Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard admits their rivalry with Chelsea has bordered on “hatred”.

The Reds meet Chelsea tonight.

Gerrard told BT Sport: “I think the rivalry was bigger than what people thought. For me, being a Liverpool player and a Liverpool fan, to get any kind of success at some stage we had to knock Chelsea out.

“They were the most powerful team, but became the most powerful team and club financial wise but also the player influx. For us to get any kind of success we knew we had to get the better of them.

“I think from 2003, the League Cup Final, that’s when it started for us, all the way to my final couple of seasons, Chelsea almost became next to Man United as the big two for us. Some incredible battles.

“It’s strange really. You come out and see each other in the tunnel, there’s been no banter or texts before, it’s all business.

“You have that token gesture handshake in the tunnel and you don’t really mean much about it. You’re in that zone and its anything to get over the line. And the friendships are out of the window.

“It’s almost like hatred for 90 minutes. The feeling you get in your body is weird but as soon as the final whistle you need to go back straight away to being respectful. Obviously it’s a lot more difficult when on the losing end. “