Gerrard Relishes Liverpool’s Return to Uefa Champions League

Uefa European Champions League football returns to Anfield for the first time since 2009, as Liverpool entertains Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad in their opening Group B fixture on Tuesday.

The 2013/14 Premier League runners-up last featured on the biggest stage in Europe’s club football in a 2-1 home defeat by Fiorentina in December 2009, and has since then struggled on the domestic front.

This season will mark a decade since Steven Gerrard inspired the ‘Reds’ to a fifth European Cup triumph. The Liverpool captain insists memories of their struggle up to the historic final in Istanbul, Turkey, is forever etched in his subconscious and can’t wait to get back in the same atmosphere that has become an unfamiliar territory for as many years.

Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are the Only Two Surviving Members from the Reds' Last Outing in the Champions League. Image: Liverpool via Getty.
Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are the Only Two Surviving Members from the Reds’ Last Outing in the Champions League. Image: Liverpool via Getty.

“The way the game went and the journey we went on during that season it’s no surprise to me that people are still making films about it nine and a half years later,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echoe.

“It’s memories that will go to the grave with me. Not just the final but the journey we went on.

“There has almost been a jealousy and an envy that we weren’t involved. Watching the likes of Chelsea and Man United in it when we were finishing outside the top four was tough. I’ve been craving it.

“I’m just glad it’s finally here. It’s reward for all the hard work last season.

“Everyone is looking forward to hearing that music. We need to enjoy it but we’re not in it to make the numbers up. We want to do as well as we can.”

Brendan Rodgers has already revealed in-form winger Raheem Sterling will return to his starting XI in what will be the England international’s maiden Champions League experience. The Merseysiders lost at home to Aston Villa in the domestic campaign on Saturday without their injured striker Daniel Sturridge.

Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early strike broke the hosts’ back and, despite maintaining possession throughout the game were hard-donned by the Midland club’s unyielding defence.

A win over Ludogorets, who are making their debut appearance in Europe’s top-tier competition would be Liverpool’s 100th in the European Cup and Rodgers believes his squad will respond.

“We have to move on. Our focus now goes straight to Tuesday night,” the northern Irish boss told the club’s official website.

“It will be a wonderful occasion for us to be back in Champions League football and hopefully getting over [the Villa result] by getting a win in the first group game.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here