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.
- 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 90minsSubstituted forGomezat 90+3′minutes
- 4van Dijk
- 14HendersonSubstituted forFabinhoat 70′minutes
- 6Thiago AlcántaraSubstituted forMilnerat 81′minutes
- 20JotaSubstituted forFirminoat 69′minutes
- 27NúñezSubstituted forElliottat 80′minutes
- 28Freitas Gouveia Carvalho
- 26DaviesSubstituted forKamaraat 81′minutes
- 71TillmanSubstituted forSakalaat 66′minutes
- 10DavisSubstituted forJackat 66′minutes
- 4LundstramBooked at 37mins
- 14KentSubstituted forMatondoat 81′minutes
- 20MorelosSubstituted forColakat 73′minutes
- Clément Turpin
Match ends, Liverpool 2, Rangers 0.
Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Rangers 0.
Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Gomez replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Harvey Elliott.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Glen Kamara (Rangers).
Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Fashion Sakala (Rangers).
Offside, Rangers. James Tavernier tries a through ball, but Antonio-Mirko Colak is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Antonio-Mirko Colak (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Fashion Sakala (Rangers) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Borna Barisic with a cross.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Konstantinos Tsimikas.
Attempt blocked. Rabbi Matondo (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Glen Kamara.
Offside, Liverpool. Alisson tries a through ball, but Luis Díaz is caught offside.
Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).
Attempt missed. Joël Matip (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Konstantinos Tsimikas with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by James Tavernier.
Offside, Rangers. John Lundstram tries a through ball, but Rabbi Matondo is caught offside.