Watch: Mourinho Praises “Favourite Enemy” Steven Gerrard

Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard will move to America’s MLS at the end of this season. 

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File picture of Chelsea manager Mourinho shaking hands with Liverpool captain Gerrard after their Champions League semi-final first leg soccer match on April 27, 2005. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (Photo: Reuters)

Jose Mourinho gets a final chance to outwit a player he calls his “favourite enemy” on Sunday when Steven Gerrard leads Liverpool out at Stamford Bridge for the last time before he heads off to join LA Galaxy.

With Liverpool’s players expected to form a pre-match guard of honour for the newly-crowned Premier League champions, Mourinho paid his own tribute to the inspirational Liverpool skipper he says helped forge him into one of best managers in the business.

“It’s opponents like Steven Gerrard that have made me the manager I am,” a relaxed Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“I learn with my own players and I learn with my best opponents by the problems they give me, the way they make me think and analyse them and to study the best way to play against them. Steven Gerrard is one of my favourite enemies.

“For sure he is my dear enemy and for sure the one that made me a better manager. To try to stop him has been very, very difficult. I lost against him, I won against him, I drew, was happy, was sad, I played against him as a holding midfielder, as a number 10, coming in from the wing.

“I’m very sad that’s it’s the last time I play against him because I need people like him to make me better.”

Gerrard, The One Team Man

Mourinho said he respects Gerrard for devoting virtually his entire career to Liverpool, even if it meant his attempts to sign the former England captain proved futile.

“I tried to bring him to Chelsea, to Inter, to Real Madrid but he was always a dear enemy,” he said.

“I want to honour him and I hope that Stamford Bridge has the same feeling that I have.

“He’s had an amazing career and has amazing feeling with his people. He refused to play for other big clubs and big leagues.

“Maybe I’ll play against him as Liverpool manager one day.”

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