April 27, 2018 / 4:31 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Celtic boss Rodgers 'surprised' as Gerrard linked with Rangers

LONDON (Reuters) - Brendan Rodgers was “surprised” and Juergen Klopp supportive as managers close to Steven Gerrard reacted to media reports that the former Liverpool midfielder is in discussions with Rangers about taking charge of the Scottish Premiership team.

Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The 37-year-old Gerrard has been coaching with Liverpool’s development squad since retiring in 2016 and has said he wishes to become a manager.

Gerrard and Rangers chairman Dave King attended Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final first leg with AS Roma on Tuesday and the BBC has reported that Rangers are prepared to offer him the job even though he has no direct experience of Scottish football.

To be given the task of reviving Rangers, who were once Scotland’s most successful club but have been badly hit by financial problems, would represent a huge challenge for Gerrard.

It would also pit him directly against Rodgers, his former Liverpool manager who is now in charge at Rangers’ Glasgow rivals Celtic.

“I was a little bit surprised when I saw (the reports),” said Rodgers, who spent three years working with Gerrard at Liverpool. “If the speculation is right then maybe Stevie feels it is the right club.

“He’s always wanted to be a manager. When you’re starting out it’s all about when you feel the time is right. It’s about the right club.”

Liverpool manager Klopp said he was not surprised that the former England captain is attracting interest. “I can imagine clubs are interested in signing Stevie. We will support him whatever he wants to do,” said Klopp.

“As long as he is not the Everton manager or Man United then we would still help him if he has questions,” added the German coach.

Should Gerrard be appointed, he would follow in the footsteps of another Liverpool midfielder, Graeme Souness, who won three titles and four league cups in five years as Rangers manager between 1986-1991.

Another Liverpool great, John Barnes, proved less successful at Celtic, lasting just eight months as head coach in 1999.

Rangers have been under the caretaker managership of Graeme Murty since Pedro Caixinha was sacked last October. The club have been unable to mount an effective challenge to Celtic this season and lie 10 points behind the leaders, who also knocked them out of the Scottish FA Cup earlier this month.

Hibernian and former Celtic manager Neil Lennon said to appoint the untried Gerrard to such a high-profile role would be “a risk on both parties”.

“He is a brilliant guy and has been one of my heroes. But playing football is totally different from coaching and managing. I’m sure he will do a bit of due diligence and he has got plenty of people he can turn to for advice,” said Lennon.

Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Toby Davis

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