3 major talking points as Rangers fail to lay glove on Liverpool in one-sided Champions League clash
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side suffered their third consecutive Group A defeat.
This eagerly-anticipated Battle of Britain showdown quickly turned into a procession at Anfield, with only visiting goalkeeper Allan McGregor preventing the scoreline from being far worse for the Ibrox club.
Van Bronckhorst opted for a defensive starting line-up with a back five which included teenager Leon King, while striker Alfredo Morelos was given the nod to start up front in favour of Antonio Colak.
However, any hope of frustrating the Premier League outfit evaporated inside the opening ten minutes when full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold stepped up to curl a terrific free-kick from 25-yards into the top corner.
The opening goal came after an early surge of Liverpool pressure and it set the tone for the remainder of the net as Rangers struggled to get out of their own half.
The hosts continued to cut their opponents wide open far too easily before King was penalised for bringing down Luis Siaz in the box to allow Mohamed Salah to convert a second from the penalty spot.
GlasgowWorld reflects on the three main talking points on another gruelling European night for the Light Blues...
McGregor’s goalkeeping masterclass
Reinstated as Rangers first-choice goalkeeper in the build-up to this match, Allan McGregor showed just why he deserved to still be the undisputed No.1 at the age of 40.
The veteran had been written off by many supporters and pundits alike at the end of last season and it appeared as though he was on the brink of retirement - before opting to extend his playing career by signing a new one-year deal.
In the first-half alone against Liverpool, he produced five outstanding saves from Salah, Diaz and Darwin Nunez on three separate occasions, displaying incredible reflexes.
Had it not been for McGregor’s heroics, this resultcould have turned ugly for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men.
Gulf in class evident
Van Bronckhorst received plenty of criticism from supporters for his post-match comments in the aftermath of their 4-0 defeat to Ajax in Amsterdam, claiming his side couldn’t compete at this level.
On this evidence, he has a point. Liverpool were simply a class above straight from kick-off and showed no signs of fragility after their recent domestic struggles.
They were powerful, quick and passed the ball around with great precision, albeit Rangers were happy to sit deep and allow Jurgen Klopp’s star-studded team to dictate the play.
Even when substitute Antonio Colak lined up a shot on goal from the edge of the box late on, the Croatian took too long to pull the trigger and was robbed of possession. These are the fine margins you can ill-afford in Europe.
The Gers defensive approach was a brave decision that ultimately backfired on Van Bronckhorst with his two central midfielders - Steven Davis and John Lundstram - chasing shadows for the majority of the contest.
The duo had a massive battle on their hands just to find pockets of space and were unable to disrupt the threat possessed by Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota.
Malik Tillman, who is used to a more advanced No.10 role, was playing as a defensive right-winger and within ten minutes it was clear Van Bronckhorst’s system was proving ineffective.
The Dutchman is renowned for his tactical knowledge, which served them well during the run to the Europa League final last season, but the step up to Champions League level has been a learning curve for him.