STEVEN GERRARD knows better than most that is a squad rather than individuals that wins silverware.

So when he has to leave players out of the group on a match day or only give them a seat on the bench, he does so with the belief that it will stand Rangers in good stead this season.

The 39-year-old produced his fair share of moments of magic during his glittering playing career that saw him clinch domestic and European medals but ultimately miss out on Premier League glory.

When Gerrard had quality around him, Liverpool stood a far better chance of success.

Now the Ibrox boss needs his Light Blues stars to trust that his chopping and changing will allow them to thrive individually and collectively this term.

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Gerrard said: “I’ve never had this feeling where there are four or five players outside the squad of 18 who are giving me daggers, never mind the seven who are not in the 11.

“But I welcome it and the message to the players is the only way we can have a positive end to the season is if everyone contributes.

“We won’t do it with 11 or 13 or 14, 15, the only way we’ll do it is with a strong squad because if you analyse why Man City win leagues, analyse why Liverpool win Champions Leagues or why Celtic win Trebles it’s a collective thing throughout the squad.

“If the players understand that we’ll be fine but the headache is not going away, certainly not in the short term because I have to name a squad and there are four or five who won’t be happy.”

The squad that Gerrard has assembled for his second season at Ibrox is the strongest and deepest that Rangers have had for several years.

That presents its own difficulties in terms of keeping everyone pulling in the same direction. It is a welcome problem to have, though.

“It’s a challenge,” Gerrard said. “I don’t think everyone is going to be happy every day. That’s the reality. But they are all professional.

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“They are all big boys. You have seen this season that I have rotated and changed and given people opportunities. I did that throughout pre-season. More often than not I’ll play the players I am confident are going to deliver and win the game.

“That’s got to be the priority. But, having played in Europe as a player, I raise that it takes an awful lot out of you.

“It’s impossible to play Thursday-Sunday throughout the season. If you add that to injuries and suspensions, going on what we have experienced in the past 12 months, I am going to need more than 15-16 players.

“I am hoping we have got 50-60 games. If for any reason we haven’t got European football, that probably won’t be the case, where players are coming out of teams in that rotation. I think you saw at the back end of the season, when we had a game a week, the team was pretty settled.

“People were delivering and performing and, if you are getting wins, you stay in the team more often than not. But whilst we have this schedule, you know and I know it is impossible to play the same 11 players.”

If Gerrard chooses to mix it up once again tonight, he could make a handful of changes and still field a side he would be confident that could finish the job against Midtjylland at Ibrox.

The Gers netted four goals in Denmark last week and hit six by Hibernian on Sunday, with Jermain Defoe and Alfredo Morelos sharing five of them before Sheyi Ojo added another to his tally this term.

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Gerrard said: “I think from last year we were probably over-reliant on certain individuals in certain areas of the pitch.

“So the idea this year was to create a squad that is full and loaded; two options in each position.

“So if we suffer an injury or a dip in form, for whatever reason someone’s not at it, we can change with the same level of quality.

“To have two number nines of that level - different ages and different stages of their careers but with the same hunger - is fantastic for me and everyone else at the club.

“I’m more pleased with the chances we’re creating.

“I’ve got every confidence there’s enough goalscorers in the squad.

“The pleasing thing for me at the weekend was we created over 30 chances, which is high.

“I understand they had a man sent off in the 56th minute. But, first half I don’t think anyone could’ve complained if we were out of sight in terms of chance creation.

“And with the quality we’ve got throughout the squad I’m very confident the goals will keep coming.

“We were high goalscorers last year. But you have to do both sides of the pitch.

“You can’t just be creating chances and scoring goals, we also have to be shutting up shop at the back. But we’re moving along really nicely.”

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As Gerrard praised his players for their performance on Sunday, he made a brief reference to a potential new deal for Defoe that would keep him at Ibrox beyond the end of the current campaign.

The striker may be in the twilight of his career but he continues to show that age is just a number as he and fellow forward Morelos lead the Gers’ attacking line with aplomb.

For boss Gerrard, there is no reason why that has to change any time soon.

He said: “I didn’t tease you. It’s the truth. If Jermain Defoe stays in the form he is in, Jermain Defoe has a conversation with me at some stage further on in the season.

“If he’s happy here and he wants to stay and is in the form he is in, it makes total sense to keep him about. He is an absolute dream to work with. He is robust. He is professional. He is great for the young lads in the dressing room. He has been outstanding since he has come.

“At first, you had to realise that he hadn’t played much football, but now that he has a good pre-season under his belt, you saw at the weekend that he is still electric at this age. So why should he be judged on an age?”