Steven Gerrard has showered praise on Liverpool’s Aussie rising star Brad Smith but believes he now must “fight” for his spot with Alberto Moreno in the Reds’ first team.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference before Thursday night’s Liverpool Legends versus Aussie Legends clash in Sydney, Gerrard also admitted he sees similarities between himself and Smith at the same age.
The 21-year-old defender and new Socceroo is trying to force his way into Liverpool’s first-team under manager Jurgen Klopp, impressing in a couple of substitute appearances this season.
For now Smith finds himself behind Spaniard Alberto Moreno for the left-back role but Gerrard has challenged the Aussie to make the position his own.
“He has loads of potential. I like Brad, he’s a really good guy certainly one for the future,” Gerrard said on Wednesday in Sydney.
“He’s got good competition in Moreno but he’s had some cameo appearances in the last couple of months and he’s done himself no harm at all. He’s done very well and he should be proud of himself.
“Now it’s time for Brad to push on and really take the fight to Moreno for that position.”
Gerrard recalls experiencing a similar situation to Smith at the start of his career, before going on to play more than 500 games in the Reds jersey and become a club legend.
“I was in a similar position at 18, 19 years of age where big players were in my position,” the former Reds skipper said.
“You have to take the fight to the player and let him know you want that position.
“Brad’s got too not think it’s all done, the hard work starts now for him.”
This is Gerrard’s second time in Australia after leading his club in 2013 and playing in front of 99,000 fans at the MCG against Melbourne Victory.
The 35-year-old has one year still to run on his contract with MLS club LA Galaxy and admits he’s open to the idea of playing in Australia in the future.
“You never say never. I’m getting asked a lot now ‘is it my last year and what’s next for Steven Gerrard?’,” he said.
“Who knows? Opportunities are going to arise over the next 12 months and we’ll have to wait and see.
“It’s a wonderful place, you could certainly get cosy and get used to living out here. It’s [Sydney] certainly a top city and one of the reasons why I decided to come along [for the legends clash] was because it was in Sydney.”