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Brendan Rodgers shares the same sanctuary as rival Steven Gerrard

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Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard share the same taste in holidaysRodgers' favourite Dubai beach resort has long served as a sun-kissed sanctuaryHe has used the same hotel as a luxurious base at both Liverpool and Celtic

The conversations may have been restricted to small talk but, as Scottish football worked itself into a froth over the fall-out from the December Old Firm match, the two main protagonists were chatting amiably almost 4,000 miles away.

Previously manager and captain with Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard share plenty of history but, as the latter remarked before Rangers' 1-0 win last month, their current job status makes any meaningful relationship 'impossible'.

Tribal loyalty does not, though, preclude them from sharing the same taste in holidays.

Old Firm rivals Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard share the same taste in holidays

Rodgers' favourite Dubai beach resort has long served as a sun-kissed sanctuary away from the pressures of football management.

A regular customer, he has used the same hotel as a luxurious base for his Liverpool and Celtic squads when they have travelled to the Emirate for some warm weather training.

Rodgers might feel entitled to a discount for generating some extra business as he bumped into Gerrard on the premises just a few days after they had sent their teams into combat at Ibrox.

'I introduced the Liverpool boys to the hotel, like I've done with the Celtic boys,' said Rodgers, as he relaxed in a reading room. 'They tend to like it and they come back.

'I saw Steven a few times last week and we had a nice wee chat.' 

What they discussed will remain private but it's doubtful they discussed the match just passed in any great detail.

'It's different now,' admits Rodgers. 'It's hard to have the relationship we had at Liverpool now we're direct rivals.

'It will probably remain like that until one or both of us move on from these roles. But the respect is always there because it's a tough job.

Rodgers and Gerrard bumped into each other just a few days after last month's Ibrox clash

'When you manage a big club there's always pressures, so I'll always respect that and I respect his work at Rangers.

'We're in such unique positions. If we were at different clubs, there would probably be a lot more communication.

'Maybe at some point in the future the dynamic will change again. In the meantime, you have to focus on your own club.

'He's a former player who was great for me. He's done a very good job there and he's brought in good players. They're up there on merit and it's up to us to continue with our good work.' 

Defeat at Ibrox marked Celtic's 38th competitive game of the season and, after such a tired looking performance, the winter break has offered a welcome chance to rest and recuperate.

While the trip to the Middle East has allowed the squad to hit the reset button, there has been a flurry of transfer activity to rejuvenate and freshen the pool of players available to the manager.

Winger Oliver Burke was first to check in on loan from West Brom and he was quickly followed by Paris Saint-Germain forward Timothy Weah.

Goalscorer Vakoun Issouf Bayo has also been signed in a £2million permanent transfer from Dunajska Streda, meaning Rodgers now has a range of options after muddling through much of the first half of the season with Odsonne Edouard as his only recognised striker. 

The trip to the Middle East has allowed the squad to hit the reset button this month

Rodgers entered the campaign with the intention of pairing record signing Edouard with Moussa Dembele and the two looked to be striking up a potent partnership during pre-season.

The game plan was scuppered when Dembele forced through his deadline-day transfer to Lyon.

'When Moussa left, it took away that option of playing two up front,' continued Rodgers. 

'You need different types of strikers to do what we were trying to do and the players we've brought in will increase the options.

'We worked in pre-season with two up front and people could see the excitement the team had. After Moussa left and we had a tricky start to the season, then the team found that excitement again.

'We'll have options again in the second half of the season.

'At Liverpool, I played with a diamond a lot. I've not had the chance to do that here but it can give the team a different dynamic.

'The players are great here, in terms of their flexibility. These new signings will allow us to look at different things.'

For more news relating to Rangers, visit our sister site Rangers Live.
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