Jamie Carragher has played down the narrative that Steven Gerrard is manager-in-waiting for Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp leaves the club.
Liverpool will appoint Gerrard only on merit - Carragher
The English pundit believes the new Aston Villa manager is not a shoo-in to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager
Many believe that Gerrard's recent appointment as Aston Villa coach is a dress rehearsal for the top job at Anfield Stadium, where the former midfielder enjoys legendary status.
However, Carragher has dismissed the notion that Gerrard would be a shoo-in for the job when Klopp steps away (presumably when the German's contract expires in 2024). Instead, the pundit believes that Gerrard has a huge task ahead at Villa Park, with some critics still doubting if the job has come too soon.
"Gerrard now faces similar obstacles to those he overcame in Glasgow, with cynics wondering if it is too soon for him to be entrusted with such a huge job," Carragher wrote in his column in The Telegraph.
Gerrard's former teammate believes the 41-year-old has to earn his stripes at Aston Villa first, and would only be considered for the job at Anfield on merit.
Carragher continued: "There is also the complication of many seeing him as continuing an apprenticeship until Klopp says farewell to Anfield and Gerrard makes his emotional return.
"Maybe that will happen one day, but I can promise you this: Steven Gerrard will only ever want to become Liverpool manager on merit. And the Liverpool supporters will only want him to become Liverpool manager on those terms, not because of some kind of romantic homecoming."
"Gerrard's connection is an advantage" - Carragher
The former defender admitted that Gerrard's status at the Merseyside club would be an advantage if he was in contention to be appointed, but believes the club's hierarchy will ultimately take the best decision when shopping for a new manager.
"When Klopp goes, Liverpool will only employ the best man for the job, as they did when making their last appointment in 2015. Gerrard's connection is an advantage if the day comes when he is a serious candidate. Until then, it is a subject overplayed and should not be on the agenda right now," Carragher wrote.
The English pundit gave a vote of confidence on the former Glasgow manager, stating that his professionalism and aura will be instrumental in turning Villa into a side to be reckoned with again.
"As with everything he has done since becoming my teammate in 1999, and then captain for the majority of my career, his sole professional focus will be on the task at hand - in this case turning Villa into a Premier League force again. His presence around the club, the aura he has and the demands he places upon himself - and expects of others - could be transformative," Carragher concluded.
Steven Gerrard was appointed as Aston Villa's new head coach on Thursday, replacing Dean Smith in the Villans role. The former Liverpool captain joins the Premier League side on the back of a successful reign at Scottish side Glasgow Rangers, where he led the team to its first Scottish Premiership title in ten years.
Gerrard's first game in the Premier League will be at home against Brighton on Saturday November 20, 2021.