Premiership giants Rangers will be looking to get this season’s edition of the UEFA Europa League off to the right start when they travel to Belgium to take on Standard Liege this Thursday. The Ibrox club are coming into this match on the back of what was arguably their most convincing win of the season so far against Celtic last weekend. The spirits within the Gers’ camp is sure to be good, and this fixture offers them an opportunity to keep up the momentum. Despite this, a European trip to Liege is almost certainly going to pose Steven Gerrard’s men with a different sort of challenge.
The Ibrox club have consistently been receiving good news in terms of injuries over the last couple of weeks, with the likes of Brandon Barker, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack all returning to first-team action over this duration. One key player who is still missing from the roster though is Jamaican international striker Kemar Roofe, whose return date hasn’t been specified by Gerrard. Despite his unavailability, the number of options that the Gers have to choose from in the striking role more than makes up for the situation.
Predicted XI: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Jack, Kamara, Arfield; Hagi, Morelos, Kent
The Belgian club, like the rest of Europe, had been following strict guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve seemingly failed to do this effectively. At least three players have supposedly tested positive for the virus, and will hence be unavailable for selection. Michel-Ange Balikwisha, Nicolas Raskin and Moussa Sissako have all tested positive, which rules them out of contention for what promises to be a difficult fixture against an in-form Rangers outfit. Joachim Carcela-Gonzalez is also unlikely to play any part in this tie.
Predicted XI: Bodart; Fai, Vandheusen, Dussenne, Gavory; Cimirot, Bokadi, Bastian, Oulare, Cop, Lestienne
Here Is The Standard Liege Vs Rangers Tactical Preview:
Standard Liege Vs Rangers Tactical Preview
Gerrard’s men are likely to deploy a similar style of setup to the one they displayed in the win against Celtic, with the midfield and defence almost merging into a narrow wall. Their primary target, before attacking, will surely be to ensure that they make it difficult for Liege to find a way past the back-line and trouble Allan McGregor. While attacking though, expect the Gers to use the wide areas of the pitch with the pace of Kent and Hagi. While the former will be happy to get out wide and play crosses into the area, the latter is likely to prefer to cut inside and take on his man rather than going out wide.
The Belgian side haven’t been in the greatest runs of form but picked up an important point against Club Brugge last weekend. This means that the morale is sure to be high, while the home advantage will definitely come as a boost to their ambitions for this fixture as well. The Jupiler League club will look to press the ball off Rangers whenever they’re in possession, as they tend to be quite rapid on the counter-attack. Ensuring that their back-line drops deep against the potential in the Rangers lineup will be extremely crucial to them getting something out of this tie.
The Ibrox club have been without Roofe for several fixtures now, but Alfredo Morelos has failed to take over the reins from the Jamaican. In this situation, Ryan Kent is the player they are likely to turn, be it for creativity or quality finishing in the final third.
With three players officially out of contention for this fixture, and Mehdi Carcela unavailable for selection as well, Liege will be forced to use alternate names to try and affect the tie. This is where the dribbling and finishing abilities of Maxime Lestienne could come into play.