With Rangers suffering two heavy losses in the first two matches, the reality is even if we can beat Ajax and Napoli in the second legs, Rangers will be at a major disadvantage in any head-to-head tie breaker.
In order to turn things around, and to improve our chance of qualifying, our current team will have to beat Ajax by 5 goals or to put four past Napoli without them replying. This we can say will never happen, and because Napoli have already beaten Liverpool, meaning that the only way Rangers can progress any further in the Champions League is if we win all four remaining matches.
And, strangely, there does seem to be a very small chance that we just might be able to do it, and that is not me being blinded by my blue-tinted sunglasses.
As anyone can see, Liverpool, just now, are not firing on all cylinders. It is just a simple fact. They have not shown the same ruthless over-powering strength they have routinely shown over the last two years.
To highlight this, just this weekend, lowly Brighton put three past Alisson, and Brighton are not a team that Rangers, even in our weakened state, would normally fear.
Tactically, I think that it is interesting that both Brighton and Napoli played Liverpool with two strikers up front.
This was done, I believe, to help them to take advantage of Liverpool’s over-stretched back line, which meant Liverpool had to keep a better (read ‘more careful’) eye on the back line, whenever they went forward.
This concern about their back line has caused a slight lift in Liverpool’s high, aggressive press, which has allowed both Brighton and Napoli to breathe just a little bit more easily.
Though it is possible to break Liverpool’s high press using just one lone striker, with football being a numbers game, and Liverpool having the advantage of a back three line, a single striker approach can only work well against a team of Liverpool’s insane quality if he has two ultra-fast wingers to support him.
So, with Gio insisting, for some strange reason that he will never play with two strikers supporting each other up front, my review of Liverpool suggests we are already playing at a major disadvantage.
But, if this is the way Gio does decides to deploy his forces, I don’t think we should be surprised if we see Rabbi Matondo or perhaps even Wright getting some game-time tomorrow.
But even with a single striker up front, this is still a game where if we go at Liverpool for the win, and cause absolute chaos in midfield, and our players are dead on their feet at the end of the match, we can come back with a famous result.
In fact, there is absolutely no zero reason to go to Liverpool to just defend.
As we have already seen against Ajax (where we looked just pathetic and commentators around the world were literally laughing at our team), and as we have warned our readers many times, if you give players at this level just one split second they will punish you.
I mean these players are professionals, who know how to control the ball with their first touch.
So, in the first game we gave Ajax sometimes five to 10 seconds on the ball, perhaps in the hope that all that extra time would cause them to second guess themselves, and perhaps not know what to do?
Anyway, there is just no reason for Rangers to sit back and to let Liverpool pepper our goal all night, and to expect none of their shots to be on target, or to expect our back line to soak up every single attack, with no way to counter-attack, because we have only one striker up front.
If we are going to survive tomorrow, and survive is an appropriate term, we have to burn some grass in the middle of the park.
And talking about midfield we absolutely cannot deploy Davis with Lundstram together. If Gio has not worked out by now that they just get in each other’s way, he never will.
It is also clear from the game against Hearts that we play infinitely better when Kamara is not in the team.
Yes, Kamara does have the talent to play at this level, but no matter how good you are, if you are not willing to work your socks off, you cannot expect your teammates to be happy with you when you to sit back and just destroy the dreams of every single person around you.
Here Tillman has routinely shown himself to be technically just as good as Kamara, if not better than Kamara, and he has a far better eye for moving the team forward, which is going to be very important in tomorrow’s game.
In the back line, I am still not convinced that Sands should used as a temporary CB. His poor tackling skill caused us against Napoli (I warned against him being deployed in the back line before that match), and I just worry that his confidence will be completely destroyed if he is again played out of position against Liverpool. He is just not a natural defender, (he is a defensive midfielder, whose primary role is moving the ball away from the defensive line and that is where he should be used), and we should have promoted Leon King into the back line a long time ago. Yes, King would have made some mistakes, he’s young and still learning, but how many mistakes has Sands made when asked to play outside his normal role?
So, I hope is for either Davies or King to be deployed in the back line.
Finally, up front. Ideally, we should have tried to find a way to get both Morelos and Colak on the field at the same time. These two, working together, would give the Liverpool back three a horrendous time, and that is a fact.
But because we live in reality, and Gio calls the shots, it has to be Goalak all alone up front. In this specific game we need players who can spread the ball wide, or take the ball through the center, and this is where Colak has the edge over Morelos. He is just better at ball distribution, and with Colak given the unenviable job of taking on three world class defenders all by himself, he will have to be fast and accurate with his use of the ball. No matter how much we praise Morelos’ finishing, careful ball use is something Morelos is not known for.
Whatever happens, just let’s not do an Ajax. Rangers are better than that.
Even if we lose. Let’s give a good account of ourselves,
This is our first time ever at Anfield. Let’s make Liverpool know what it is like to be in a real football game.
And tomorrow let’s find out which team is better, the Rangers team of 1992, or the team of 2022. I for one hope it is this current crop.