AS someone who played alongside David Beckham on numerous occasions during his England career, Steven Gerrard appreciates as well as anyone exactly what his old team mate was capable of with the ball at his feet.

He would, then, be quick to dismiss comparisons between any member of his Rangers team and the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder if he felt they were in any way unjustified.

Yet, Gerrard had no problem when he saw the inch-perfect cross that his left back Borna Barisic supplied to Alfredo Morelos in the first-half of his side’s Europa League game against Porto Estadio do Drago on Thursday night – which the striker promptly rifled into the roof of the opposition net - described as “Beckhamesque”.

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Indeed, he went even further as he looked back on the 1-1 draw at the Hummel Training Centre yesterday morning. The Ibrox manager insisted both the delivery by Barisic and the finish by Morelos at the end of a well-worked attacking move were “world-class”.

“The goal was certainly the highlight of the performance,” he said. “It was sensational. We always knew we could hurt them down the sides as they become very narrow in the final third.

“But the cross from Borna and the finish from Alfredo were both world class bits of play. I’ve read a quote saying the cross was Beckhamesque and I’m sure David would have been proud of that one.

“The finish, with the composure to take the touch and then lift it high into the net, not many strikers would do that in that situation.”

Gerrard felt the all-round Rangers performance in Portugal, which secured a result that keeps them in second place in Group G and in with an excellent chance of progressing to the knockout rounds, was of the very highest quality.

The fact they avoided the sort of unforced errors which cost them so dear in their previous match against Young Boys in Switzerland three weeks earlier was especially pleasing for him.

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“You have to get it perfect and the players all have to bring their A games to the party,” he said. “The levels (in Europe) are so much higher. We said to the players before the game that we couldn’t carry one individual, we couldn’t turn the ball over in silly areas, we can’t make mistakes. Because good players in good teams punish you. We’ve all seen it. That’s certainly the case at this level, but the players were outstanding.”

But the eye-catching form of Barisic, the Croatian defender who struggled during his debut season in Scotland after being signed from Osijek in his homeland for a £2.2 million transfer fee due to injury problems and a number of other issues, continues to please Gerrard greatly.

He revealed he was always confident the defender, who was written off by some supporters and pundits after some underwhelming showings last term, would silence his detractors.

READ MORE: Watch: FC Porto 1-1 Rangers highlights as Alfredo Morelos takes advantage of stunning Barisic pass to seal vital point

“He’s more robust and strong,” he said. “Mentally he’s in a better place. I think he’s more settled in Glasgow. He’s used to being away from home now. It’s a combination of those things why he’s in terrific form.

“I think it’s satisfying for him. He knows he’s that level of player. He’s Croatia’s left-back, an international player. He was in outstanding form for Osijek when we scouted him, he had two outstanding games against Rangers we saw with our own eyes.

“We’ve always had confidence he could get to this level and perform with this consistency. But there’s a combination of things that explain why it never worked for him last season and why he’s in this form. We saw flashes, we saw moments, but never on a consistent basis.”

Consistency in the league hasn’t been a problem for Rangers this season; they have won seven, drawn one and lost one of the nine Ladbrokes Premiership matches they have played in the 2019/20 and are currently level on points with their Glasgow rivals at the top of the table.

Still, the below par display his charges produced against Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend after many of them returned from international duty has made Gerrard wary of the meeting with Motherwell at Ibrox tomorrow.

He knows his team can ill-afford any more slip-ups like it if they hope to challenge for the Scottish title. He won;t blame a “European hangover” as an excuse for another off day even though they have to take to the field little over 48 hours after their energy-sapping and mentally-draining game in Norte. He is confident he has, after another summer of extensive recruitment, a strong enough squad to cope with a hectic fixture list.

“It’s certainly a testing schedule,” he said. “That’s Rangers, that’s what it’s like at top clubs. That’s what we sign up for. You don’t get a day off at Rangers, you don’t get breathing space.

“We’ve tried to create, within the group, no excuses. But the reality is the schedule is tough. At the moment we’re handling it better, but we’ve got better players, we’ve got more experience, we’ve been together longer. We’ve found a better level of consistency. But that doesn’t mean we won’t keep pushing, trying to raise the level even more. We can’t just be satisfied with where we’re at now.”

Gerrard knows how he can ensure there is no repeat of their Tynecastle result. “I’ll show them the first five minutes at Hearts,” he said. “It’s pretty simple.”