Uk news Steven Gerrard's Rangers suffocation tactics worked to perfection - Craig Levein MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Ibrox boss took a leaf out of Jurgen Klopp's playbook in the first derby of the season.
Breaking News ! Steven Gerrard has never made a secret of being a student of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s playbook. We saw the 4-3-3 which the Anfield gaffer favours being used yet again by Rangers and it won the day at Celtic Park. Celtic were suffocated by a system and beaten by a side which worked harder. Nobody would have been surprised, it’s a system which has been deployed by Gerrard since he first arrived in Glasgow. They’ve had well over two years to work on it and in this Old Firm victory they had it down to a fine art. Read More Related Articles Chris Sutton tears into 'gutless' Celtic as Hoops legend makes painful Rangers scoreline admission It’s also such an awkward formation to play against, as Neil Lennon’s Celtic again discovered. What makes this 4-3-3 so effective is that Rangers generally use James Tavernier and Borna Barisic to provide the width. By asking these two full-backs to do that, they allow Ryan Kent and Brandon Barker not to play the winger’s role but to come inside so they effectively perform in a narrow system as two number tens. To simplify it, Rangers played with two number tens and two wingers who were the full-backs. One of the issues with Celtic starting with three at the back is how to match up against a side who are adopting such an awkward system. (Image: SNS Group) Lenny likes to use a back three, it stems from his time working under Martin O’Neill back in the day as Martin’s preferred option was a three at the back. The problem with dealing with the Rangers system is that your own wing-backs get dragged deeper and deeper and therefore it’s a big ask to get them to get forward. What we saw yesterday was both Jeremie Frimpong on Celtic’s right and Diego Laxalt on the left being asked to deal with Kent and Barker, while also keeping one eye on Tavernier and Barisic. When you are overloaded with those defensive tasks then it’s a huge ask to combine that with being a creative force going forward. (Image: PA) That was big trouble from the first whistle. There’s always a solution for every system a side is confronted with and for Celtic it would have been to ask the three central defenders to be braver and step out to deal with Kent and Barker. Had that happened then it would have allowed both Frimpong and Laxalt to focus purely on containing the Rangers full-backs. But it didn’t happen and what you saw was a side pressed back, unable to make enough attacking moves of their own. Had Shane Duffy, Kristoffer Ajer or young Stephen Welsh stepped across to cope with the formation it would have allowed Celtic’s wing-backs to get further up the pitch when they won back the ball.
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Time and again they found themselves with a backline of five matching up against only three Rangers attackers. Pushed back into that shape they found it very difficult to push Rangers back and seize some initiative of their own. With Rangers playing down the sides, all they needed to do with the likes of Tavernier would be come back inside and just retain possession. Once you allow your wing-backs to be pushed back as deep as Celtic’s were, it’s difficult to get width into your team. You watch Celtic week in and week out and it’s the wing-backs who essentially provide the width to the team. What we saw here was a situation where they were pushed back and it was clearly then very difficult for them. The loss of Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and James Forrest showed.
(Image: Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
I don’t know the ins and outs of why Edouard or Christie weren’t available but it meant Celtic went into their biggest domestic game of the season without their two main attacking threats. With respect to Patryk Klimala and Mohamed Elyounoussi, neither offer the same class of goal threat or quality. It was in stark contrast to their opponents. The front three and middle three were fantastic for Rangers. There were countless situations where Celtic were trying to work the ball out and you had six blue jerseys shuttling over to squeeze the life out of any moves they tried to build. Rangers just suffocated possession from Celtic superbly. You can use any system you want but work ethic is just as important. As a team Rangers were exhaustive in the way they went about their business.
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Someone like Alfredo Morelos can be a bit wayward within a system but his discipline was excellent, as was his positional play. Bottom line, Rangers worked harder than Celtic, were the better side and tactically, Gerrard played it to perfection.
Source = MetiNews.Com