Steven Gerrard 'will have to take bottom-half EPL job if he wants to test himself', claims pundit

Paul Merson believes Steven Gerrard will have to leave Rangers for a “bottom-half English Premier League side” in order to test himself – but reckons staying at Ibrox could be his ticket to landing the Liverpool job.

Paul Merson has urged Steven Gerrard to stay at Rangers if he wants the Liverpool job, but move on if he wants to test himself

Speaking to Sky Sports, the former Arsenal midfielder suggested there would be plenty of teams studying Gerrard's success north of the Border.

Merson said: “After a brilliant season at Rangers, I just can’t see how clubs won’t be coming after Steven Gerrard

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“I look at teams like Crystal Palace, who are staying up, and Newcastle – if they stay up – and others; will they be knocking the door down for Gerrard?

“It’s a different job at clubs like that. Rangers usually win around 75 per cent of their games and I know it is more than that this season, but at clubs in the lower half of the English Premier League, you may only be winning 50 per cent."

Merson, who had a spell managing Walsall in the mid-2000s, believes Gerrard will have to go somewhere else after Rangers before testing himself in the Premier League.

He continued: “If he goes somewhere else – and he will have to if he wants to test himself in the Premier League, even though Rangers are a great club – it's how he then copes with that.

"If you are a winner like Gerrard is and you go to an environment where getting 40 points is a success, that's going to be hard. He won't want to be taking a team to Manchester City and sitting with ten men behind the ball. That will hurt him."

Gerrard has inevitably been linked with Liverpool throughout his time at Ibrox and Merson believes staying at Rangers will give him the best chance of realising his Anfield dreams.

"If it was me, I'd stay at Rangers,” he said. “If I want the Liverpool job, I stay at Ibrox. He's taken this club forward; they play good football and they are all singing off the same hymn sheet. They are a good team.

"If you want the Liverpool job you stay but if you want to push yourself to the next level as soon as possible then you take a Premier League job – but it will be a bottom-half side to start with.”

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