coach at Liverpool before setting up to management, also revealed that he has already received a message from Reds boss Jurgen Klopp. Villa travel to Anfield next month.

"I've been in touch with Klopp," said Gerrard. "I bump into him when he walks his dogs.

"He sent me a message saying he is looking forward to a big hug on the side when Villa play Liverpool next month."

Asked about his decision to leave Rangers, Gerrard said: "It was a difficult decision and I certainly left with a heavy heart. I built some fantastic relationships at Rangers, it's a club I have got immense respect for.

 (PA)
(PA)

"I was given a remit three-and-a-half years ago, we went on a journey and we completed that remit."

Gerrard was speaking alongside Villa chief executive, Christian Purslow, who has backed the 41-year-old to "reignite" the club.

"We set in place a five-year plan, the mantra of that plan is that we must be improving," said Purslow. "Improving our performances, our results, and our finishing position.

“We're three years into that journey, I think Steven's arrival will reignite the club and push us forward. That stage, playing in Europe, is something that is an exciting dreams for our fans. What we expect and what Steven has promised to deliver is continuous improvement."

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League, two points above the bottom three, and Gerrard's first game in charge comes at home to Brighton on Saturday.

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