Steven Gerrard is set to be unveiled as the new Rangers manager at an Ibrox press conference this afternoon.
It means Gerrard will go head to head in the dugout with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, one of his former managers at Liverpool.
Gerrard’s challenge at Rangers will be to end the Hoops’ long dominance after they won a seventh domestic title in a row last month. Here Press Association Sport looks at how Gerrard and Rodgers compare.
Gerrard made his first foray into full-time coaching when he was hired to be Liverpool’s under-18s coach this season. His team finished third in the north section of the Premier League Under-18 group stage, behind only the two Manchester clubs.
Though he is only eight years older than Gerrard, Rodgers had a far earlier start in coaching due to his playing career being cut short by injury. He was on Chelsea’s coaching staff in 2004 and has been a senior boss for nearly a decade with Watford, Reading, Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic.
Barring the Premier League, Gerrard won it all as a player. He was magnificent in Liverpool’s come-from-behind victory in the 2005 Champions League final when the Reds won the competition for a fifth time, and also has UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup winners’ medals. Gerrard also won 114 international caps for England – only Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have more.
Unlike Gerrard, Rodgers’ major honours have all been achieved as a manager due to him retiring from playing at just 20 because of a knee condition. The Northern Irishman guided Swansea to the Premier League for the first time in their history through the play-offs, came close to winning a maiden Premier League title at Anfield and is on course to win an unprecedented double treble with Celtic.
Kris Commons: Steven Gerrard is looking at a Â£70million project to sort out Rangers - but there's no quick fix— Andy Newport (@AndyNewportPA) May 1, 2018
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One of the biggest challenges Gerrard will face at Ibrox is bridging the gap to Celtic despite their Glasgow rivals’ far superior budget. Rangers are still battling financial difficulties and the gulf in class between them and Celtic was evident in Sunday’s 5-0 victory for Rodgers’ side.
Though Celtic continue to benefit from regularly qualifying for the Champions League, Gerrard could have a distinct advantage in being able to bring Liverpool’s most talented youngsters on loan.
In his 2015 autobiography, Gerrard said he could call any of his previous Reds manager except Rafael Benitez, who he said he had “no bond” with but described as “the best tactical coach I worked with at Liverpool and England”. The ex-Liverpool captain called Rodgers “a fantastic man-manager” but was critical of his approach to the 2-0 loss to Chelsea in 2014 when the Reds were on the verge of winning the title.
Rodgers travelled around Spain to garner greater knowledge of their clubs’ style while he has also spoken of his admiration for Louis van Gaal’s Barcelona team. At Chelsea, Rodgers was a youth-coach when Jose Mourinho was at Stamford Bridge and viewed the current Manchester United manager as a guiding hand.
Although Gerrard possesses limited knowledge of Scottish football, the suggestion is that he will hire former Scotland captain Gary McAllister, one of his old central-midfield partners and an ex-Liverpool coach with Rodgers, as his number two. Rangers already have a director of football in place, with Mark Allen arriving last summer having been Manchester City’s academy director.
Rodgers’ staff is a combination of trusted lieutenants he has worked with along his stops and those with an in-depth knowledge of Celtic. Assistant Chris Davies was Rodgers’ captain when he was Reading youth’s coach and the two worked together at Swansea and Liverpool. Kolo Toure, who played alongside Gerrard with Rodgers’ Reds, is the technical assistant at Parkhead.