Celtic will have their task cut out for themselves when they take on Austrian champions RB Salzburg at the Celtic Park. The Austrian side have won all their games so far in the Europa league. The Hoops need to avoid defeat, and then they should be through as they currently sit on the second spot with 9 points (assuming Leipzig wins against Rosenborg as expected).
Games like this are often tough to manage tactically as the team could fall into the trap of going for a draw from the outset which is always a risky thing to do. However, we expect the Bhoys to come out all guns blazing given they would be in front of their home fans. Rodgers needs to make sure that they get the mix of caution and offence right on the night.
Dedryck Boyata is going to be a major miss in the central defensive role as he got injured in the League Cup final against Aberdeen. Kristoffer Ajer is yet to recover from his facial surgery. Daniel Arzani and Eboue Kouassi are not going to see any more action this season due to their long-term injuries. Mikey Johnson is also unlikely to feature. In terms of big news, Kieran Tierney is going to be available after he sat out the game against Killie because of a groin issue.
Celtic predicted lineup vs RB Salzburg
The experienced Craig Gordon should start in goal. Often a spectator in the Premiership games, the Scottish international will have a big role to play in this tie. Filip Benkovic made some uncharacteristic errors in the game against Kilmarnock, and that cannot be repeated against the Austrian champions. He should start in defence and is likely to be partnered by fellow countryman Jozo Simunovic.
Kieran Tierney should be back in the lineup as a left back. The experienced Mikael Lustig should start from the right to complete the back four.
This is where the major decision needs to be taken by Rodgers as he could go in with the midfield which is working for him currently or call upon the big game experience of Scott Brown. The way the Bhoys have played in some of their last few games, they shouldn’t tinker with the set formation at all. We expect Olivier Ntcham to start in midfield along with Callum McGregor who has done exceedingly well playing in a deeper role.
In the attacking third, Ryan Christie should start in the attacking midfield position. Down the right, James Forrest is a guaranteed starter, and he will have to do his defensive duties as well in this tie. Scott Sinclair is likely to keep his place on the left side of midfield.
Odsonne Edouard is a nailed on starter, and he would need to be sharp to put the chances that comes to him to bed. Leigh Griffiths is going to be on the bench.