Predicting the XI for tonight’s long-awaited return to the CL isn’t overly difficult. Steven Gerrard is without a host of first-team personnel for various reasons, and while the squad is deep enough to handle it, it means the options are a little thinner than we’d have liked.
Ibrox Noise predicts our XI to face Malmo in Sweden:
Allan McGregor. Not a tough one there. Stevie’s already confirmed this.
Back four of Tavernier, Goldson, Helander and Barisic.
Again, not overly tough – Patterson won’t take Tavernier’s slot, and Helander replaces the suspended Balogun. Barisic was rested at the weekend for this one.
Midfield? Davis, Lundstram and Joe Aribo.
Kamara would have been a shoe in, but he’s obviously suspended, and Ryan Jack is still not ready. So the options rather pick themselves here too.
Attack is sort of predictable again. No Alfredo Morelos, Ianis Hagi (albeit he travelled) or Kemar Roofe does thin things a little bit, meaning it’s Kent on the left, Wright on the right and Sakala in the middle.
The problem we really have is the bench depth – the absentees reduce these a lot. McLaughlin, Simpson, Bassey, Patterson, Arfield, and Itten is basically about your lot unfortunately, so while the starting XI isn’t half bad, the bench quality in midfield and attack is very light. Unless, that is, Hagi makes it. If he does, he’ll start in Wright’s place on the right and it does change things a bit.
So, your Ibrox Noise XI:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Davis, Lundstram, Aribo; Kent, Sakala, Wright.