After dropping more league points yesterday, Liverpool turn attention to the Champions League as they prepare to host Scottish side Rangers. The Reds sit on three points in the group and need to capitalise on this double header with the Gers. Here’s a preview of the game.

After the last gasp victory over Ajax, the hope was that the Reds will return from the extended break ready to carry on where they left off. That turned out to be another false dawn however, as Brighton left Anfield with a well deserved point over the weekend 0.

The Seagulls went 2-0 up inside 17 minutes as Liverpool’s woes showed no signs of easing. To their credit, Jürgen Klopp’s side fought back to lead 3-2 after a Firmino brace. The defensive frailties that have dogged the side this season were clear for all to see when Leandro Trossard tucked away his third of the game.

When you’re required to score four goals to nick a win at home to Brighton, you know something is fundamentally wrong. Certain individuals are obviously underperforming, but it can’t all be down to key players losing form.

The system keeps getting exploited, with Alisson having to face a one on one nigh on every game. It isn’t just down to the defence. At their best, Klopp’s outfit defends from the front, with the opponents not getting a minute’s rest on the ball.

For whatever reason, the press isn’t as sharp and the opposition is breaking through on an exposed defence. With a boatload of fixtures to get through this month, the manager has to quickly find a solution to the side’s issues.

Out of form players need to be taken out of the firing line and others need to be handed a chance. Deadline Day loan signing Arthur Melo has had to sit on the sidelines since signing (a 15 minutes cameo at Napoli aside). He has had a solid month of training and is surely ready for minutes.

The Gers have been the whipping boys of the group so far, going down 4-0 to Ajax before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat to Napoli at Ibrox. They are the weakest side in the group and present an opportunity for the manager to find a way out of this middle.

Whether that is with a different formation (4-2-3-1 perhaps) or a tweak to the existing system, or maybe even different personnel, remains to be seen. Tomorrow night is a chance to not only pick up three more points in Group A but to show a reaction to the

Brighton disappointment.

Giovanni Van Bronchorst’s side have recovered well from three heavy defeats on the bounce. They went down 4-0 to Celtic in the Old Firm derby before the two beatings at the hands of Ajax and Napoli. They have since managed consecutive wins against Dundee United and Hearts.

Tomorrow night represents the very first time these two British giants have faced each other in Europe’s premier competition. Anfield should be bouncing and it’ll be up to the players in red to match the crowd for intensity.

The victory over Ajax is a blueprint. That was the Reds’ best performance since the Community Shield (bar the 9-0 win over Bournemouth of course). There was a recognisable intensity from back to front as the hosts hassled and harried the Dutch side.

Ajax were cut open time and again and for profligate finishing, the Reds would have managed a bigger margin of victory. A repeat of that display is required here. The worrying habit of handing opponents a goal headstart cannot be repeated here.

No more excuses, this double header against last season’s Europa League runners-up is a chance to put six more points on the board. Anything short of that and qualification to the knockout stages will depend heavily on the outcome of the trip to Ajax and the final matchday showdown against Napoli.

Team News

It’s pretty much the same squad available to the manager from the weekend. Calvin Ramsay and Ibrahima Konaté trained with the team today and could come into contention for a place in the matchday squad.

Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez carried minor knocks following the internationals but seem to have recovered fully, with all three featuring off the bench against Brighton. Kelleher, Robertson, Jones, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain remain absent.

For Rangers, Helander (foot), Hagi (knee), Souttar (unspecified), Roofe (knock), Ofoborth (heart), Lawrence (knee) are all expected to miss out through injury. James Sands will also miss out as he serves suspension after being sent off against Napoli.

Former Reds Ryan Kent and Ben Davies are both available and expected to start. Davies infamously left for Rangers during the summer after failing to make a single appearance for Liverpool. Kent came through the Academy and was sold after several loans. He will have a point to prove as he seeks to exploit any space down Trent’s side.



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