Steven Gerrard hailed Kemar Roofe’s moment of genius and insisted he had never seen a better goal live than the Rangers frontman’s stunning strike from inside his own half that sank Standard Liege in rain-soaked Belgium.
The Ibrox boss has a catalogue of impressive goals from his playing days but he admitted none stack up to the effort which put the seal on a 2-0 Europa League triumph at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.
James Tavernier fired Gers ahead from the penalty spot as the Light Blues claimed their first away win in a group-stage clash since Walter Smith’s team beat Lyon back in 2007.
But it was Roofe’s incredible effort which has snatched the headlines, and Gerrard insists the former Leeds man deserves his moment in the spotlight.
"World class! Phenomenal! The best goal I've ever seen live!" 🤩— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 22, 2020
He said: “None of my goals were in that league.
“I think it was a moment of genius. I’ve been lucky enough to watch it five or six times since the end of the game and it’s the actual build-up and preparation before the strike.
“He knocks two people off the ball with sheer strength on a very difficult pitch in the worst conditions I’ve seen.
“Then he manages to take someone on – and to then have the vision and audacity to try the strike in the first place, I just think that’s a moment of genius.
“And it’s probably the best goal I’ve seen live – and I’ve been a professional since 1998. Unbelievable strike and he deserves all the plaudits for it.”
But Roofe’s celebrations did not go down well with the hosts.
The former Anderlecht striker was booked in the aftermath of his goal but a member of the Liege back-room staff took matters into their own hands as they confronted him at full-time, sparking a touch-line quarrel between the teams.
Gerrard has no idea if that bust-up will see his team get into trouble but says he will talk to Roofe.
“I can’t control what comes our way from that,” he said. “I don’t think I’d describe it as ugly. I think it’s too harsh. I think it was a little something or nothing.
“They were disappointed in Kemar’s celebration. OK but Kemar was punished for that and that’s for me to deal with and for me to handle.
“They are obviously very frustrated that they have been beaten for the first time in six years on their home patch.
“It’s not nice to lose football matches, especially when you’re the favourites to win them. We can understand the frustrations but it was disappointing. We thought it could have been avoided.”
The final 20 minutes were played out on a swamp as storm clouds deluged the pitch.
But Gerrard was delighted with the way his defensive dam held firm in the final stages.
He said: “I had to say certain things at half-time. We needed to be better in possession.
“I thought our organisation was good and besides a couple of crosses that we allowed to come in, I thought we were OK from a defensive point of view.
“We needed to show more style and to believe in ourselves more once we regained the ball, so we could keep it for longer periods.
“So we had to have a little go at half-time but the first 20 minutes of the second half we were outstanding, more like the Rangers that I like to see with style and a real possession-based approach when we win the ball back.
“But then obviously the weather changed dramatically and the conditions became unplayable and very unpredictable.
“It became about who was going to manage the conditions better from there on in.
“But you have to give the players credit because I think you saw a different side to us in the final 25 minutes. We dug in, we handled the conditions and we thoroughly deserved a big win at a difficult place to come.”
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