The Blues coach described the English forward’s stunning effort from inside his own half as a “moment of genius” after seeing his side win in Belgium
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has lauded Kemar Roofe for his “world-class” strike against Standard Liege, insisting “it is the best goal I have ever seen live”.
The Scottish Premier League leaders opened their latest Europa League campaign with a 2-0 victory in torrential rain at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Thursday night.
James Tavernier put Rangers in front from the penalty spot 19 minutes in, but the hosts were unlucky not to equalise before the break as Jackson Muleka saw two headers bounce off the woodwork.
Gerrard’s men upped their game in the second period though, with Alfredo Morelos denied from close range on two occasions and Scott Arfield squandering a good opening from the edge of the box.
Conditions worsened as the clock began to run down with water standing on the pitch, but Rangers were able to make sure of the three points in spectacular fashion in stoppage time.
Roofe picked up the ball just outside Rangers’ box before shaking off three defenders and letting fly from inside his own half, and the ball nestled into the back of the net past the flailing Liege goalkeeper to spark wild celebrations on the away bench.
Former Liverpool midfielder Gerrard, who scored plenty of memorable goals during his own playing career, told a post-match press conference of the 27-year-old’s spectacular effort: “The goal was a moment of genius – a world-class moment. I have been playing football professionally since 1998 and it is the best goal I have ever seen live with my own eyes.
“He collects the ball 15 yards outside our box, he is strong for two challenges, he holds the player off with the third challenge and then he actually takes the player on in the worst conditions I’ve seen.
“And then, to have the vision, the power and the class to score from 55 yards – I don’t think I’ve seen a better goal and I don’t think I will see a better goal.”
WHAT. ON. EARTH. 😱
Give the Puskas Award to Rangers’ Kemar Roofe already 🤩pic.twitter.com/vXavkamvY8
— Goal (@goal) October 22, 2020
Asked to assess Rangers’ latest performance, the 40-year-old manager responded: “I think it is a very important victory to start the group in a positive way. We have beaten a good team tonight and I think we deserved the victory.
“We were good defensively in the first-half besides one moment from a cross with the header off the crossbar, but in possession, we needed to improve and we needed to be better.
“I think in the second half, we were outstanding for 20 minutes and then the game changed with the weather – it was very unpredictable and it was difficult for both teams.
“But we managed the game extremely well and we take three important points away.”
Gerrard added on how his players dealt with the extreme weather in Belgium: “It is in your mind the officials might delay and take the teams off – I am happy he decided to play on obviously, but the conditions for both teams and every player were really unpredictable.
“Everything was very difficult – the rain was incredible. I think in the last 20-25 minutes it was about which team wanted the victory the most. We had one scary moment at the very end – thankfully, Standard never scored as it might have changed the game.
“But from the second half tonight, I was very proud of my team as we were much better and we deserved the victory.
“We had two or three other really good chances to score, and I think that is important for the next time we play Liege we know we are capable of creating big chances which is good for the confidence and belief for the next game.”