Steven Gerrard moved a step closer to his first full-time managerial role after Rangers axed interim boss Graeme Murty on Tuesday morning.
Murty has left Ibrox just days after the humiliating 5-0 defeat to Celtic, which saw their Old Firm rivals clinch the title for the seventh year in a row.
The club slipped to third in the table as a result of that defeat, and could yet miss out on a place in Europe after a slump in form that has seen their grasp on second place loosen.
Gerrard was in Glasgow on Monday to hold talks with the Scottish Premiership club, who are confident of reaching an agreement with the Liverpool youth coach by the end of this week.
Murty had originally stepped up from being Under-20s coach when Pedro Caixinha was axed last October before being asked to see out the season after Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes turned down a move to Ibrox.
The 43-year-old had spoken last week of fighting to remain in charge for next season, but his side conceded nine goals to Celtic in the space of a fortnight – spread between a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat and the weekend just gone.
It now looks increasingly likely that Gerrard will be the man to take up the mantle, with his close friend and former Anfield colleague Danny Murphy revealing on Monday that he was seeking reassurances over the resources available to mount a challenge to Celtic before committing to the ‘exciting’ opportunity.
And another former team-mate Frank Lampard has backed the 37-year-old to handle the pressure of managing a massive club.
‘In terms of the size of the club and knowing Steven pretty well, I think it’s a great opportunity for him, he told sources.
‘If it feels right, I think he can handle that pressure from his playing days, he’s no stranger to that with the career he had in the game.
‘He has cut his teeth at Liverpool with the young lads there and at some point Steven is going to step out of that and go into managing men, managing a first-team.
‘So that’s why I think Rangers would be a great opportunity for him.’
Meanwhile, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers had slammed the treatment of Murty following Sunday’s victory, claiming he had been ‘thrown to the garbage’ by their rivals.
‘At the moment there’s a lot of speculation going on around (Gerrard) but I’m a wee bit reluctant to talk about it too much purely because Graeme Murty has been put in a job,’ Rodgers said.
‘Last year he was the Under-20s coach who everyone was talking about. He’s a good guy and it was going well.
‘And now because of a couple of defeats and it hasn’t quite worked out, he’s just been thrown to the garbage really and I think it’s very, very discourteous.
‘The guy has gone in there and done his very, very best in, what looks from the outside, very trying and difficult circumstances.’