'I don't know what goes on in Alfredo Morelos' head' - but Rangers boss says it's not all about goals

Having gone six games without scoring, it might be tempting to believe Alfredo Morelos is currently suffering from a crisis of confidence in front of goal.

Alfredo Morelos clashes with Selim Amallah of Standard Liege during Rangers' 2-0 Europa League win in Belgium. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
Alfredo Morelos clashes with Selim Amallah of Standard Liege during Rangers' 2-0 Europa League win in Belgium. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard freely admits he isn’t sure if that is the reason the normally prolific Colombian striker is experiencing a barren patch.

“I don’t know what goes on in his head – I wish I did know,” says Gerrard with a smile.

What Gerrard is certain of is that he will never base his assessment of Morelos purely on the strike rate of a player who has scored 82 goals in 151 appearances since joining the Ibrox club.

With summer recruits Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten joining veteran Jermain Defoe in providing competition for the number nine position in Gerrard’s team, Morelos is no longer a guaranteed starter.

Gerrard confirmed he is set to rotate the role, with Morelos possibly in line to drop to the bench for Sunday’s Premiership fixture against Livingston at Ibrox. But that will in no way indicate that Gerrard is unhappy with the 24-year-old’s current form.

“I think you have to appreciate what Alfredo brings to the team,” said Gerrard. “I know you guys in the media judge him on goals, numbers and records, which is fine. You are doing your job.

“But I judge Alfredo on what he gives the team in and out of possession. Do the players want him in the team? Do they feel like they need him? Does he help in different ways? Of course we all want goals and that is a big part of his job.

“But just because he’s not on the scoresheet doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done the job for the team or we’re not happy with the job he has given. I make decisions on different things, of course goals is one of them.

“The team is playing well, Alfredo is helping the team in a different way. It’s up to Alfredo to get himself back amongst the goals because we’re certainly providing chances for him. This is not a case where I’m concerned that he’s not getting the service.

“Alfredo needs to keep his head down, keep working hard and believe that the goals will come. I’m confident they will.

“But he won’t play every game. It’s my job to bring him in and out at the right time when I feel it is the right time to rest him.”

Gerrard intends to freshen up his side on Sunday in the aftermath of Thursday night’s physically demanding 2-0 win over Standard Liege in gruelling conditons in Belgium. Calvin Bassey, impressive as a substitute for the injured Borna Barisic in that match, could be handed a start at left-back as Gerrard enthuses over the 20-year-old’s potential.

“He played with maturity in Liege,” said Gerrard. “We trust Calvin. We need to polish him up, we know he’s a rough diamond but his attributes mean he has a big part to play.

“We have no hesitation in putting him into games at the beginning or into games when it’s difficult, because he’s ready. He’s shown us on a daily basis that he wants to be here, he’s hungry. He wants to push Borna and he’s certainly doing that.”

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