Opinion: Steven Gerrard blew the Old Firm derby
Rangers entered the first Old Firm game of the season riding on the crest of a wave – they had just sealed their place in the Europa League group stages and arrived at Ibrox with a 100% record in the league.
However, when the lineups were announced at 11:00 am, there were no sign of any wingers in Steven Gerrard’s side, and instead, it looked as if Rangers were lining up in a 4-3-2-1 formation.
This seemed odd considering Celtic’s two full-backs had struggled in recent weeks. Rangers have started the season brilliantly especially going forward – they have scored a staggering 33 goalsalready, but yesterday they really struggled.
Fraser Forster only had to make two saves all game and Gerrard’s idea of playing with no width did not go well.
With all of the play in the centre Celtic were compact and sprung forward at will – they just sat in and waited for the Gers’ attack to break down.
The only outlet was James Tavernier, but he was awful. On the other side, Jon Flanagan did not get forward because he is naturally right-footed – so could not offer anything on the left of the field.
In the second half, Gerrard realised the error of his ways and introduced Sheyi Ojo and Jordan Jones, but the game did not change.
Another error Gerrard made was his decision not to start Alfredo Morelos – the Colombian is a livewire, and he could have made a difference in a physical game.
Jermain Defoe is a quality striker, but in a game like the Old Firm, perhaps Morelos’ physical style could have changed the game.
Overall, then the Old Firm was lost by Gerrard’s poor tactical decisions.