Rangers kicked off their Scottish Premiership title defence with a comfortable 3-0 win against Livingston at Ibrox on Saturday afternoon, although Fashion Sakala struggled to impress on his first competitive appearance for Steven Gerrard’s side.
After scoring the equaliser in Rangers’ pre-season win against Real Madrid last weekend, with Alfredo Morelos out of action after returning from Colombia after the Copa America, Gerrard opted to start his new signing up front against David Martindale’s side.
The Zambia international, who joined from Belgian Pro League side KV Oostende earlier in the summer, impressed Gerrard with his attitude and performances in pre-season but failed to really make any inroads in the Premiership opener.
As per SofaScore, the 24-year-old earned a less than impressive 6.5/10 rating for his display, with only Glen Kamara (6.4) rated lower of the Rangers players to feature in the game.
During his 71 minutes on the pitch, the £3.6m-rated forward had just 15 touches of the ball, completing only five passes in total. In comparison, Rangers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had 31 touches and completed 29 passes, which emphasises just how little Sakala contributed.
Much to the Ibrox faithful’s frustration, the new signing was caught offside on four occasions, whilst he also lost the ball six times in the game, which suggests that he struggled to adapt to the demands of the Premiership.
Although this was his first appearance for Rangers and there is undoubtedly more to come from the forward, Kemar Roofe’s goal from the bench suggests that he will be given the nod to start ahead of the Zambian against Malmo in the Champions League qualifiers on Tuesday night.
Hopefully Sakala will be able to put this disappointing first performance behind him and grab his first Rangers goal in the near future, as Gerrard will surely be hoping that the 24-year-old can provide stiff competition for Morelos and Roofe throughout the 2021/22 campaign.