Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has named Xabi Alonso as his favourite ever midfield partner at Anfield.
Gerrard sat down with Mohamed Salah in a brilliant half-hour video released by LFCTV yesterday. In ‘When Stevie Met Salah,’ the two Reds icons chatted about a variety of Liverpool related topics.
Interested in knowing a little more about the players Stevie played alongside during his career, Mo asked him to name the best midfielder he shared a team with.
“The best I played with? I used to enjoy playing with Jordan [Henderson], because Jordan was very self-less, he was a leader, he’d do a lot of running for me and I was older at the time so I needed Jordan’s energy,” explained Gerrard.
“But if you’re talking about an individual player that I used to love was Xabi Alonso. Alonso used to allow me to play as a No.10. So, I could get more shots on goal, more goals, more assists.”
No surprises from Stevie
It isn’t a surprise to hear Stevie name Alonso as his favourite midfield partner. The former Liverpool captain played some of his best football with the Spaniard sitting just behind him.
As Gerrard says, Xabi’s ability to sit and dictate play from deep allowed him the freedom to roam further forward. That gave him the chance to build up a phenomenal partnership with Fernando Torres up-front.
Unfortunately, Alonso’s Liverpool career ended up being a lot shorter than it should have been. Angered by Rafa Benitez’s inexplicable desire to replace him with Gareth Barry, Xabi left for Real Madrid aged twenty-seven.
We got five years out of a Gerrard/Alonso partnership, but it really should have been so much longer. Alas, what can you do.
In football though, there’s always the chance of glorious returns. And although we’ll never see the two pull on shirts together competitively, perhaps the chance is there for a coaching partnership.
Gerrard’s ambition to be Liverpool manager one day is no secret. But given his struggles at Aston Villa, that now looks a real long-shot. Doing well with Bayer Leverkusen in his first shot at the top job, Alonso might be one to keep an eye on, though. If he ever does make the move to Anfield dug out, we’d love to see Stevie alongside him as assistant. You never know.
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