Steven Gerrard has urged Rangers to speed up their efforts to extend Glen Kamara’s contract after his impressive Old Firm display.
The bargain £50,000 buy from Dundee has a deal running to 2023 but Gerrard wants to tie the Finland international down for longer after seeing him run the show during the Light Blues’ 2-0 derby triumph at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Gerrard insisted earlier this month Kamara would not be sold despite interest from Anderlecht, saying he would be given a new deal when the “time is right”.
And Gerrard believes that moment has now come.
Asked if Rangers planned to rush through the signing talks to stave off interest in the 24-year-old, Gerrard said: “I don’t know is the answer to your question. If it was my decision the answer would be yes.
“I’ve made my feelings known to Ross [Wilson, sporting director] and the board on that situation.
“Glen has been fantastic for me since day one. He’s grown and he’s evolved. He’s improved and he’s listened. There were different areas of his game that we felt we could shape and help him become a better player.
“But he is the one who has really gone out and worked on his game both in and out of possession. He’s in a fantastic place and is playing with confidence.
“He was superb at the weekend but for me he has been really consistent for much longer than that.
“We want Glen around us for as long as possible and everyone knows my feelings on that situation.”
Rangers will look to use the soaring confidence produced by their Parkhead victory to springboard them back to the Europa League knock-out rounds after their run to the last 16 last term.
They kick off their third consecutive group-stage campaign versus Standard Liege in Belgium on Thursday night against a side who have lost only one of their last 16 European games at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.
But Gerrard is confident having watched his team again prove adept at shutting down the threat of opponents by preventing a blunted Hoops line-up from registering a single shot on target at the weekend.
And he reckons that tactical know-how will ensure they handle Philippe Montanier’s men with care.
He said: “I think it would be a real big victory, but the players are going to have to work ever so hard to get that victory.
“Standard Liege are a good team with a good coach. They have a real aggressive way with how they press and a strong pedigree in Europe with a strong home record.
“We’re under no illusions this is going to be a real tough night but we come here in a good place.
“But we’re at a stage now where we’ve been together for a couple of years so the players should know what we’re trying to do in terms of our philosophy, how we play in and out of possession.”
Like Celtic on Saturday, Liege have had Covid-19 troubles after seeing three players contract the virus in the build-up to the game.
Gerrard has sympathy but insists his team are not here to nurse Standard back to health.
He said: “We are coming up against a very good team, a big squad full of talented players. So I’m sure they will cope.
“Obviously it’s not ideal from their point of view, but we are here to do a job. We are here to try to take maximum points.
“The team that we thought might have started might change in a couple of areas so we have to be ready to adapt to certain situations. We’re very focused on what we have to do.”