Steven Gerrard has spoken of his respect for Jaap Stam ahead of Rangers’ opening Europa League clash with Feyenoord.
And Gerrard also enjoyed one of his most memorable nights in football against the Dutchman, when Liverpool came from three goals behind to beat AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005.
Now, the pair will renew their rivalry when Rangers host Stam’s Feyenoord on Thursday night.
Gerrard said: “I was lucky enough to play against him. He was a top player – one of the best defenders in the world when he was at his peak.
“Fortunately enough for me he switched off for one second in one game and I had one of the biggest moments of my career, but I’ve got nothing but respect for him as a player.
“I admire the fact that he’s gone into management and he’s testing himself and taking on all kinds of different challenges.
“He’s at home now, if you like, at Feyenoord, and you can see when you watch his team, his philosophy and his way of playing is very clear.”
Rangers will have their work cut out progressing to the knockout stages in a tough group with Feyenoord, Porto and Young Boys.
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The Gers failed to make it out of the group stages last season.
Gerrard added: “When the group was made it had a Champions League feel to it because of the level of opponents we’re going to be facing.
“You’ve always got to look to your home games. If we’ve got any ambitions or dreams to try and get out of this group – and that’s got to be the target because we’re not here to make the numbers up.
“We want to do everything we can to try and get out of the group. If we’re to do that we have to take maximum points at home.
“That will be tough because Feyenoord are a tough team. I know Jaap Stam quite well from his Reading days, I know how he tries to be very organised and play an attacking brand of football.
“So we’ll have to be at it if we’ve got any ambition to take maximum points.”