Rangers, the reigning Premiership champions, have begun their title defence with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Livingston. However, there is no room for complacency in the camp as the Gers are set to lock horns with Malmo on Tuesday night in a crucial Champions League qualifier.
The first leg tie of the third qualifying round is not going to be a stroll in the park for Steven Gerrard’s juggernaut. They have to travel to Sweden to take on the Allsvenskan winners and must secure a result to be on the driver’s seat before hosting Himmelsblått in the reverse fixture.
Coincidentally, these two sides met each other a decade ago in an identical third qualifying round contest. The Swedish side won at Ibrox and then clinched a 1-1 draw in the return leg to knock Rangers out of the competition.
Predicted 4-3-3 Rangers Lineup To Face Malmo
Gerrard rested a few of his key individuals versus Livi but is likely to bring them back in the starting lineup for this huge European outing. Allan McGregor should reclaim a place between the sticks considering his experience and expertise, also the return of Filip Helander would be significant in deep defence against his boyhood outfit. The Sweden international is likely to get the nod over Leon Balogun to partner Connor Goldson in the heart of the backline. Despite impressing down the left, Calvin Bassey might make way for Borna Barisic. But skipper James Tavernier must retain his place after assisting twice on Saturday afternoon in the season opener.
Steven Davis is still going strong at the age of 36 and the iconic Northern Irishman has stepped in exquisitely in Ryan Jack’s absence. He would orchestrate the game from his deep-lying midfield slot, whereas the technicality, as well as the possessional football of Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo should help them control the tempo in the middle of the park. John Lundstram is an exciting addition on a Bosman and the Englishman might get involved at some stage if the situation demands.
Rangers might be without Alfredo Morelos once more as he has been quarantined as per the government guidelines. Fashion Sakala struggled as an outright ‘number 9′ against Livingston and the gaffer might opt for Cedric Itten for his poaching traits upfront. An early injury forced Ianis Hagi to leave the pitch minutes after finding the net, but a scintillating display from Scott Wright must have relieved Gerrard ahead of the Malmo game.
The Scotsman should grab a starting role down the right-hand flank, however, the pace, power and prowess of Ryan Kent would cause menace in the opponents’ defensive third. Although a left-winger, the ex-Liverpool prodigy is hailed for his work rate, cut insides and switching position.
Barisic Helander Goldson Tavernier