WITH Ovie Ejaria seemingly on his way back to Liverpool, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has a problem to solve. The 21-year-old was never a crucial part of Gerrard’s side but has racked up 26 appearances since he arrived in the summer and his likely departure will force Gerrard to consider who will replace Ejaria in the first team.

Luckily for Gerrard, he has plenty of options. Rangers have no fewer than seven more central midfielders to choose from and each one will be desperate to nail down a place in the starting eleven. Aside from Scott Arfield, there isn’t really anyone who’s guaranteed to play every week.

Despite the abundance of midfielders currently contracted at Ibrox, Gerrard may have to tip his toes into the water when the transfer window re-opens next month. For all the midfielders Gerrard can select, there are few that are making a strong case for themselves.

One of the biggest issues facing Gerrard just now is the fact that there is a general lack of creativity in midfield. When we take a look at the breakdown of Rangers’ key passes - a pass that leads to a shot - then this is abundantly clear.

We can see that Rangers’ wide players are doing most of the heavy lifting here, particularly James Tavernier and Daniel Candeias. Worryingly for Gerrard, however, is that Arfield is the only central midfielder consistently providing opportunities for his teammates. It’s worth noting that Arifeld is indeed excelling here, but his fellow midfielders are offering little in this regard.

Alfredo Morelos, for instance has set up more shots than Ejaria, Ross McCrorie, Lassana Coulibaly, Andy Halliday, Ryan Jack and Jordan Rossiter combined. Even Connor Goldson at centre back has provided more chances for his teammates than all but one central midfielder at Rangers in the league this season.

Of course, it should be noted that the likes of Rossiter, Jack and McCrorie are primarily defensive players, so it’s perhaps a little unfair to judge them on their creative ability. There’s probably some truth to this, but it further reinforces the point: Rangers need more creative midfielders. At present, Gerrard is relying on players who are better utilised further back the pitch.

Not only are the Rangers midfield failing to create goalscoring opportunities, they’re also struggling when transitioning from a defensive to an attacking phase of play. When we examine the Premiership’s top ten players with the highest rates of passing into the final third, only one Rangers player makes the list: Goldson.

This again highlights the fundamental issue at the heart of Gerrard’s side. Most of the players the 38-year-old can select are primarily defensive and look to play backwards or lateral passes and are essentially defensive midfielders who are better out of possession than with the ball at their feet.

When January rolls around Gerrard must address this issue. Despite the abundance of midfielders the Rangers boss has at his disposal, only Arfield is consistently providing a creative spark.

Gerrard has already indicated that he’s planning on this, saying that Rangers “certainly” need to add to their squad during the January window and that the club will be focussing on bringing in attacking reinforcements. Until more creative players move to Ibrox, Rangers will continue to struggle to create opportunities from midfield.