Ibrox Noise’s Derek compiled a preview recently for Rangers’ visit of Standard Liege last night, and one of the things our man highlighted was that he expected the Belgians to press high, and use the left a lot.
To quote him:
Given James Tavernier and Connor Goldson were heavily at fault for both conceded goals, and Liege did indeed press Rangers high until the wind was taken out of their sales at Scotty Arfield’s goal, there’s no denying our preview was bang on.
It appeared that the team was too slow to deal with Liege’s pressing, that we laboured too much and both lost the ball on possession and with poor passing.
Indeed, the Belgian team’s hunger was far higher than Rangers’, but Stevie and Beale would have known how Liege were going to set up.
With a 3-4-3 system they were able to put more numbers higher up, and force Rangers’ backline into errors, and that’s exactly how it panned out.
And we called it.
What stood out in this match was Rangers’ refusal to die – we kept on coming back, and we dug it out, despite the fact that tactically we’re not sure if the side was set up to deal with Liege properly, or the players just didn’t look up for it.
In truth, management studied their opponents a tonne, and would have set this up to try and ensure we didn’t ponder on the ball, but unfortunately the players took a long time to realise Liege were going to pack down on them at all times, and hunt.
It didn’t cost anything, and indeed ended up an excellent night, but for a long spell it looked like Rangers were going to end up at match day 6 to secure qualification.
And then there’s those balls on the left. Liege had a tonne of joy on that side, and managed to expose Rangers and score, with Tavernier defensively having a bit of a clanger of a night.
This is one we take on the chin, despite winning.
It was a tough match, and we’re sure lessons will have been learned.
There is no way every match is going to be a glorious cakewalk filled with stunning football and goals.
We’ll have nights like last night.
The difference between this Rangers and even the one 6+ months ago is this one can still win on them.