Defoe claimed his first hat-trick for Rangers before being replaced by Morelos who netted twice as Gerrard’s side joined Celtic on maximum points at the top of the Premiership table after the second round of fixtures.
The Rangers manager believes his hopes of silverware this season depend on Defoe and Morelos maintaining prolific form as he rotates them to lead his frontline, while he remains in the hunt for a third option in that position.
“For us to have success here, we can’t rely on one striker,” said Gerrard. “That’s what I told Jermain when I signed him, why I wanted him at the club.
“You need two who are as good, hungry and dangerous as each other. They have to understand it will be horses for courses - sometimes Jermain will suit an opposition, sometimes it will be Alfredo.
“I need to make sure I get those decisions right. For sure, we are going to need both of them firing if we are to have any ambitions of moving forward. There is also a debate that we may need to get a third striker, even though we have other options who can play there.”
Gerrard was gratified but not at all surprised by the deadliness of Defoe’s contribution and suggested the 36-year-old could stay at Rangers beyond his current contract which expires next year.
“I get the age thing but the important thing for me is how you feel,” added Gerrard. How old is your body? If you’ve never touched a drop of alcohol in your life and are as hungry as Jermain Defoe, age never comes into my thinking.
“I don’t think ‘He’s 36, so can’t start or play two games in a row’. I just think that I know this player, his hunger, his professionalism. He can score goals for Rangers this season and, if I can predict, next season as well.”
Defoe’s hat-trick was of the ‘perfect’ variety, one goal each with his left foot, right foot and head.
“It’s a big day when I score with a header,” smiled the former England striker. “I don’t think I’ve done the perfect hat-trick before, I certainly can’t remember one. It’s my first one for Rangers and hopefully there are more to come.”