'I see a lot of Liverpool in Rangers'- Ex-Celtic boss praises Steven Gerrard as he expects Neil Lennon to make signings

Ex-Celtic boss Gordon Strachan has likened Rangers under Steven Gerrard to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers have been compared to Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. Picture: SNS
Steven Gerrard's Rangers have been compared to Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. Picture: SNS

The former Scotland manager has been impressed with what he has seen from the Ibrox men as they push Celtic in the title race.

Strachan was in attendance at Hampden Park on Sunday to see Rangers dominate their rivals in the Betfred Cup final, only to be beaten 1-0.

He said: "I see a lot of Liverpool in Rangers. Obviously not their tempo, fitness or technique, but the way Rangers play is definitely inspired by Liverpool.

Gordon Strachan has been full of praise of Steven Gerrard's Rangers. Picture: SNS

"And that’s understandable, it’s clever – Steven’s had a look at what Klopp does and applied it at Rangers. He plays the Liverpool way, with brave, exciting football which is progressive, not tippy tappy that can send you to sleep.

"I see a lot of the bravery on the ball that Steven and Gary had as players. Rangers aren’t at the same level as Liverpool, but it was enough to make Celtic battle harder for a trophy than they’ve had to for years.

"But he’s using that approach because he believes it will work, not because he thinks it will appeal to Liverpool. He isn’t using these tactics to engage with anybody, he just knows what’s best for the players he’s got."

He added: "I’m sure he’ll go to Liverpool when his time comes, but you don’t know when that’ll be – it could be when you’re 21, it could be when you’re 61.

"As a manager, you’ve got to strike when your stock is high. We’ve seen it when managers have stayed at a club too long and then never get their big move, I know loads of managers like that.

"You saw last season Brendan Rodgers deciding what was best for him – and, in a funny way, everybody has come out of that alright.

"Steven Gerrard has just got to keep winning. He can’t get a move to Liverpool, or anywhere else, if he isn’t. Most managers want to test themselves at the highest level, but Liverpool won’t come for him if he isn’t winning games and winning trophies.

"Then again, if he starts an empire, and starts winning league titles, who says he’ll want to leave?"

The quality of Rangers is something Celtic should be concerned about, reckons Strachan, nothing the gap is the closest it has been for a number of years.

He said: "Rangers are closer to Celtic than they’ve been for a decade. The league table says that, of course, but the cup final performance confirmed it. It was the best I’ve seen a Rangers team play for at least a decade – and the first time in ages I’ve seen a Glasgow derby with two good teams taking part.

"Celtic won’t have expected that level of pressure, and it was probably a good lesson for fans to see their team up against it and nicking a win, because it’s never normally like that for them.

"Rangers fans, on the other hand, haven’t seen such a dominant display against Celtic for at least a decade. They were Goram-ed!

"Celtic may have to re-evaluate the way they play, when they do not have a powerful target man. They can steamroller most teams, but when they’re playing against top sides, which is what Rangers are now, they’ll definitely need to have a powerful striker."

And Strachan expects Celtic to add in January, which is why he thinks they will win the league.

"Recruitment, for both Glasgow teams, is going to be big in January," he said.

"I expect Celtic to sign players, and that’s why I’d have them as favourites for the title still, as they know they need to strengthen.

"For Rangers, it’s the other way, they cannot, must not, sell Alfredo Morelos. At any cost. He’s the most important player for them, who can take them to the league title. They need to keep him at the club, and keep him fit. If they do, they’ll have a real chance."

Gordon Strachan was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com