If one thing has defined Steven Gerrard’s management, it’s been the 4-3-3. Sure, he’s adapted and tweaked it, at one point trying a 4-2-3-1 to varying level of success, but however it’s modified, Rangers’ basic system is four at the back, three dynamic midfielders, two flanking attackers and a striker.
But as anyone in football will tell you, staying stagnant is a fool’s errand and if we remember the comical naivety we all had with Warby’s 4-3-3 getting promoted and destroying the SPL, it’s pertinent to adapt and modify again.
Stevie’s system, masterminded by tactical guru Michael Beale, was invincible last season in the league, and destroyed all-comers.
But it would be folly not to modify that for next season. And there’s another reason on top of Warby’s SPL failure to be pro-active on this:
Jurgen Klopp’s side had an absolutely disastrous defence of their title – they simply weren’t at it, and he can blame injuries all he likes but Rangers had a tonne this season and it didn’t kill 55.
No, Klopp and Liverpool rested on their laurels, didn’t change an awful lot over the summer, and then paid for it with a lacklustre start to their defence even before Van Dijk’s season-ender.
Rangers, and Steven Gerrard, will be so wary of this. That Liverpool waited 30 years for a title then absolutely screwed up the defence, only just narrowly getting CL in a distant third place. Rangers waited 10 years for our own title and cannot fall into the same trap.
Will Gerrard change things up? Adapt? We know the PL is a totally different animal to the SPL but look at Celtic – they too got lazy, complacent – and just expected to win the title again. In truth, Liverpool fans got over cocky too, buying into their own hype and frankly so did the team and manager.
Rangers cannot do that.
To win 56 and have a good belt at the CL we must forget 55, and not use it as a reason to not evolve. We have to adapt, and if changing the formation and refreshing the approach is a good way to avoid Warby, Celtic and Liverpool-itis, it has to be done.
Signing new players, tweaking formation – full on prep for the new season and not expecting to win 56 without earning it.
Rangers will be wary of Celtic trying to claw back – we must be ready.
And the management will know this.