Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he’d no intention of contacting club great Steven Gerrard to offer words of encouragement before the climax to a thrilling Premier League title race this weekend.
Klopp’s much-changed side beat Southampton 2-1 on Tuesday to move just one point behind leaders Manchester City with one match to play.
Liverpool, seeking to become champions for the second time in three seasons, complete their campaign at home to Wolves on Sunday, hoping an Aston Villa team now managed by Gerrard can do them a major favour away to City.
Klopp is confident Villa, who also host relegation-threatened Burnley on Thursday, have sufficient motivation of their own to pull off a shock result at the Etihad Stadium.
“No, of course not,” replied the German, when asked if he planned to speak with former Liverpool captain Gerrard.
“Stevie prepares now for Burnley, who are fighting for everything. It’s Villa’s last home game. They will play that game and then collect the bones (freshen up) and go again on Sunday.
“There’s no reason to talk to him. We all know that Villa wants to win because Villa wants to win — that’s it.”
Klopp made nine changes to his side at St Mary’s following Saturday’s gruelling FA Cup final win over Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
Liverpool fell behind against Southampton to Nathan Redmond’s superb early opener but equalised through Takumi Minamino before Joel Matip headed a crucial second-half winner.
Victory kept alive Liverpool’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple, with the Reds having already lifted both domestic cups ahead of a Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.
Matchwinner Matip said the team must not become distracted by events elsewhere.
“We can only look at our game,” he told Liverpool’s website. “It will be tough enough to play against Wolves and our full concentration is on Wolves — that’s the only thing we can change and that’s what we are doing.
“It will be hard enough and if our head is somewhere else that would make it even more of a tough challenge.”