Liverpool dominated packed-in Rangers, cruising to a 2-0 win at Anfield in UEFA Champions League group stage play.
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Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a gorgeous free kick and Mohamed Salah converted a penalty to account for a 2-0 lead, and the Reds only allowed three shot attempts to their Glaswegian visitors. Not one of those attempts were on target.
Liverpool’s six points through three matches are three fewer than Napoli and three more than Ajax. Rangers have yet to claim a point ahead of a return match with Liverpool in Glasgow.
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What we learned from Liverpool vs Rangers
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attacking flair has not been affected by defensive struggles: The English right back was poor at the back in a weekend draw with Brighton that followed an international break that saw him with England but not on the pitch. How would he react with a chance to do something special from a dead ball? Pretty darn well, sending an arrow into the upper 90 and giving Liverpool a 1-0 lead.
Better luck next time, Rangers: Glasgow Rangers’ run to the 2021-22 Europa League Final fueled the hope tank ahead of Champions League qualifying, and Giovanni von Bronckhorst led the team to the group stage and a tricky trio of opponents. So far, so ouch. Rangers lost 4-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam and had 25% of the ball. They hung tough with Napoli in Glasgow until a James Sands’ red card helped the Neapolitans to a 3-0 win. Now a 2-0 loss with 36% of the ball and a 21-3 attempt disadvantage? Woof.
Trent Alexander free kick goal video
TRENT. TOP CORNER. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/n8g0x8Wu4p
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 4, 2022
Jurgen Klopp reaction: We changed things. It helped Trent.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that there’s not a problem with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive ability at right back.
Klopp says that if it appears he is struggling, that’s because he’s exposed by his teammates and the other team.
While that might seems like there’s a problem with his defensive ability, well, we would understand why you would think that, but he’s Jurgen Klopp admitting that there was a problem that included Trent Alexander-Arnold defending, so they changed their formation to make it better for him, and now there is still no problem.
“There is no problem with defending,” Klopp said of Alexander-Arnold. “In good moments everything is fine. If there is no protection it looks like he is exposed. We changed it a little bit today.”
And Klopp is thrilled with the clean sheet following a 3-3 draw with Brighton at the weekend.
“We expected a reaction. Everyone expected a reaction. We really want to turn this into a positive and for that we need consistency. For that, you need top-class defending and we had that tonight. It worked out pretty well.”
How to watch Liverpool vs Rangers live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, Tuesday
TV Channel: TUDN, Paramount+
Online: Updates via NBCSports.com
Defensively Liverpool are really struggling and Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold in particular look way off their usual standards. However, it’s not just about the defense. From front to back Liverpool haven’t matched their usual energy levels so far this season and after so much success over the last few seasons it’s very strange to watch them play this way. As for Glasgow Rangers, they’re hoping to make it difficult for Liverpool and have players who can hurt teams, especially on the counter. This will be a very tough assignment for the Scottish giants but they know they have to get something from these two games in a week against Liverpool to have any chance of keeping their European hopes alive for the rest of this season.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Liverpool’s Luis Diaz has been one of their most consistent players so far this season, while Roberto Firmino scored two at the weekend and goalkeeper Alisson bailed them out against Brighton as they could have easily lost at home. For Rangers, Antonio Colak has scored four goals in his last two league games and he is one to watch in attack.
The lowdown on Rangers
It has not been a great start to the season for Glasgow Rangers either as their arduous path through the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds impacted their form. They were hammered 4-0 by Celtic in the league and defensively they aren’t as well-organized as they were under Steven Gerrard. Young USMNT duo James Sands and Malik Tillman are options at center back and in an attacking midfield role respectively and both need a big few months if they’re going to get in Gregg Berhalter’s squad for the World Cup. Rangers have some very experienced players in Steven Davis, Alfredo Morales, Allan McGregor and James Tavernier and don’t forget, they reached the UEFA Europa League final last season and could have easily won it. They are the kind of team that can pull off an upset and click for 15-20 minute periods in a game. That will frighten Klopp.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
Klopp has a few injury issues to contend with as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita remain out, while Andy Robertson and Curtis Jones are also out. Ibrahima Konate and Calvin Ramsay are back in training though. As for lineup options, Klopp will go with Salah and Firmino in attack but Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz could come in after all three were on the bench at the weekend. In defense it will be intriguing to see if Alexander-Arnold is given a rest and Joe Gomez starts at right back.