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Liverpool 2-0 Rangers: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah on target for hosts in Champions League


Trent Alexander-Arnold (left) scores for Liverpool
Alexander-Arnold (left) had scored only one Champions League goal before the game against Rangers – it came during a 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in October 2017

Liverpool cruised to a confidence-building victory in the Champions League as Rangers were comfortably dismissed at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have struggled for form this season but a disappointing the Scottish team represented the perfect opposition to return to winning ways as Liverpool moved closer to a place in the knockout phase.

Rangers fans travelled to Merseyside in their thousands and backed their side noisily throughout an embarrassingly one-sided encounter which Liverpool should have won far more emphatically.

Trent Alexander-Arnold put Liverpool ahead after only seven minutes when he clipped a perfect 25-yard free-kick into the top corner and only veteran keeper Allan McGregor kept the Rangers in range with a succession of saves, frustrating Darwin Nunez in particular.

Liverpool finally got the second goal they deserved eight minutes after the break when Mohamed Salah scored from the penalty spot after Leon King fouled Luis Diaz.

Rangers, who have not won a point from three games in Group A, had a late chance when Kostas Tsimikas cleared off the line from Rabbi Matondo but they were outclassed by a Liverpool side who did not need to hit top gear to win.

Liverpool get an easy ride

The build-up to this Champions League confrontation contained the usual ‘Battle Of Britain’ narrative as Rangers travelled south of the border to Anfield to test their credentials against one of the Premier League elite.

In reality, this was over as a contest once Alexander-Arnold demonstrated perfect technique to curl his free-kick beyond McGregor. Liverpool never looked back and Rangers never mounted a serious threat.

Liverpool’s only disappointment was that they did not make the most of the host of chances they created, with the hard-working Nunez hitting the target with most of his efforts and showing good movement, only to put his finishes too close to McGregor on too many occasions.

For all their domination, Liverpool relied on a brilliant free-kick and a penalty to secure the win.

It was the ideal game for them to gain some rhythm and momentum, with Klopp selecting an all-out attacking line-up with a front four of Salah, Nunez, Diaz and Diogo Jota.

They will surely face a tougher test at a hostile Ibrox in the return game but this simply could not have been more comfortable, making it a satisfactory night for Klopp, who wanted to see Liverpool edging somewhere back towards their best.

The win also leaves Liverpool well placed to reach the knockout stage, sitting second with six points from three games and a three-point lead over third-placed Ajax, who lost 6-1 at home to Napoli.

Tough night for Rangers

Rangers appeared to be mounting little more than a damage limitation exercise once they lost an early goal, the gulf in class between the two sides immediately apparent and not reflected in final scoreline.

They did not pose any sort of threat until it was too late, with that Tsimikas clearance and an Alisson block from Antonio Colak providing a very rare anxious moment for Liverpool.

For the rest of the game Rangers could not get near Liverpool and were grateful to McGregor, who earned warm applause from the Kop for preventing a heavier defeat.

The 40-year-old keeper showed his enduring ability as he delivered as fine performance to deny Nunez on several occasions as Liverpool’s big-money summer signing strived to get on the scoresheet.

Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos made no impact on Liverpool’s defence, who had a comfortable night, although to say they were short of supply is a masterpiece of under-statement.

Rangers must hope they can present a different proposition to Liverpool when they visit what is sure to be a hostile Ibrox, as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side try to claim as least some consolation from a Champions League campaign which has so far proved such a struggle.

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 90minsSubstituted forGomezat 90+3′minutes
  • 32Matip
  • 4van Dijk
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forFabinhoat 70′minutes
  • 6Thiago AlcántaraSubstituted forMilnerat 81′minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 20JotaSubstituted forFirminoat 69′minutes
  • 23Díaz
  • 27NúñezSubstituted forElliottat 80′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gomez
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5Konaté
  • 7Milner
  • 9Firmino
  • 13Adrián
  • 19Elliott
  • 22Ramsay
  • 28Freitas Gouveia Carvalho
  • 43Bajcetic
  • 47Phillips
  • 62Kelleher

Rangers

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 38King
  • 6Goldson
  • 26DaviesSubstituted forKamaraat 81′minutes
  • 31Barisic
  • 71TillmanSubstituted forSakalaat 66′minutes
  • 10DavisSubstituted forJackat 66′minutes
  • 4LundstramBooked at 37mins
  • 14KentSubstituted forMatondoat 81′minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forColakat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Yilmaz
  • 8Jack
  • 9Colak
  • 17Matondo
  • 18Kamara
  • 23Wright
  • 28McCrorie
  • 30Sakala
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 44Devine

Referee:
Clément Turpin

Attendance:
49,512

Live Text

Player of the match

McGregorAllan McGregor

Rangers

  1. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

  2. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  3. Squad number17Player nameMatondo

  4. Squad number9Player nameColak

  5. Squad number38Player nameKing

  6. Squad number26Player nameDavies

  7. Squad number30Player nameSakala

  8. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  9. Squad number8Player nameJack

  10. Squad number10Player nameDavis

  11. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  12. Squad number18Player nameKamara

  13. Squad number14Player nameKent

  14. Squad number71Player nameTillman

  15. Squad number4Player nameLundstram

  16. Squad number20Player nameMorelos





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