Steven Gerrard: Rangers boss wary of Steve Clarke's Kilmarnock

Steven Gerrard talks to Kenny Dalglish (left) and Steve Clarke (right) in 2012
Gerrard worked with Steve Clarke (right) when he was assistant to Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool
Kilmarnock v Rangers, League Cup second round
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Date: Sunday, 19 August Kick-off: 12:30 BST
Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland with live text commentary on the BBC Sport Scotland website and app.

Rangers must be wary of a Kilmarnock side guided by a "top man" in his former Liverpool coach Steve Clarke, says manager Steven Gerrard.

Kilmarnock beat Rangers home and away last season and host Gerrard's side in a League Cup last-16 tie on Sunday.

The Ibrox boss worked with Clarke for a season and a half when the Scot was Kenny Dalglish's assistant at Anfield.

"I enjoyed working with Steve very much. I absolutely loved his sessions as a player," Gerrard said.

"He's a top man - someone I have enormous respect for as a coach. He is an experienced football man who knows the game.

"He was brought up at Chelsea and also had the benefit of working with [Jose] Mourinho, who I know he took an awful lot from, to add to what he already had."

Gerrard's Rangers remain unbeaten in eight competitive games this season and will need to cope with a three-day turnaround for a third successive week after a 0-0 draw in Maribor on Thursday sealed their passage to the Europa League play-off round.

"We will have to be at it," the Englishman added. "We will have to recover as well as we can and go there and put in a strong performance if we want to stay in this cup competition.

"Steve's Kilmarnock team are very strong at home, they have a very good record and are difficult to beat there. They are obviously used to the [artificial] surface a lot more than visiting teams.

"They play with two banks of four normally and, in Kris Boyd, they have a very experienced player who makes himself difficult to handle and knows where the back of the net is."

'There's a different mentality to last season'

Clarke, meanwhile, believes Rangers' midweek trip to Slovenia will have little bearing on the outcome of Sunday's contest.

"Modern travel, easy. Players are used to it," he said. "You jump on a plane, you get home, you get a good sleep. They will be ready."

Clarke took over Kilmarnock when they were bottom of the Premiership in October and started his reign with a point at Ibrox before lifting the Ayrshire club to a fifth-place finish.

But the Killie boss is not looking to last season's successes against Rangers for inspiration.

"There is a different mentality to last season because this is a completely new season," he said. "Rangers are a different team, we are a different team.

"There is no point in looking back to last year and we will see what happens on Sunday.

"We are slowly getting back to the level we were at last season. We have been competitive in all the games and, if we are competitive, we are good enough to win against anybody; we have proved that."

Kilmarnock v Rangers - 2017-18 Premiership
25/10/17: Rangers 1-1 Kilmarnock17/03/18: Rangers 0-1 Kilmarnock
23/12/17: Kilmarnock 2-1 Rangers05/05/18: Rangers 1-0 Kilmarnock

'It is going to be difficult for Rangers' - analysis

Former Rangers striker Billy Dodds on Sportsound:

Rangers have handled it well so far with good performances after their Europa League adventures.

Kilmarnock are carrying on from last season and they were formidable against Rangers last year. It is going to be difficult for Rangers. I can see a scoring draw, but I see Rangers getting through.

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