A defeat to Celtic at home has been a massive setback for Rangers in their bid to dethrone the famous rivals from the perch. But they must keep pushing for it right until the closure of the ongoing campaign and should aim for a comprehensive outcome against Livingston on Saturday afternoon to get their season back on the track.
Livingston, on the other hand, are off to a flyer with successive wins. They remain the only side yet to be defeated this term other than Celtic and are placed third in the standings right now just one point off their weekend counterparts.
Rangers Team News vs Livingston:
Most of their players returned unscathed from the international break, but the knee injury of Ryan Jack is alarming given his stupendous start so far from the deep-lying midfield role. Greg Stewart might miss the tie with a calf strain whereas Jon Flanagan [hernia] is sidelined for weeks after going under the knife for the second time early into the campaign.
Jordan Jones was sent off against the Hoops after a mischievous challenge on Moritz Bauer. The horror tackle saw the Northern Irishman injuring his own knee and therefore, will be out for a few weeks irrespective of his suspension.
Rangers Formation vs Livingston:
Steven Gerrard has mostly preferred a 4-3-3 so far but should tweak the set-up a bit in the absence of Jack. A 4-2-3-1 would be more balanced and effective in controlling the midfield game, unlike the Celtic tie.
Allan McGregor is still going strong at 37 and should retain his place between the sticks ahead of Wes Foderingham or Andy Firth.
Connor Goldson’s howler led Odsonne Edouard to break the deadlock at Ibrox. But the Englishman has been stupendous so far in the heart of their backline and should be lined up alongside Nikola Katic once more who is making his presence known with some towering performances.
Skipper James Tavernier would be crucial from the right flank with his overlapping runs, pinpoint crosses and set-pieces. However, the surgery of Jon Flanagan should see Borna Barišić having a run of games on the left-hand side of Rangers’ ‘back four’.
Although Greg Docherty is longing for minutes, Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo as double pivot would be more productive in the middle of the park amid the injury scare of Ryan Jack. Scott Arfield should be handed a free role right in front of the midfield duo whereas Sheyi Ojo is expected to feature on the right to extend his blistering run of form.
The mega-money acquisition of Ryan Kent on the deadline has been a statement of intent from the board, but the former Liverpool prodigy needs game-time to regain match fitness. So, he might not be handed a start against the Lions. Eros Grezda is no more in Gerrard’s plan, and the unavailability of Jones should see Brandon Barker making his league debut down the left flank.
The gaffer has two efficient centre-forwards to choose from and should go for Alfredo Morelos over Jermain Defoe to spearhead the Bears’ attack. The Colombian has already fired in 10 times this term in all competitions and must be eyeing to emulate the 30-goal season produced in 2018-19 to set new records.
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