When Steven Gerrard departed his role as Liverpool under-18 manager in the summer of 2018 to join Rangers, the move was viewed as a risk by many.
Two and a half years on, with a contract extension signed until 2024 on the same day that Jurgen Klopp extended his deal to the same year at Liverpool, Gerrard’s decision has been 100 per cent vindicated.
His Rangers side are so far this season performing to an incredibly high level, having now taken a 19-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership, though they have played three more games than second-placed Celtic.
Although they defeated their nearest and bitter rivals 1-0 on Saturday, maintaining their unbeaten run domestically and 100 per cent home record.
In 22 league matches so far this season, Rangers have scored 57 goals and conceded only five, keeping 18 clean sheets, letting in just one goal at Ibrox to date.
With a team who has not won the title since 2011, Gerrard has taken elements of Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho’s style – two managers he admired – and meshed them with the exciting, attacking football of Klopp.
On a special Steven Gerrard podcast from Blood Red, tactics writer David Hughes explained just how closely aligned Gerrard’s Rangers are to Klopp’s Liverpool.
Even with a goalkeeper 10 years older than Alisson Becker in Allan McGregor, Gerrard has his team playing out from the back in the same way that Liverpool do, while at full-back, the similarities to Klopp’s side are even clearer.
Right-back James Tavernier is Gerrard’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, having scored 17 times and assisted 14 in 32 appearances this season. Borna Barisic – Rangers’ Andy Robertson – has two goals and 10 assists from 29 matches.
David Hughes (DH): “Their expected goals against is around double the amount they have actually conceded (five) but it is still better than second-placed Celtic.
“McGregor is in goal for Rangers and he has adapted really well to Gerrard’s game because he is 38 now and he has been in the game a long time.
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“I sometimes look at Adrian at Liverpool and think that he struggles playing out the way Liverpool like to play because when he started out as a goalkeeper, there would have been less focus on using your feet.
“But McGregor averages around 20 passes per 90 minutes for Rangers and that is pretty much identical to what Alisson does.
“Both Rangers full-backs – Tavernier and Barisic – are capable of overlapping and underlapping runs in attacking moves and they are very high up the pitch. Read from source….