STEVEN GERRARD expects a ‘similar’ game against Livingston on Sunday to the one when the two sides last met at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
The West Lothian outfit ran out 1-0 winners against Gers on a disappointing afternoon, with the Light Blues going into this trip off the back of a 2-1 reverse at Kilmarnock on Wednesday.
That, naturally, will be freshest in the mind of Gerrard and his players, but that last meeting in Livingston still rankles, with the boss calling on his men to learn the lessons from that afternoon.
He told this afternoon’s press conference: “We didn’t perform well enough in a lot of departments. It was a game that we spoke about in a lot of detail afterwards and the reaction from that game was very good.
“We have to learn our lessons and we cannot just expect to go to Livingston and win – you have to earn the right.
“They are a good team, they are organised, are very difficult to beat, are physical and quite direct. It’s another challenge for the team, but I am confident if we react in the right way from Kilmarnock we will find a performance.
“They [the Rangers squad] are a good group and a bright set of lads. I think they know the standard we are looking for is the performance we got in the Old Firm game.
“But what you have to understand is each challenge is different and some teams won’t allow you to do that.
“Different places in the league create different challenges and problems for you, so we just need to take each game as it comes and make sure we are ready for the challenge of Livingston.
“I think it will be pretty similar. We think tactically and their game-plan will be pretty similar as they got a successful result out of us last time.
“So it is down to us to maybe find a different way to try and play at a better level and hopefully the game plan we have will be more successful than it was the last time.”
The Kilmarnock match saw the Ayrshiremen overtake Gers in the Scottish Premiership – and Gerrard is searching for one simple thing – a response.
“100 per-cent, that is what I am looking for,” the boss continued. “Individually and collectively, it was a very disappointing result for us the other night.
“The performance was very strong for 20 minutes and then after the mistake we made, it was nowhere near the level I expect.
“So that is what I have asked the players for and hopefully they can put that into practice at the weekend.
“Each game is different and each scenario is different. An Old Firm game at home is completely different from going to Kilmarnock on a different surface against a different challenge if you like.
“I am not naive enough to think just because we beat Celtic and performed to a very high level I am going to get that in every single game.
“But, we do certainly need to improve in terms of being more consistent.”
Gerrard was also asked about Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis, and said: “They haven’t played much football of late, and I have said on a couple of occasions, I will have to manage them in terms of their game time.
“They are here for the next six months, not the next six games, so that is down to me to manage and make sure I use them in the right way.
“What is a fact is the recovery takes a little bit longer after you’ve put in a shift on a plastic pitch – not just with those two, but everyone, and that is on my mind at the moment.”