STEVEN GERRARD took off star striker Alfredo Morelos as Rangers toppled out of the Europa League in Germany last night.

The Colombian hitman, who has scored just one goal in 2020 after netting 28 before the turn of the year, made little impression as Bayer Leverkusen won 1-0 to go through to the quarter-final on a 4-1 aggregate after winning in Glasgow in the first leg back in March.

Gerrard admitted Morelos has been affected with all the recent transfer speculation in recent months with Ligue 1 club Lille reportedly interested in the £20million-rated forward.

The attacker has started Gers’ first two games of the season, but the Ibrox gaffer stressed his player must stay focused.

Gerrard, speaking to BT Sport, said: “Everyone knows Alfredo has had his head turned. There is no denying that. We just move forward and my focus is on the team and the players who want to be here.

“If a bid comes that the board likes and the player tells me face-to-face he wants to go, then we’ll see what happens.

“He’s professional enough to block the noise out. He hasn’t had the best of games tonight, but we haven’t as a team, either.

“There’s no finger pointing on anyone’s performance, but Alfredo needs to remain focused.”

Gerrard was irritated by some of the enquiries from the media and added: “You’ve asked enough questions on that. A lot of players under-performed, I don’t think it’s the time to pick anyone out.

“I won’t be talking about any individuals tonight.”

Gerrard, of course, has brought in extra striking power with his week’s signings of Kemar Roofe, from Anderlecht, and St Gallen’s Cedric Itten.

Rangers face St Mirren at Ibrox on Sunday and Gerrard may take the opportunity to field at least one of latest acquisitions.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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