How Rangers’ Liverpool contingent are faring under Steven Gerrard
Gerrard already has a good knowledge of the players in the youth set-up at Liverpool, having been their Under-18s coach for over a year before taking up the hotseat at Ibrox.
And two Liverpool youngsters have since joined Gerrard at Rangers on loan, while a couple of former Reds also find themselves in Glasgow on a permanent basis.
Formerly of Arsenal’s academy, Ejaria moved to Liverpool in 2014 and made his full debut two years later in a League Cup tie at Derby County.
First-team football proved sporadic, however, and he was sent out on loan to Sunderland in January, making 11 appearances as the Black Cats suffered relegation to League One.
Having joined Rangers on loan in the summer, Ejaria has already made 10 starts, scoring a crucial goal against UFA to fire Rangers into the Europa League group stages which drew praise from Gerrard.
“Ovie’s goal was sensational,” Gerrard said. “I think his last four performances he’s become a man. He’s performing at a high level, he’s been really good since he’s come through the door, but he’s getting better and better, and he’s growing.”
Ejaria with another goal for Rangers. The lad really is taking his chance and showing his talent up there. pic.twitter.com/7nQiCrZYhc
— LFC Stanley House (@LFCStanleyHouse) August 31, 2018
Flanagan actually played with Gerrard during his Liverpool days, with the right-back enjoying a breakthrough season at Anfield in 2013-14.
An injury subsequently kept him on the sidelines for almost two years, and he was shipped out on loan to Burnley and Bolton Wanderers before being released by Liverpool in June.
Flanagan hasn’t played regular football for around four years, but Gerrard has offered him a second chance with Rangers, and the player penned a two-year deal over the summer.
The 25-year-old has played in 10 games for Rangers this season but was one of two players sent off in Rangers’ second leg tie against UFA as they were forced to hang on with nine men, but Gerrard has praised the impact his former team-mate has had at Ibrox.
“Jon has had a bit of a lull and a dip in his career over the last couple of years,” he said. “He had an injury to his knee.
“But what I’ve seen since he’s walked through the door is that he has his mojo back. He has got the consistency he had at Liverpool back. His smile is back, and he is enjoying his football.
“He has settled into the dressing-room like a duck to water. The players love him. He is that type of character, very infectious. He has done what we expected. We brought him here to be solid. He is a competitor. Positionally, he is exactly where you want him to be.
“And he is one of the good guys – when the going gets tough he will stand up for you.”
Jon Flanagan on a free transfer is some piece of business. A lot of fans were not happy when we signed him but he’s certainly putting the performances in on the pitch. Great signing.
— David Johnston (@davidjohnston54) August 6, 2018
Rangers are the fifth club Kent has been on loan to, despite being just 21-years-old.
Liverpool recalled Kent from SC Freiburg in January as the winger struggled to break into the German outfit’s first team. The Reds also fined Bristol City around £200,000 after the Robins failed to play Kent in the agreed amount of matches in the second half of 2017-18.
Under the leadership of Gerrard, however, the England youth international has already appeared 10 times this term, although he admits he has “to prove a lot of people wrong from last season”.
Rossiter wasn’t actually signed by Gerrard – he made the move to Rangers in 2016 – but the course of his career shares many similarities with that of his new boss.
When he faced Inter Milan in a youth match aged 15, Robbie Fowler said of the midfielder: “A young lad is just about to come on for a few mins for Liverpool in [the] Nextgen – Jordan Rossiter. Big shout, but potentially a young Stevie G. He’s a very good player.”
It seemed destined that he would follow in the footsteps of his current boss when he was named the captain of the Under-19s in 2014, and he became Liverpool’s second-youngest goalscorer of all time when he scored on his first-team debut against Middlesbrough.
But injuries curtailed his progress and he moved north of the border with just five appearances for the Reds to his name.
It has been a similar story in Glasgow, where injuries have again scuppered his development and a fresh blow on the eve of the new season means he is yet to appear under Gerrard.
However, his former team-mate suggested Rossiter was one of Rangers’ stand-out performers in pre-season. Still only 21, he at least has time on his side.