Steven Gerrard didn’t mince his words after Aston Villa’s Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.
The Liverpool legend couldn’t hide his emotions after the 1-0 loss at Villa Park with an interview in which he criticised the quality of questioning from Des Kelly quickly going viral.
Gerrard has done a solid job since swapping Glasgow for Birmingham and it couldn’t have been clearer during the awkward exchange on BT Sport what each and every game means to him.
Saka’s comments after Aston Villa win
However, the 41-year-old wasn’t finished making the back pages there because he also produced a head-turning answer when asked about Bukayo Saka calling for protection from the referee.
Arsenal’s match-winner was fouled three times in the Midlands and was generally on the receiving end of some hefty tackles, prompting Kelly to ask him about it during their post-match interview.
The England international revealed that he had told referee Andrew Madley about the treatment he was receiving from Villa players, informing him that he needed more protection sometimes.
According to Sky Sports, Saka explained: “I wasn’t complaining to the ref but I just wanted to let him know that that’s my game, running at players with pace, and sometimes I need a bit more protection when players are purposefully trying to kick me.”
Gerrard responds to Saka’s comments
Seems pretty innocent, right? Well, perhaps, but the situation escalated somewhat when Gerrard was informed about Saka’s comments during his own post-match media obligations.
According to Goal, Gerrard said in reaction to the interview: “He said we were too rough? They didn’t commit any fouls today?
“Listen, it’s part of the game. The last time I checked, it isn’t a no-contact sport. I think tackles are allowed, physicality is allowed, aggression is allowed.
“He (Saka) is a good player, an outstanding talent. I love him. But he can’t complain about that side of it. That’s football.
“I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips. I’ve had about 16 operations. I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment. That’s all on the back of earning a living in English football. He’ll learn and he’ll learn quick.”
Has Gerrard got it right or wrong?
Now that’s what you call an emphatic response.
There’s no denying that Gerrard loved a crunching tackle during his own playing career at Liverpool, both wiping out players and being on the receiving end of some questionable tackles himself.
However, the simple fact of the matter is that Premier League football has moved on since those more aggressive days and some fans have pointed out a potential hypocrisy in Gerrard’s comments.
While unearthing Gerrard’s previous quotes about facing Livingston can’t be directly compared given that a serious head injury provoked them, the moral of the story is that more than a few supporters are miffed.
So, what do you reckon: has the game gone or did Gerrard go in two-footed on Saka?