Steven Gerrard’s first experiment with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, as per Transfermarkt, didn’t pay off as Rangers were beaten 2-1 by Kilmarnock on Wednesday, and while the 38-year-old should already be considering ditching it, he should give it one more run-out against Livingston on Sunday.
The Glasgow giants would have been full of confidence coming out of the winter break considering they’d beaten arch-rivals Celtic in the Old Firm derby to draw level with them at the table’s summit, but Gerrard had an added selection headache following the January addition of Jermain Defoe on an 18-month loan deal from Bournemouth, as per rangers.co.uk.
He may be in the latter stages of his career but the 36-year-old hasn’t moved north of the border to play a bit-part role, and with Alfredo Morelos being such an important player for Rangers it was no surprise that both made the starting XI against Kilmarnock.
The early signs were positive and especially when Defoe netted a 12th-minute opener, but things went downhill after that as they slipped to what could prove to be a costly defeat in the Scottish Premiership title race.
It may be very early days, but Rangers clearly lacked the width they had become accustomed to in Gerrard’s preferred 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 systems in recent weeks, and instead of having the quality of Ryan Kent out on the wing he was instead deployed in more of a No.10 role behind the aforementioned strike duo.
While the Liverpool legend may be tempted to twist against Livingston, he should stick with the formation for at least one more game. It may not have worked out completely at Rugby Park, but the chance to have a formation in which Defoe and Morelos can thrive in alongside each other is too good an opportunity to throw away during the season run-in.
Gerrard needs to ensure that his full-backs provide some much-needed attacking threat from the flanks on Sunday, but ultimately if the match does end in disappointment again then it should be the end of the experiment once and for all.
Be sure to check out the incredible story of the man who rose from a Tanzanian refugee camp to become one of Australia’s biggest football stars in the video below…