Sunday, 30 September 2018

ANALYSIS: Where did it all go horribly wrong for Steven Gerrard?


Sifting through the wreckage of today’s horrific display in Livingston is something of a port-mortem, but the fairest place to start is with the simple question; where did it actually go wrong?

Instead of moaning about this player or that player or this refereeing call etc, we’re going to take you on a tactical expose of just what Steven Gerrard and his team did wrong today, and just why the side failed so miserably.

First off, full credit to Gary Holt and Livingston – they set out with a very clear plan, a lot subtler than the usual ‘park the bus’ accusations we’re seeing – and their plan did a total number on the visitors – so we are not taking credit away from the deserving winners.

However, Gerrard, for the first time, truly made a lot of errors and failed to address any of the problems he saw in front of him, and we’re going to take you through a lot of what they were.

The first problem was the unnecessary rotation. Gerrard is now firmly guilty of breaking the flow of his XI by constantly changing the men he puts out. Eight changes from the midweek win was frankly absurd, and it flies in the face of his promises this summer of always playing those in form and those ‘hungry’. It broke continuity and it was a bad sign from the start.

Second was how effectively the home side blocked the flanks. A huge part of Rangers’ system this season has been wide play, be it crossing, cutting in, linking; Holt identified this quickly and made sure his fullbacks anticipated everything – and most things that got past them, the colossal Craig Halkett ultimately stopped in the middle. It rendered Daniel Candias, James Tavernier, Borna Barisic and Kyle Lafferty completely helpless – and Gerrard did nothing to alter the system to counter this.

Thirdly was Holt’s identification of Ovie Ejaria as the dangerman through the centre. The Liverpool loanee was excellent until Pittman (8) was assigned his marker. Suddenly the playmaker started playing deeper to get space and was rendered completely ineffective. Not much he could do in his own half. The second half saw Jacobs (7) instead assigned to him to allow Pittman more creative freedom – and still Ejaria was rendered obsolete.

So two and three made Rangers rudderless – unable to get any joy on the flanks, it was left to Ejaria to try and lockpick through the middle, and he was then snuffed out rather easily.

Fourth was the strength of Menga up front – he had the beating of most of Rangers’ defenders, and held the ball magnificently for his team mates to come in support – and his goal was a clinical reward for what was a MOTM display. We do wonder just what a difference the physical strength of Nikola Katic might have had as a deterrent.

And five was the strangulation and close marking of both Lafferty and Morelos – starved of service, they had zero to work with, and Morelos cut a frustrated figure as Gerrard hooked off Kyle in desperation.

Meanwhile Gerrard stood at the side biting his lips completely unable to contrive a solution to a well sorted plan and the right team sadly won.

He tried putting Ryan Kent on, and in his defence, Kent, along with the earlier display of Ejaria, was the best player for Rangers on the day, and he did provide a different threat. Or, in this match, a threat.

But the reality is Gerrard was well beaten in the dugout by a fellow borderline rookie manager with a far inferior squad, and while the players certainly didn’t live up to what we expect from our team, equally the tactics (which appeared to have no variation on previous recent matches) were rendering most of them useless anyway.

Gerrard is learning on the job, but this afternoon was a sore one for the Rangers boss. He was beaten off the pitch and on it, and if he is to be a domestic success as well as a cup and European one for this club, he will need to absorb everything even more rapidly.

It’s not a crisis, despite the stats which are now haunting Rangers today, but we do need to see something more tangible in the league, because, as things currently stand, this team and this manager will be unable to finish top three.

23 comments:

  1. I have to take issue on one point. That Livingstone have an inferior squad. Really? They certainly have less resources but on their results and their present position in the Scottish Premier League they are indeed not inferior to Rangers or any other team in the League. Perhaps results against foreign opposition with fancy names have given you an overly optimistic opinion of this Rangers squad. The next two results will go some way to proving your assumption or otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AMcC:

      We are only talking about on paper here, and on paper Rangers have 10+ internationals and a squad worth millions. Are you telling us with a straight face, via your logic, that Hearts have a better squad than Celtic?

      Delete
    2. Relevant positions of Rangers and Livingstone do not prove Livingstone have an inferior squad. Team performances and results determine the success of a football club. This is the reason why Hearts, Hibs and Livingstone are in the top three places in the SPL. Your logic would presume Man Utd. to be in one of the top two positions of the EPL because the spend many millions on international players. They presently lie in 10th position in their respective league. Livingstone won today because they deserved to, and their position ON PAPER in the league proves they are worthy of their position and that is all that counts.

      Delete
    3. Sorry, AMcC but IN is right imho. Rangers have 10+ internationals, Livingstone have none. So are you saying that national team managers are wrong, or that Livi have actually made a good team out of individuals who are not as good as their competitors?
      Don't really get the Man Utd comment. They are in a different league where all the top teams are worth hundreds of millions, so the margin for comparison between them is not accurate in terms of a couple of million.
      Lets have a look at man Utd at the end of the season. If they are outside top 4, then their manager has failed to get value for money.

      And you did not answer the question - do you think Hearts have a better squad than Celtic? on the same basis as the Rangers v Livi comparison.

      As an aside, I am willing to make a substantial wager with you, at evens, that rangers end the season ahead of Livingston today's result notwithstanding. Let's say we each send £500 to an agreed intermediary, the total to be sent to the person who has correctly identified "the better team/squad" at the end of the season.

      Interested?

      Delete
    4. ScotsWhaHae, That is mighty big of you. Betting Rangers will be higher in the League than Livingstone at the end of the season. Why are you so infatuated about the squads of Hearts and Celtic? I suppose it takes your mind of increasingly poor Rangers performances in the league. And the number of points lost in them.

      Delete
    5. AMcC, I think he was making a point. Point made!

      Delete
    6. AMcC
      My point was that you are disagreeing that Livingston have an inferior squad, as is your right. I agree with IN. If you are certain that you are right, back it up. Over a season, the best squad and team will come through. I am not a gambling man, but will offer you that bet. Unless you are not sure enough you are right to take the bet.

      I also disagree that one comment on Hearts and Celtic squads qualifies as infatuation. I am not infatuated. You did not answer the question put to you. Why is that?

      Delete
  2. If Livingstone play like they did today against teams in the Premier league they will take points from most of them. It was their World Cup Final on a small greasy, wet plastic pitch. We lost out to them on the day, it's a sore one but no need to over analyse it. We have a lot of games with a big squad to keep happy and I trust SG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. Let’s get some perspective.

      Delete
  3. what a farce we have got that many players mr gerrard has made a complete mess trying to keep loanees happy ,we are only 7 games in and he is resting players for the so called bigger games ,all the rangers fans want is a settled team playing week in week out ,not impressed with mr gerrard or the players he brought in looks to be same pedro movie

    ReplyDelete
  4. Totally agree with everything said In.we don't have a divine right to win football matches and we all know that any/every team we play will burst a gut to try and stop us from winning at all costs,but after today's abysmal performance and poor man management from Gerard regarding team selection/lack of ideas from start to Finnish,I am now having a reality check and I'm a lot less confident about us winning the league and as I said in an earlier article,I don't care about Europe as all I care about is stopping Them winning 10iar...but after watching that shite today it doesn't bear thinking... watp helicopter 2005

    ReplyDelete
  5. Do you not think that other teams have not identified the things you mention and set up their team accordingly? Of course they have. It just so happens that Livi got it spot on today and our players simply never turned up and over turned the challenge in front of them like they have in other games. You make it sound like other teams don't deploy full backs to mark our wide men or give our creative players freedom to do whatever they like. They dont. Some of our players were shocking today, unable to do the basics like pass, shoot and control the football. That wasn't down to tactics. Or Stevie Gerrard.

    ReplyDelete
  6. One youth coach last year to another this year and we think we can or will improve. Other teams must laughing at us. Instead of going through the 90 mintes of how Livi destroyed us today and explain where it went wrong for our team and manager .But instead we get the chuckle brothers of sky sports and McQueen talking about celtic a dont want to hear about them we where playing today not them. So another deflection away from Stevie G bad day at office and talk about celtic and their crisis. Not happy with this talk about us not them. If they think there is a crisis at parkhead then they must be treating us like mug punters as we sit one position below them on the league but nothing said as they dont want to be seen as to have critised Stevie G as it could look bad on him if he is to manage in the EPL. This is just brushing stuff under the carpet if its not discussed poor pundits from Boyd &Commons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We played badly but have some perspective. Livi never destroyed us. The beat us because we were bad pure and simple.
      There is no one laughing at us I can assure you. Most have gave us credit for what we are now.
      We HAVE improved under our "youth" coach as you so disrespectively put it. The team has improved beyond recognition from Pedro's ponces and Murtys malingerers. Stevie Gerrard is the man that will lead us to glory and I can't believe the negativity aimed at him.

      Delete
  7. So you are saying what!!! You wanted Sky Sports to talk about how poor we were today, ach well you should watch the BBC highlights show, they at least told it as it was (like the main article on here). As for not wanting to hear about the team from the East, try listening to yourself, grow up, whatever they do does not really matter to us, it is what we do, which has been ok at times this season, great at times this season and like today rubbish at times, the key how we respond, not what Sky Sports talk about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not good enough mate you seem like most of our support head in the sand stuff when it comes to the truth.You where they spoke about ceptic when we had our game live. It should be about us and where went wrong on the day fuck ceptic so griw a pair and start telling the truth.

      Delete
    2. Head in the sand stuff when it comes to the truth? You where they spoke? Where went wrong? Griw a pair?

      Got it, your ability to put sentences together that make sense is about as good as our performance against Livingston!!

      Delete
  8. Just not good enough, by far. Arses need booting.

    ReplyDelete
  9. One thing that seems to be forgotten I all of this was one comment SG made prior to the match. Due to the surface he didnt pick anyone with potential knee issues or if coming back from injury concerns. Also Katic had commented that his back becomes inflamed when playing on plastic pitches. That to me changed his selection most. He protected Rossiter,Dorrans, Flannigan, Wallace, Grezda, Katic and probably Kent too with Rapid midweek. This is where I believe we have issues with our depth. The focus is still on Europe. It should not be but it is. Why 300k a game if they win 150k a game if they draw. TV revenue and competition bonus. He took a chance today and it didn't pay off but I do believe that plastic pitches need banned. Players from all clubs don't play on plastic pitches handing Livi and Kilmarnock a small advantage against all other clubs. Livi deserved the win yesterday they were good all over the pitch. Be interesting to see how good they are at Ibrox however.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've worried from the beginning of the season we have no-one in centre midfield who can play in the number 10 role and unlock a defence. yesterday was a prime example. going wide wasn't working, Morelos and Lafferty weren't getting in over the top so we needed someone in behind to pick a pass. Kent looked most likely when he came on and sent Morelos through but apart from him there was no creativity. hopefully Dorrans can be that player or maybe Grezda if he's not just a wide player. either way we need something different or away games are going to continue to be a struggle

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, he went wrong with the 8 changes from Ayr so we have to up our game on away games the only good away game result is only Villareal because their a La Liga team. When we are getting beat be these wee away teams who have just been promoted from the championship and they are beating us. Come on Rangers you need to up your game because you done nothing yesterday

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just for info my 8 year old has just posted my last entry. And to head off the comedians- Yes all my post look as if they came from an 8 year old!

    ReplyDelete

By commenting on this article on Ibroxnoise.co.uk, you confirm you have read and understood the site terms, conditions, and moderation parameters (provided on the home page) of doing so.