Blues supporters still taunt the Liverpool captain about his fateful slip in last season’s title race but the Portuguese believes the 34-year-old deserves better
Jose Mourinho has told Chelsea fans to show Steven Gerrard some respect in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
Gerrard has long been a target for Blues supporters, having been the enduring symbol of Liverpool from the moment the rivalry between the two clubs began to intensify during Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge.
But the relentless abuse faced by the former England international has ramped up since last season’s Premier League title run-in, when he slipped and gifted the ball to Demba Ba for the opening goal of a game that saw Chelsea deal Liverpool’s hopes of a first league title since 1990 a devastating blow.
Chelsea fans have created a mocking chant about the incident, but Mourinho insists he doesn’t want to hear it when the two sides face off in the first of a two-legged clash for a place at Wembley on Tuesday.
“He’s a historic player for Liverpool, a historic player for the Premier League,” the Blues boss told reporters. “He’s an opponent I always admired and respected. There is a song that my fans have that I don’t like at all.
“A couple of times it’s good fun but to go and go and go, especially when a player like him deserves respect, we don’t need that.”
Earlier this month Gerrard confirmed he will leave Liverpool at the end of this season to join MLS champions LA Galaxy, prompting many to take stock of the 34-year-old’s remarkable career.
Following Chelsea’s impressive 5-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, Mourinho allowed himself to wonder what might have been had Gerrard not spurned the chance to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2005.
“I was dreaming of Claude Makelele, Gerrard and Frank Lampard,” he added.
“We were playing in an open triangle without a No 10, we were playing with Maka in front of the defenders and me and Mr Abramovich and Peter Kenyon were dreaming of that.
“We did everything to get him. It was almost there. But the decision for me was proven right because he will be always a red forever. Gerrard’s people were open to it and the feeling to join a top side like Chelsea, I think the feeling was there but to me personally he never said ‘I will go’.
“I love these quotes when he was saying that in this life he would never score against Liverpool. I understand why he was almost coming to Chelsea and he didn’t.”