Liverpool v Rangers: ‘Champions League will bring out the best version of Liverpool’


Place: Anfield Date: October 4, Tuesday Start: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland Extra; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Rangers are preparing to face the best version of Liverpool in the Champions League, despite their ongoing struggles in the Premier League.

Rangers, who are second in the Scottish Premiership, have been heavily beaten in their two Group A games so far, but manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says there are “things to build on” in Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“It will be very difficult,” he said. “They’re a team that’s been in three finals in five years, and they’re one of the best in Europe. If you look at the ones we’ve faced, this is probably the strongest side.

“They didn’t get a good result on Saturday, but they have quality players and a great manager, so we are preparing for the best Liverpool we can face.”

Manager Jurgen Klopp he said his team needs to “go back to basics”. to try to improve defensively, as they conceded 14 goals in nine games in all competitions, conceding two.

Liverpool were humbled by Napoli in their first group game before beating Ajax in the second leg at Anfield. Now they welcome a Rangers side they have never faced in a competitive game.

“They are a good team, well trained and had an exceptional season in Europe last year,” Klopp said of the Europa League finalists. “They have also had results they don’t want and they will definitely want to change that.

“Rangers’ run in Europe last year was exceptional. We expect a good fight and prepare for it.”

Group news

Scotland captain Andy Robertson is likely to be out for Liverpool again as he continues to recover from the injury that caused him to miss last month’s Nations League game.

Scotland Under-21 defenders Ibrahima Konate and Calvin Ramsay both trained on Monday, but Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not take part in the session.

Tom Lawrence was not expected to feature for Rangers, but Van Bronckhorst has revealed that the midfielder will be out until the end of the World Cup and may not play this year following a fresh injury in training.

James Sands is suspended after his red card against Napoli, but Ben Davies is available despite being substituted at half-time in the win at Hearts at the weekend.

what they said

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp: “When you see a problem and think you have a solution, you hope [it] to be immediate That is never the case in football.

“Defense is an art and it worked really well for us for a long time. But when it didn’t work, you realize you have to go back to the basics. We can’t always start over. If we can help guys with ways. to defend differently, that’s what we have to do.”

Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “It’s a big opportunity for everyone. In the Champions League you play against the best players and that’s a motivation for the whole team and for me as a coach.

“They are at home, they had a bad result in the first game, but the pressure is always on both teams. They are used to playing at this level but it is a huge step for us. We accept the challenge. It is a tough place. it will come, but we think it is still possible.”

Table

Comments from commenters

Liam McLeod, BBC Scotland

Although the English are usually strong favourites, if history has taught us anything, it’s that these ‘Battle of Britain’ European games can be of a high standard.

Most recently Celtic drew two with Manchester City in this competition. In their previous Champions League adventure, Rangers drew with Manchester United at Old Trafford, while Celtic beat the Red Devils and won at Anfield.

Hearts have also drawn at home to Liverpool and at Spurs. All in the last 20 years.

If anyone at Rangers needs inspiration, look no further than two of Walter Smith’s favorite nights as manager, as they beat then English champions Leeds United – with Gordon-Strachan, Gary McAllister and Eric Cantona on display – over the two legs of Europe. Cup second round tie in 1992.

That sealed first place in the Champions League group stage in the tournament’s inaugural season in its current guise.’

Match statistics

  • This is the first European meeting between Liverpool and Rangers.
  • Rangers have won just one of their seven away games in England (2-L4), beating Leeds United 2-1 in the Champions League qualifiers in November 1992, with goals from Mark Hateley and Ally McCoist.
  • Liverpool’s last meeting with Scottish opponents in the European Cup was in 1980-81, when they won 5-0 against Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen side (1-0 away, 4-0 at home). They won the competition that year.
  • A Scottish team has won the European Cup or Champions League in seven attempts (2-L4), with Celtic beating Leeds 1-0 in the first leg of the 1969-70 semi-finals. .
  • Liverpool have won 13 of their last 15 home Champions League group stage matches (D1 L1), scoring 36 goals. Their only defeat came against Atalanta in November 2020.
  • Rangers’ 0-4 defeat against Ajax in the first matchday was the toughest away game in the Champions League. They took one shot – eight less than the opponent, and he only had four touches in the opponent’s area.
  • Rangers are still looking for their first Champions League goal this season, having never conceded in their first three games. Only Viktoria Plzen (two) and Sevilla (three) have taken fewer shots than Rangers (four).