Rafael Benitez is convinced Steven Gerrard is dreaming of managing Liverpool one day as he prepares to launch the latest phase of his career.
The 37-year-old, who was the Spaniard’s captain at Anfield when they won the Champions League in 2005, has been linked with the vacancy at Glasgow Rangers having taken his first steps in coaching with Liverpool’s academy.
Benitez believes the former midfielder will have his eyes set on the hot seat at his home-town club as a long-term goal, but only after proving himself as a manager.
Asked if Gerrard could end up as Liverpool boss, the 58-year-old said: “Yes, maybe. I think in his head, it will be that. But it depends how he is doing in his career.”
Benitez is confident Gerrard’s football intelligence, coupled with what he has learned from the managers he has worked under, will serve him well should he choose to launch his career in earnest at Ibrox.
He said: “His understanding of the game is good. He has had different managers, foreign managers, British managers, so he will have seen different visions, which is important.
“I have been in three different countries as a manager, so when you play in your country, you have the visions of your coaches, the style you play in your country. When you go to another country, everything is different.
“For him to have different coaches with different ideas, I’m sure, has been positive.”
The fact that Gerrard has chosen to develop his coaching skills away from the glare of first-team football could also work in his favour, although Benitez admits the step up may come as a shock.
He said: “It depends on each one. Not too many top-class players can be managers just like this. You have to have a very good team – sometimes you can do almost nothing and win.
“I’m sure he would like to coach, to manage Liverpool in the future, but because he has this chance now, he has an opportunity to go to another place and learn and see the problems you have as a manager.
“I’m sure it will be positive for him.”