Speaking to MLSSoccer.com ahead of the match, Gerrard labelled the Ivorian a “world class talent” and warned that his defensive teammates would have to be at the top of their game to deal with his noted strength and aerial presence.
“I think you'd have to be careful and play Drogba very careful because he's very clever,” the ex-Reds skipper said. “His movement's good, he's very strong. It's important not to get into a fight with him because usually there's only one winner. So you have to play him cute and, you know, be aggressive with him at the right times and try not to give set pieces away around the box because he's clinical from there as well.”
The 37-year-old forward certainly showed how dangerous he could be last Sunday on his first MLS start, when he scored the perfect hat-trick – left foot, right foot and header – to fire the Canadian outfit to a 4-3 comeback win over the Chicago Fire.
“I know a lot of people from the outside talk about age in this game,” added Gerrard. “But, for me, it's only a number, and he looked very good [against Chicago]. His start was really good and I'm sure he's going to be aiming to build on that.”
Drogba managed to get the better of Gerrard the last time the pair met in Chelsea’s 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool in January, but the Galaxy ace is certainly the favourite to come out on top on this occasion.
While LA are coming off a 1-0 defeat at California rivals San Jose Earthquakes, the MLS Cup holders have scored 43 goals in their last nine home games – 27 in six league encounters – and can retake top spot in the Western Conference with a win over Montreal.
The Impact, meanwhile, sacked head coach Frank Klopas last month after a four-game winless streak but the recent result against Chicago under interim boss Mauro Biello has moved back them into the sixth and final play-off spot in the East, with 31 points from 24 matches.
Having lacked a reliable goalscorer for most of the campaign, Drogba’s summer arrival has given their post-season hopes an enormous boost and, with up to four games in hand on the four teams below them due to their CONCACAF Champions League campaign, the coming weeks could see a significant gap open up between them and the chasers.
With star centre-back Laurent Ciman suspended for the trip to LA, though, leaving a makeshift backline to face the likes of Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes, picking up even a point this weekend will prove a tough ask – unless their new prized front man can work his magic again.