Steven Gerrard could not resist having a dig at Manchester United by pointing out that they are no longer challenging for the Premier League title. The Liverpool legend was previewing tomorrow’s Old Firm Derby when he fired the shot.
Rangers are locked in a Scottish title battle with arch-rivals Celtic and Gerrard’s men are just five points off top spot with a game in hand.
The two Glasgow clubs go head-to-head at Celtic Park on Sunday (12.30pm) in what could be a defining match of the season.
Gerrard is no stranger to the importance of derby matches as he represented Liverpool in blockbuster clashes against Everton and United.
But the ex-midfielder poured cold water on suggestions the Reds care about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“I suppose it had many similarities but it’s not necessarily a derby match, Liverpool vs Manchester,” Gerrard said.
“I think the rivalry comes from success, the two most successful teams in England so that’s another similarity to up here in the Old Firm.
“I think the Liverpool v Everton match is more similar in terms of the bitterness and hatred and bragging rights in the local community but Manchester is 40 minutes, one hour away, and obviously Manchester United are not at the top of the table anymore so there’s another difference for you.”
Gerrard can swing the title race back into Rangers’ hands if they come away from Celtic with three points.
And the 39-year-old feels the match could be hot-tempered so he has called on referee Kevin Clancy to be on his best form.
“I don’t think you can be [under more pressure than the players] as an official in these Old Firms,” he said.
“The pressure is there for everyone, for the players, both sets, for the coaching staff, both sets, the supporters bring pressure into the ground and it is no different for the officials.
“You just hope before a ball is kicked that everyone is talking about the football after the game and not a decision that has been wrong and that affects the outcome of the game.
“I don’t think that is fair on both groups of players. I think the least we deserve is a good, strong performance from all the officials.”
Gerrard also backed star man Alfredo Morelos to finally break his duck against Celtic.
He added: “Alfredo shouldn’t go in thinking about himself or what has gone on in the past.
“He should be thinking: ‘What do I need to do for my team to try and get us a positive result?’.
“We have got a decision to make in terms of who starts the game, but of course he will play some part. I have got no doubt he will be a threat and be dangerous.
“It will only be a matter of time before his Old Firm goal comes, and let’s hope it is like the buses where I am from!”