STEVEN Gerrard can’t say enough about Andy Robertson as a player or a person and is desperate for him to lift a Premier League title for Liverpool this afternoon which he couldn’t in 17 years of trying. But first he simply wants to shut the Scotland captain up - by inflicting Old Firm defeat on the Scotland captain’s first club and the one he still roots for on Glasgow derby day.

At Anfield in midweek with his seven-year-old daughter to watch Liverpool produce Istanbul-style heroics to book their place in a second Champions League final in two years, Gerrard looked on approvingly as Robertson showed scant respect to world superstars like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, even giving the greatest player of all time a cheeky little dunt on the napper as he ran past on one occasion.

But he would dearly love to symbolically slap the 25-year-old, an acquaintance and near neighbour in Formby, Merseyside, down a little bit when it comes to today’s goings on in the former Queen’s Park man’s home city. Robertson may have been released by Celtic as a teenager, apparently for the crime of being too small, but let’s just say Gerrard’s spies at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground have been in touch.

“Andy Robertson’s a Celtic fan,” joked Gerrard. “He deserves no praise off me.

“No, he’s been a breath of fresh air,” the Englishman added. “He’s a top player. I admire where he started and where he’s got to and he’s an incredible example to players who have the same dreams and aspirations.

“As a Liverpool fan, I love him. He deserves everything that will hopefully come his way in the coming weeks and years. I hope he stays at Liverpool for a long time, because he’s a top player. He’s a top kid as well. I live near him and have bumped into him a couple of times.

“Is there a bit of banter about Rangers? No, but I’ve heard the rumours about what’s going on at Melwood when the game’s on. I’ve got some friends there so I know Andy’s been jumping about in certain Old Firms. I’ll address it the next time I see him.”

If it is refreshing to hear such a light-hearted pre-amble to a big day in both cities, Gerrard is deadly serious when it comes to the notion that football at the top level is a cold-hearted business where there is no room for standing on ceremony.

Had Robertson and co. showed the superstars of Barcelona more respect, the Catalans would quite simply have trampled over the top of them. Regardless of the media row about guards of honour, this is as good a parable as any to remember as the likes of Scott Brown, Ryan Jack and others prepare to go into battle on Old Firm day.

“When you cross the line on a football pitch you have got to forget personalities and egos and brands and reputations,” said Gerrard. “They are trying to take away from you and your family - what YOU want.

“They are trying to take memories and experiences away from you, so respect goes out the window for 90 minutes - that’s football at the top, the only way you achieve things.”

As he left before the end in midweek, the parallels with his own epic comeback in Istanbul were obvious for Gerrard. If the ending for this Liverpool team is as yet unknown, Gerrard at least is one of the lucky ones, guaranteed one ticket by dint of his status as one of the club’s venerable former players. With tickets for the match against Tottenham in Madrid already being sold on third party websites for more than £5,000, he was already being deluged by ticket requests by the time he had returned to the car.

“I had, no word of a lie, on my way to my car, four ticket requests for the 1st of June,” said Gerrard. “People still think I have the same allocation as when I was a player, honestly. You know what my ticket allocation is for the Champions League final. One ticket. For me. And I’ve got to find, I reckon now, 40 tickets for the 1st of June to make other people happy... they said they’ll pay.”

“The reality and brutal truth is Liverpool get nothing for it, except the chance in a final, so it’s different from that point of view because our comeback got us the prize at the end of it,” he added. “But Liverpool have given themselves an incredible opportunity to go and add to that prize and make it number six. I’ll have everything crossed on June 1 but it shows how difficult it is to get success in that competition.”

That is probably enough about Liverpool, Tottenham and the Champions League on a morning when Rangers are plunged into the final Old Firm match of the season. This week of all weeks – with Uefa threatening to redraw the Champions League in a manner which may hurt them more than Celtic – the business end of that competition feels remote indeed.

Instead, Rangers must focus on one goal at a time, and that starts with reeling Celtic in domestically. Completing a clean sweep of Ibrox wins against Celtic for the first time since 2009-10 would be another feather in the cap, but drawing conclusions for next term is difficult because Gerrard admits that the summer is likely to bring significant changes to both squads and starting line-ups.

“Are the post-slit games part of next season in a way?” said Gerrard. “To a certain degree, yes. But there’s plenty of time in the off season and pre-season to worry about next season.

“I think personnel will change in the 18 or 23. The personnel will change in the 11. So it’s difficult to focus too far ahead.

“We obviously don’t want to take our eye off the ball. There are three important points there because it’s an Old Firm game, because it’s a rival.“It’s three points we want and we’ll pick the strongest team available. And we’ll go and try and isolate this game, go out to win it.”

Like his opposite number Neil Lennon, Gerrard is keeping his team for today closely under wraps. His big decision is whether to stick with the personnel and narrow 4-3-2-1 shape which has guided him through to five league wins in a row all season long, or tweak it to something closer to the shape in which they largely hounded Celtic off the park en route to a thoroughly deserved 1-0 triumph in this fixture at Ibrox in December.

Given the ill discipline which saw him dismissed so early at Celtic Park, you would imagine it would be asking for trouble should Gerrard pitch Alfredo Morelos in from the start again after his four-match suspension.

“I think you’ll respect the fact I won’t give any of my team selections away or the style that we played,” he says. “But of course we’ll look at our last way, which was successful, against Celtic. It has to be full on, it has to be aggressive, it has to be of a certain intensity because that’s what the crowd feed off.”

One man who should make a difference is Steven Davis. It may have taken him a while to warm to the task, but the Northern Irishman - deployed in a deeper midfield role - is now regularly his side’s best player and is a veteran of so many of these matches.

“I think as a team we started well against Hibs,” said Gerrard. “But if you take Davis out of it, and analyse just him, then I think he was our strongest and most consistent player against Hibs.

“He’s in great form. He’s sharper, he’s quicker, he’s more confident, he’s more happy. His contract situation’s sorted now.

“I expect him to finish the season strong, have a good pre-season and then really contribute for the whole season next year. So, there’s a big part for Steven to play.”