LFC NEWS

“It was a 4-4-2” – Liverpool’s formation change and what it means

ThisIsAnfield.com - 12 min 59 sec ago

There was some confusion over the exact formation Liverpool had switched to in their 2-0 win against Rangers, but Jurgen Klopp says “it was a 4-4-2.”

When the teamsheets were released for the Reds’ third Champions League group game, there was an excitement among fans as Klopp named four forwards in his lineup.

There were three changes to the side that drew 3-3 with Brighton three days previous, with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez all brought in to replace Fabinho, Fabio Carvalho and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool’s collapse after being 3-2 up on Saturday may prove to be a watershed moment, with Klopp finally shifting formation and leading to a comfortable win.

There was debate throughout the Group A triumph over exactly how the Reds had set up, but in an interview with beIN SPORTS after the game, Klopp confirmed “it was a 4-4-2.”

“When defending it’s a 4-6,” he joked, “because everybody has to defend!”

Speaking to BT Sport, Trent Alexander-Arnold described it as a “little bit more of a basic 4-4-2,” though in his own interview with beIN SPORTS, he added that it was “kind of a 4-2-3-1.”

That shows the minor differences in any setup, with the average positions on the pitch giving an accurate portrayal of how Liverpool were deployed.

What was different in the setup?

Average positions vs. Brighton

Against Brighton, Alexander-Arnold was one of seven players spending most of his time in the opposition’s half, with a clear midfield three, a narrow attacking trio and Kostas Tsimikas stationed out wide.

Average positions vs. Rangers

Meanwhile, against Rangers, there was a clear emphasis on defensive structure with five players in the Liverpool half – including Alexander-Arnold – with the back line shielded by two No. 6s in Thiago and Jordan Henderson.

Tsimikas was just as wide but stayed slightly deeper, while Salah was further out as Jota and Diaz played off Nunez as the centre-forward.

“It was like a 4-4-2 but Jots played a little bit off Darwin. So it was kind of a 4-2-3-1 with two sixes,” Alexander-Arnold explained.

“And we had proper out-and-out wingers, rather than inside-outside forwards that we normally play with.

“We got four attackers on the pitch, so that means when we had control of the ball and we had possession, and we were able to find them, they were able to link up play well. It moved fluidly.

“You could see it looked like all four of them were out there having fun.”

So what does it mean?

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Well, for starters, it was clearly a popular change for the players, with Salah telling UEFA that “it was good for all of us up front” and Henderson hailing the return of “intensity” in his talk with BT Sport.

The difference in opposition cannot be overlooked, but Liverpool created 19 chances against Rangers compared to just nine against Brighton.

Telling, too, was the clean sheet – only their third this season, following previous shutouts in the 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth and the 0-0 draw with Everton.

“That was vitally important,” Alexander-Arnold continued.

“That was something that we’ve been lacking and something that we’ve been working on.

“We changed the system today and that was the main thing, being compact defensively, everyone buying into what we needed to do to get the win.

“I think it showed out there today.”

Will we see it again?

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the supporters after the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It remains to be seen whether the 4-4-2 is here to stay or if it was a one-time jolt to the system for Liverpool, who desperately needed a result on Tuesday.

But it is likely that it will at least remain in the locker, with the 4-3-3 retained for certain games, too.

Two such games could come in the next week-and-a-half in the Premier League, with a trip to Arsenal to come on Sunday before the visit of Man City seven days later.

Arsenal are currently top of the league, with champions City a point behind in second.

If Klopp did unleash his ‘new’ 4-4-2 in either of those ties, though, it would not be for the first time: Salah, Jota, Firmino and Sadio Mane all started in the 1-1 draw with Man City in 2020.

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Liverpool 'target' Jhon Durán could be £9m transfer bargain amid Luis Díaz similarity

Liverpool.com - 43 min 54 sec ago

Chicago Fire forward Jhon Durán is a real talent in the making. Already, the 18-year-old is attracting attention from Premier League clubs including Liverpool.

According to Colombian journalist Pipe Sierra, Liverpool have already sent scouts to the US to watch the forward in action.

The 18-year-old has already scored eight goals and laid on a further six assists during the 2022/23 campaign, and he has also made his senior debut for the Colombian national team too.

READ MORE: Liverpool have found their Roberto Firmino successor as Jürgen Klopp transfer question answered

READ MORE: Liverpool just unlocked scary Mohamed Salah evolution as Kostas Tsimikas moment shows double fix

But what do we know about the youngster so far? At six foot one, Durán is quick off the mark with a keen eye for goal, with his aerial ability and link-up play also key assets to his game.

Having only burst onto the scene in the last 12 months, Sierra has linked Liverpool with a January move for the forward (as well as Lille, Eintracht Frankfurt and PSV), with current club Chicage Fire indicating it would only take a fee of around €10m (£9m) to complete the transfer.

Beginning his career with native side Envigado, Durán was spotted by US scouts aged just 15 and Fire were quick to act, securing his services back in January of this year.

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Recruiting him in time for the start of their new campaign, Durán began with bit-part appeareances, but scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 lost to Cincinnati back in May.

The Reds, according to Sierra, have sent the same scout who discovered Luis Díaz over to the States to further track the teenager's progression, having already impressed scouts from other Premier League clubs including Chelsea.

Perhaps able to replace the ageing Roberto Firmino, Jürgen Klopp has been keen to refresh and bring in replacements to the club over the last six to 12 months.

With Mohamed Salah tied down too, Liverpool could find an understudy to Darwin Núñez following his blockbuster summer move by following it up with a bargain deal for Durán.

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A clean sheet, Trent’s strike & stick with formation? – Last word on Liverpool 2-0 Rangers

ThisIsAnfield.com - 1 hour 13 min ago

Two dead balls, two goals, one from Trent Alexander-Arnold and another from Mo Salah, secured a needed win against Rangers, opening up a discussion over Liverpool’s formation.

The Champions League clash opened the door for Jurgen Klopp to tweak his side, a decision that was well received by players and fans alike.

It certainly got the job done with Liverpool’s 2-0 win keeping them in the driver’s seat for the second spot in Group A and injecting needed confidence ahead of the weekend’s trip to Arsenal.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) is joined by fellow writer Sam Millne (@sam_millne) to discuss the win over Rangers, Alexander-Arnold and where next with this formation.

How did you assess Liverpool going back to basics?

 Liverpool players line-up before the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: It was a lot more enjoyable to watch, not conceding and actually leading at half-time!

There are plenty of gears this Liverpool side can still step into but there was more cohesion on show and a clear directive that all players were abiding by, and, crucially, the intensity was there.

The creation of chances went hand in hand with the formation change as there were options aplenty, but you could say one critique is that we did not manage to score from open play – we had 23 shots in total.

The true test will be using this system against a more formidable opponent and all eyes will be on if Klopp sticks to it on Sunday.

SAM: It makes a change that it’s hard to think of a negative to take from the match. And echoing you Joanna, we didn’t concede first either which helps when trying to win football matches!

A 4-4-2 out of possession gave the defence more protection than they’ve received from a forlorn Fabinho, who has been left to cover copious spaces without help this season.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson ran the show, Darwin Nunez looked better and the Reds looked solid out of possession.

Though the captain isn’t short of energy, in the future a deeper role could be more beneficial for Henderson, who seemed to know his job better than in recent weeks, when we’ve seen him as the furthest man forward at times.

JOANNA: I agree with you there Sam, it was one of Henderson’s better games and you always feel more comfortable when he is deeper and disciplined, as opposed to taking up a more flexible position on the right of midfield.

From an atmosphere point of view, it was good – certainly an enjoyable evening and all the better for Trent quickly quietening the Gers in the Anfield Road End.

Their renditions of ‘God Save The King’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ were, as you’d expect, met with brilliant Scouse wit, while their Icelandic clap provided them with a few reminders of the country they are actually from!

 Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: Lastly from me, Nunez rightfully became the furthest forward Red and it was an indicator of how the Uruguayan should be used by Liverpool.

He was bought to stretch teams and, though his technical ability isn’t on the same level as Firmino, he brings an attacking instinct to peel off his man and find space that the Brazilian doesn’t always have.

If he stays within the width of the penalty box, he’ll do well for us.

The spotlight was on Trent, how did you see his game?

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates with team-mate Darwin Núñez after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: Trent was the other big positive from the game, for me.

He played a role closer to what he’s been so successful in over the last few years. There were far more options for him and he had slightly more space to pick his passes from slightly wider positions than he’s been taking up since August.

His free kick reminded those who needed it of his quality, and it was nice for him to receive a standing ovation upon his withdrawal.

For a player who has looked to lack confidence recently, the game will hopefully act as a springboard and influence Klopp’s thinking around his formation.

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: The let-off in the stands when he scored was brilliant and will have done him the world of good after finding himself thrust firmly into the spotlight this season.

His average position was in his own half with Tsimikas the one to take up a higher position on the flank, keeping Trent to Van Dijk and Matip but still slingshotting forward when the opportunity arose.

There was more help at hand with how Liverpool setup and the balance Liverpool struck was just what was needed to restore confidence and bank a solid showing, as Sam also mentioned.

A player with supreme skill and, thankfully, this was a game where there were only positives to discuss when it came to Trent. Hopefully another is around the corner!

Would you keep the same formation vs. Arsenal?

 Liverpool's team lineup during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: I’d need to look into how Arsenal play more closely but my instinct is to say yes, we should.

Out of possession, we looked far less exposed in transition and, while Rangers were poor on the ball, they kept the opposition penned in more often.

Players seemed to have more options on the ball also. For Salah and Luis Diaz, the system worked well as it allowed them to find more space to run at defenders, as Diogo Jota and Nunez occupied full-backs who would normally be stuck to the wingers.

On occasion, Nunez and Jota did get on top of each other in attacking positions but Klopp has said they have only had one session to work on the system and was impressed with how they have adapted.

It doesn’t help also that Nunez has admitted he doesn’t understand the manager particularly well yet so he can only improve.

The double pivot of Thiago and Henderson is perhaps where the system could fall against a team better than Rangers, who can beat Liverpool’s first line of pressure. However, given the openness of the midfield so far this campaign, there isn’t much to lose.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: I agree with Sam, I think it’s worth keeping in place at Arsenal even if Rangers are not the same calibre of opponent.

The midfield has lacked in a 4-3-3 and it has left Liverpool vulnerable too many times, and the form the Gunners are in could make for plenty of chances to slice through the team.

I can see Klopp putting Firmino behind Jota in the same formation but I wouldn’t be opposed to keeping Nunez in the side and taking Jota out for Firmino – the good thing is that Liverpool have options.

The system, whichever way Klopp goes, is nothing without the intensity and Liverpool have to bring that on Sunday – there’s a statement win waiting to be had.

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Liverpool have two winners and losers as Kostas Tsimikas magnifies dilemma and Arthur absent

Liverpool.com - 1 hour 13 min ago

Jürgen Klopp said prior to Liverpool’s victory over Rangers that he simply didn’t have time to implement major tactical changes given the intensity of a schedule.

But despite those comments (via liverpoolfc.com), that may have been an act of deliberate misdirection as the Reds manager deployed a whole new formation against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

Fabinho, Fábio Carvalho and Roberto Firmino made way and Diogo Jota, Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez came in as Klopp switched to what looked like an ultra-aggressive 4-4-2 formation.

READ MORE: Liverpool have found their Roberto Firmino successor as Jürgen Klopp transfer question answered

READ MORE: Liverpool just unlocked scary Mohamed Salah evolution as Kostas Tsimikas moment shows double fix

Who then, were, the standout winners and losers as Klopp shuffled his pack and changed his shape?

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been one of the most talked-about players in the Premier League so far this season. In fact, you could argue only Manchester City sensation Erling Haaland has made more headlines.

The right-back has come under immense scrutiny for his defensive failings but he didn’t have too much to do in his own final third here, with the Reds enjoying 64 per cent possession and largely keeping Rangers in their own half until the closing minutes.

Amidst all the focus on his errors out of possession, many have failed to appreciate that Alexander-Arnold’s attacking contribution has dropped significantly too.

But he was much closer to his best in that regard on Tuesday, and he will now have quieted the rising calls for Joe Gomez to take his place in the side.

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Many Liverpool fans felt he needed to be taken out of the firing line after looking like a shell of his usual self, but the hope now will be that his magnificent free-kick, and the ovation he received when he was substituted late on, are the morale-boosting moments that kick-start his season.

Kostas Tsimikas

It’s an important period for Kostas Tsimikas. With Andy Robertson out through the injury, he has a rare opportunity to enjoy an extended run in the side.

Tsimikas struggled against Brighton at the weekend, producing one of his limpest performances in a Liverpool shirt, but he was a contender for man of the match here.

His runs, combinations and set-pieces were all on point, but the highlight was unquestionably his remarkable goalline clearance in the final minutes, preventing a nervy finish.

Robertson may or may not come back into the starting XI when he recovers, but displays like this will at the very least boost Tsimikas’ prospects.

Harvey Elliott

If Liverpool are to play a 4-4-2, then it’s hard to see where Harvey Elliott, as impressive as he’s been in the early weeks of the season, fits into the side.

Klopp regards Elliott as a midfielder rather than a wide man so he’s unlikely to figure heavily on the right-hand side, not least because Mohamed Salah is first-choice in that role.

But the 19-year-old also lacks the defensive acumen to operate in a midfield two, as demonstrated by his performance in the second half against Everton when Klopp tried to deploy him alongside Fabinho.

Elliott may hope that Klopp reverts back to 4-3-3 for the most part or, failing that, makes heavy use of a 4-2-3-1 too. The number 10 role in that system could actually suit him fairly well.

Arthur Melo

There were three welcome returnees in the Liverpool squad on Tuesday night in the form of Caoimhín Kelleher, Calvin Ramsay and, most of all, Ibrahima Konaté.

But one player conspicuous by his absence was summer signing Arthur, who’s only played 13 minutes since his arrival from Juventus on Transfer Deadline Day.

The reasoning is unknown at this stage, but either way, it should be seen as a blow.

If Arthur is fit and available but was omitted from the squad, then it indicates that he’s very much at the bottom of the midfield pecking order at this stage. Indeed, even the 17-year-old Stefan Bajcetic made the 20-man list.

It’s more likely that the Brazilian was either ill or injured, but even then, that will set his integration back. He had played more than 150 minutes with the U21 sides in September in an attempt to build his fitness, but now those efforts may have to be paused.

On the bright side, this 4-4-2 system could actually suit him once he finally gets up to speed.

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'Back on track' - US media make Jürgen Klopp point and react to Liverpool win over Rangers

Liverpool.com - 1 hour 43 min ago

Liverpool took another step towards qualifying for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages by beating Scottish side Rangers 2-0 at Anfield.

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah ensured victory on Merseyside, with Jürgen Klopp's side now occupying second place in Group B with three games played.

Dominating throughout proceedings, the Reds looked much more convincing than in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion. Now looking to build on strong foundations, many will hope Klopp's men can kick on heading into a hectic October period.

READ MORE: Liverpool have found their Roberto Firmino successor as Jürgen Klopp transfer question answered

READ MORE: Liverpool just unlocked scary Mohamed Salah evolution as Kostas Tsimikas moment shows double fix

Here's how the US media reacted to the result...

Mark Ogden, ESPN

''Jürgen Klopp's side improved their chances of making the Champions League knockout stage after their 2-0 win against Rangers at Anfield.

''Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a stunning free-kick after being the subject of criticism for his defensive errors of late. Luis Díaz drew a foul in the second half in the penalty box, which Mohamed Salah then converted to seal the win for Liverpool.

''Rangers are in dire form as they sit bottom of their group and have failed to score so far in any of their three Champions League matches this season.

''Klopp had said that his team needed to go back to basics and focus simply on getting the job done after seeing his side draw 3-3 at home to Brighton on Saturday.

"Fabinho was taken out of the starting line-up, replaced by Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcântara, as Klopp switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it was Liverpool's greater quality rather than tactical tweaks that proved the undoing of Rangers.''

Nicholas Mendola and Joe Prince-Wright, NBC Sports

''Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a gorgeous free kick and Mohamed Salah converted a penalty to account for a 2-0 lead, and the Reds only allowed three shot attempts to their Glaswegian visitors. Not one of those attempts were on target.

''Liverpool’s six points through three matches are three fewer than Napoli and three more than Ajax. Rangers have yet to claim a point ahead of a return match with Liverpool in Glasgow.

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''Defensively, Liverpool are really struggling and Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold in particular look way off their usual standards. However, it’s not just about the defense.

"From front to back Liverpool haven’t matched their usual energy levels so far this season and after so much success over the last few seasons and it’s very strange to watch them play this way.''

David Lynch, Sporting News

''Liverpool kept their Champions League campaign on track with a much-needed 2-0 win over Rangers. The Reds quickly consigned Saturday's disappointing 3-3 draw with Brighton to the past as they dominated Gio van Bronckhorst's men en route to victory.

''A comfortable evening got off to the perfect start when Trent Alexander-Arnold arrowed a free-kick home at the Anfield Road end. And Mohamed Salah made sure of the points as he scored from the penalty spot after Luis Díaz had been tripped in the second period.

''Klopp's side will now hope that victory can help them build momentum going into a crucial Premier League clash with Arsenal on Sunday.''

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Van Dijk’s nonchalance & Nunez passion – 5 things fans spotted from Liverpool’s win vs. Rangers

ThisIsAnfield.com - 2 hours 13 min ago

It was a controlled and measured performance from Liverpool, which we’ve not seen often this season against Rangers, and there was plenty fans spotted from the win.

Jurgen Klopp switched things up at Anfield, changing shape to what the manager called a 4-4-2 and while defending a 4-6, “because everybody has to defend.”

What it returned was two goals, 23 shots, 10 on target, and the third clean sheet of the season – the ideal response and first small step to finding their feet once again.

The victory over Rangers threw up some a beyond Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah etching their name on the scoresheet, with Virgil van Dijk flexing some muscle and Darwin Nunez showing the passion.

Here are five things fans spotted after the Reds’ second Champions League win this season.

Have some of that!

? pic.twitter.com/XmLLFmG7ut

— Simon (@simonbrady95) October 4, 2022

Van Dijk was quick to throw his weight around against a side he knows all too well having played for Celtic, and it was a show of strength received kindly by many.

And Celtic fans have seen it before…

Virgil Van Dijk faces Rangers tonight…

As good an excuse as any to post this ?pic.twitter.com/nigdhIhDy9

— Everything Celtic (@aboutceltic) October 4, 2022

Some things never change. pic.twitter.com/hiPiZ6ml5P

— Wizardofbaws? (@delbhoyy007) October 4, 2022

A clear show of who is boss.

Nunez with the passion

 Liverpool's Darwin Núñez applauds the supporters as he is substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Darwin Nunez has admitted he is not currently feeling “completely confident” but he took a step in the right direction against Rangers, albeit the final product never arrived.

Throughout the match, Nunez was celebrating his own personal battles and sharing in the success of his teammates, passion on show that did not escape fans.

Darwin Nuñez and Thiago. This is passion. I think Uruguay’s attacking future is in safe hands. https://t.co/cdw8zwgjjQ

— Uruguay Football ENG (@UruguayFootENG) October 4, 2022

If he can harness what Thiago has from the brain fusion that looked to have taken place, we’re in safe hands!

There is plenty of optimism for what the No. 27 can bring to the table, someone who can thrive off chaos and just needs a touch a luck to see goals start to consistently come his way.

Thought Nunez was class tonight. Best performance from him so far. The goals will come. #LFC

— Hannah Pinnock (@hannah_pinnock) October 4, 2022

? Darwin Nunez didn’t score tonight but the idea he ‘struggled’ there is nonsense. Keep finding positions like he did and the goals will come. Worked hard and looked bright. Not perfect, but the Reds’ attacking plan seems better when he’s on the field.

— Matt Addison (@MattAddison97) October 4, 2022

What a few days Sir Alex has had…

Sir Alex Ferguson has to go Anfield just to watch Champions League Football. pic.twitter.com/5oiA6JvNPp

— Sara (@sara_redss) October 4, 2022

From Man United‘s humiliation at the hands of Man City over the weekend to Liverpool easing past Rangers, Alex Ferguson has had the best seat in the house for both.

Let’s let the captions do the talking on this one…

Hope Sir Alex enjoyed the show! pic.twitter.com/K1fFDlDwMh

— The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) October 4, 2022

Sir Alex has to travel all the way to Liverpool just to watch champions league football ??because utd are playing in the Europa..

In Attendance Sunday at Etihad man city 6-3 man utd
In Attendince Tuesday at Anfield Liverpool 2-0 Rangers
Man's been a walking L since 2013?? pic.twitter.com/bflL2f4RCl

— Joe (@J0ELFC) October 4, 2022

It's not been a good few days for Sir Alex Ferguson. pic.twitter.com/lQXEwRcmxS

— Football Tweet ?? (@Football__Tweet) October 5, 2022

In the words of Lucas, unlucky!

Back to basics, back to winning

 Liverpool's team lineup during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After promising changes earlier in the season, a change in formation finally arrived against Rangers which the team have described as a 4-4-2 setup.

Liverpool looked all the better for it, both compact and dangerous and while the quality of the opponent must be taken into account, the Reds finally looked a balanced side.

The average position of the XI made for intriguing viewing, with Alexander-Arnold in his own half and the midfield double pivot of Thiago and Jordan Henderson providing plenty of protection:

3-2-5 build-up structure.Compact 4-4-2 shape in settled defence.Better numbers to defend transitions with the midfield double pivot & often Trent (who had stricter positioning than the freedom he’s had this season). Back to basics setup from Klopp that was very solid defensively. pic.twitter.com/zUUXxCMWf8

— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) October 4, 2022

Interesting average positions from last night. Back 4 as Trent said, with Henderson and Thiago providing plenty of cover, Tsimikas allowed to venture forward and did well to support the attack.

I'd like to see the same vs Arsenal but Firmino in Jota's place behind Nunez pic.twitter.com/um1vd5YX0C

— Dinesh Kumar (@DHardayal) October 5, 2022

The average positions of #LFC's starting XI v Rangers tonight.

Thiago and Henderson controlled in a two-man midfield – 122 passes between them (90% accuracy).

Alexander-Arnold averaging in his own half?

Jota created the most chances (4), Núñez had the most shots (6). #LIVRAN pic.twitter.com/eVItJLpQQb

— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) October 4, 2022

Will we see the same again at Arsenal on Sunday? Many Reds will not be opposed to it.

Whether Liverpool stick with the new formation for the next game(s), it has at least given them some unpredictability in how they will set up.

From what Klopp has said pre- and post-Rangers, to me it seems like a case of needing to change it before Arsenal and City.

— Matt Ladson (@mattladson) October 5, 2022

It was against an inferior opposition but that formation looked so much more balanced for Liverpool tonight. The defence didn't look completely exposed everytime the team went forward.

— Ryan Paton (@RyanPaton1994) October 4, 2022

It was written in the stars

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After the few weeks he has had in the spotlight, the free-kick goal felt like it was written in the stars and everyone in the stands was just begging for the ball to find the back of the net.

It did in stunning fashion and the view from the television cameras was impressive, but from the stands, it just adds a different layer to it altogether:

Need to clean me camera but gerrin x pic.twitter.com/iQJk47vhsA

— lauren lo sung (@laurenlosung) October 4, 2022

Trent Alexander-Arnold, that's special! ?

A perfectly placed free-kick puts Liverpool ahead against Rangers ?

Superb stuff!#UCL pic.twitter.com/oP8ENMXwpz

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 4, 2022

‘He’s Alexander-Arnold, the Scouser in our team’.

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Liverpool’s formation change gives much-needed solidity after erratic start to the season

the Athletic - 7 hours 53 min ago

A change of formation and a transformation of the mood inside Anfield.

After the chaos against Brighton, Liverpool restored a much-needed degree of calm with a commanding Champions League victory over Rangers. At times it looked like 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-4 but Jurgen Klopp was adamant it was 4-4-2 and he should know.

The decision to move away from his usual 4-3-3 was taken during the inquest he conducted with assistant Pep Lijnders following Saturday’s erratic and error-strewn performance.

Having seen Liverpool repeatedly ripped apart with eight goals conceded in their three previous games, they knew something needed to be done in a bid to make them more compact and try to reverse an alarming slump.

“We wanted to defend differently to what we usually do,” explained Klopp. With Sunday a recovery day, they only had Monday’s session at Kirkby to work on the new setup, but you wouldn’t have guessed it given the level of improvement and cohesion. The reward was just their third clean sheet in all competitions this season.

What was most striking was how much better Liverpool looked when they didn’t have possession. There were no glaring gaps to exploit.

Why? For a start, they looked more secure with the double pivot of Jordan Henderson and Thiago protecting the back four.

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Luis Díaz is rapidly developing his own Liverpool trademark and it helped to sink Rangers

Liverpool.com - 12 hours 13 min ago

On what was a very important night for Liverpool in the Champions League, the Reds secured a 2-0 win against Rangers that puts them in the driving seat to qualify from the group alongside Napoli. Helped by a heavy defeat for Ajax in the other fixture of the night, the Reds put daylight between themselves and third place.

Jürgen Klopp went into the game against Rangers knowing that they needed to win both games against the Scottish side in order to make their final two games in the group — away to Ajax and at home to Napoli — less complicated.

It was mission accomplished, or at least the first part. Liverpool struck early on through an expert Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick and followed it up with an early second half penalty from Mohamed Salah.

READ MORE:Liverpool just unlocked scary Mohamed Salah evolution as Kostas Tsimikas moment shows double fix

READ MORE:Darwin Núñez produces enigmatic Liverpool display as Jürgen Klopp has plenty of positives

Yet it was the person who won the penalty who made one of the biggest impressions on the night. Luis Díaz was one of Klopp’s best players, with the Colombian constantly looking to attack the Rangers full-backs and pin them in their own half.

Díaz has been one of the better performers for Liverpool so far in what has been a majorly disappointing start to the season. Díaz has been one of the first names on Klopp’s team sheet, and while there has been dysfunction around him, he has been consistent in his performances.

Against Rangers, he was constantly seeking and probing the Scottish side’s back line. He gave James Tavernier a tough time, smothering the right-back and denying him the opportunity to play the ball out from the back, which Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst was instructing his side to do.

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Díaz’s electric drive and pace was responsible for winning the penalty that led to Salah’s penalty. It was that Díaz run that we’ve all come to know: running at pace, with close ball control, coming off the left. He ghosted in between John Lundstram and Leon King and was hauled down by King to win the penalty.

While Salah has been in indifferent form all season, Diogo Jota injured and Roberto Firmino also blowing hot and cold, Díaz has essentially picked up this season where he left off last campaign, and will be a key player for Klopp over the few weeks, as the games come thick and fast between now and the start of the World Cup in November.

Díaz has scored four goals in 10 appearances in all competitions this season, but at the moment his overall play is vital in helping Liverpool through this tough period, rather than his goals and assists. And that mazy run is fast becoming a beloved trademark.

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Liverpool just unlocked scary Mohamed Salah evolution as Kostas Tsimikas moment shows double fix

Liverpool.com - 14 hours 13 min ago

Liverpool were expected to produce a response against Rangers, and they did so in professional fashion, securing a result that never looked in any doubt. Mohamed Salah made sure of the result from the spot after Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring with a wonderful free-kick.

Darwin Núñez will be wondering how Liverpool did not end up with a goal from open play, but Jürgen Klopp will not mind too much. He will also be buoyed by the ‘zero’ on the other side of the score-line, a rare feat so far this season.

That was achieved in part through a tactical tweak, and in part through a shift in mentality, which was summed up by Kostas Tsimikas on the left. Hopefully, this is not the last we see of those changes.

READ MORE: Darwin Núñez produces enigmatic Liverpool display as Jürgen Klopp has plenty of positives

READ MORE: Five things spotted in Liverpool vs Rangers as Thiago quietly superb and Jürgen Klopp finds fix

Here are the three moments Liverpool.com picked out from the Reds' 2-0 win.

The Good

A clean sheet! Liverpool have not enjoyed too many this season, but they thoroughly earned one against Rangers, never really looking in any danger of conceding.

So what changed? The defence was the only area where Klopp refrained from tinkering with personnel, naming an unchanged back four to the one that shipped three against Brighton.

But this just underlines the fact that it was never really the individuals that were out of form: it was the team as a whole, suffering from systemic failures. Klopp did the only thing he could — he changed the system.

His new front bank of four worked in an offensive sense, but it worked defensively too. The pressing clicked at last: Rangers could not find the gaps at will, instead being forced to work for every single pass they wanted to play. Alexander-Arnold was still often in advanced areas, but the opponents could not exploit that space.

Of course, stifling Rangers will not necessarily translate to stifling Arsenal and Manchester City, two hugely daunting upcoming tests. But Klopp will surely be extremely tempted to stick with his new-look front four on those occasions: as much for the defence as the attack.

And a word, too, for Tsimikas, who produced a remarkable goal-line clearance to keep that much-needed clean sheet intact. It would have been a complete bolt from the blue for Rangers, but the psychological impact on Liverpool could have been significant. The Greek was fully committed to the last whistle, and that renewed intensity was a big part of the much-improved team showing.

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The Bad

It’s been a while since the ‘bad’ portion of the post-match rundown has been a struggle, but there really wasn’t too much wrong with Liverpool’s performance.

Being picky, the final few minutes was a bit of a disappointment. Tsimikas should not really have needed to make his goal-saving intervention, and Alisson was also forced into belated action. Rangers could not get close to Liverpool for about 85 minutes of the contest, but they were nearly allowed a way back into it.

But this is only natural for a team somewhat low on confidence, and by far the most important thing is that they did see out the clean sheet. And if Liverpool are going to have a slower period, it is better that it falls right at the end than at the beginning. The return of the fast start will have been one of the most pleasing aspects of the night for Klopp.

This team is world class, and it will slowly but surely get back to a level where they demonstrate that for a full 90 minutes. But for now, things are certainly moving in the right direction.

The Ugly

Poor Núñez. On another night, the headlines would have belonged to him — and the match ball might have done too. None of the chances he passed up were glaring, but he was capable of scoring all of them.

The problem, surely, is that he was so desperate to find the net. He looked fired up from the first minute; that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was immediately clear that he was not channelling it correctly when he got involved in a silly early shoving match.

When the opportunities came, he was snatching at them a little. High on confidence, he would have found a way past Allan McGregor at least once. But the performance as a whole was still very encouraging.

Núñez, though, is not the only one who might have left the field a little frustrated on a personal note. Salah was the victim of the Uruguayan’s profligacy; he was denied a healthy boost to his assists column.

Salah is thriving as more of a creator in this Liverpool team, and having an extra attacker to create more room seemed to play right into his hands. He gave Núñez what was arguably the pick of his chances towards the end of the first half, when he fed him in down the right-hand side of the box with a perfectly weighted ball, only for 40-year-old McGregor to win the duel once more.

While Liverpool look for their answer to Kevin De Bruyne, who is posting scary assist numbers for Manchester City, it could be that they already have their creator-in-chief in Salah. If he wasn’t playing a new role as such already, he certainly is in the 4-2-3-1: it’s an evolution which could unlock a scary next phase in an already glittering career.

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Jurgen Klopp singles out “fully committed” Liverpool defensive effort

ThisIsAnfield.com - 15 hours 10 min ago

Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to push on from a controlled Champions League victory against Rangers that began with the widely scrutinised Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning free-kick.

Having been held to a frustrating 3-3 draw in the Premier League by Brighton on Saturday, the Reds returned to Anfield on Tuesday looking for a return to winning ways against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men.

Liverpool responded with a 2-0 victory against Rangers that was more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests, with Alexander-Arnold’s excellent effort complemented by a Mohamed Salah spot-kick.

The gap would have been wider had it not been for Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s excellent performance on a night when the hosts successfully switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

“Good game, actioned the game we wanted to play,” Liverpool boss Klopp said.

[embedded content]

“A really good defensive performance in a new structure, offensively created an awful lot. The Rangers goalie had some really nice saves and we missed some other [chances] but I liked it a lot.

“The two goals we scored were really nice. OK, one is a penalty but the move from Lucho for the pen was really good. We played good in these areas.

“The free-kick from Trent was outstanding and set-piece goals are actually my favourite goals because you don’t have to wait for VAR. You just can celebrate them.

“So, in the end I think Rangers came up a little bit but only put us in one situation, really, where Ali had to make a save. But from that, I liked the game a lot.

“No frustration [about not scoring more] at all. I really didn’t want to sit here now and talk about 4-0 or whatever – 2-0 is top, gives us three points. Let’s keep going.”

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the supporters after the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are second in Group A after following the embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Napoli with back-to-back home wins against Ajax and Rangers.

Now the Reds will look to get back on track in the Premier League, where a below-par start to the campaign means they are 11 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead of their trip to north London on Sunday.

“The criticism is completely fine,” Klopp said. “We are not over the moon about our situation, let me say it like this.

“I don’t think [criticism] had too much to do with the situation. It was the game that gave us this job to do.

“But I saw tonight a team fully committed. That is what I like a lot and that’s what we have to do.”

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp joked he has been unable to read newspapers for several weeks due to the criticism – an approach England manager Gareth Southgate may have taken during the recent international break.

The Three Lions boss’ decision to omit Alexander-Arnold from the matchday squad against Germany caused consternation and the right-back will be in the spotlight with every Liverpool performance before the World Cup.

“He played a good game, defensively especially,” Klopp said. “Wonderful goal.

“We set it up differently. We cannot talk about that every week but Trent has no defensive problem. We had a defensive problem – hopefully ‘had’.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, left, saw his side well beaten by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

While Liverpool are well placed to progress, Rangers have yet to put a point on the board in Group A at the halfway point.

Van Bronckhorst’s Gers welcome the Reds to Ibrox next Wednesday and the Dutchman hopes his side learn from Tuesday’s Anfield defeat.

“We are competing against one of the best sides in Europe so the gap is there,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean you have to lose the game.

“I think we competed really well because it’s a strong team, set-pieces we defended really well, which is very hard because they take it really well. They have good headers.

“We will learn from this game. My team will learn from this game, my players personally and we should take the experience into the next game and also into the league performance.”

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CL hits and misses: Everything but the goal for Nunez

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 23:50
Nunez oozes star quality Liverpool's Darwin Nunez, left, and Rangers' Connor Goldson challenge for the ball Image: Liverpool's Darwin Nunez and Rangers' Connor Goldson challenge for the ball

Liverpool hit cruise control and the rest was fairly routine. They strolled to a 2-0 victory at Anfield, only needing to reach a canter during entries into Rangers' often unguarded box. The result looked to be a forgone conclusion from the first whistle, with Jurgen Klopp unusually opting to sacrifice a midfield body to bolster his attacking charges. It had the desired effect.

The most entertaining, or perhaps captivating, battle of the evening turned out to unfold between Darwin Nunez and the Gers' veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who deserves a medal for reducing the scoring to a respectable pace.

Klopp had assured big-money signing Nunez he need not worry about form or numbers before the game, both would come in time, but the striker's insistence to improve in both brackets was desperately clear. And had it not been for McGregor running interference, there would have been tangible improvements.

Nunez had more shots than any other Liverpool player on the night (six) - the most any Reds player has managed without scoring in a group-stage game since Sadio Mane against Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019.

His movement was intelligent, thriving as the focal point of a formation geared towards attacking efficacy. It was built around the 23-year-old's strengths, loading the frontline with inventiveness and creativity in order to generate a consistent supply. He was central to Liverpool's overall dominance.

Speaking after the game, Klopp recalled a particular "favourite moment" in which the Uruguayan made a darting run into the box in an attempt to cut the ball back for his onrushing strike partners. The work he did was selfless and selfish in equal measure. "We saw how good he is in these situations," his manager said.

His snapshot, a mere two minutes into the game, was a sign of things to come as Nunez peppered McGregor's goal. The breakthrough proved elusive, but the performance was packed to the brim with drive and endeavour.

While his bedding-in period has not been quite as seamless as notable other Premier League strikers, signed in the summer at lavish price points, his quality is undoubted and his stature will grow with every opportunity he is afforded. Given time, he will earn his rightful moment in the spotlight.
Laura Hunter

Spurs missing Kool-usevski Tottenham Image: Tottenham stuttered to a 0-0 draw in Frankfurt

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg articulated Tottenham's main issue against Frankfurt perfectly.

He told BT Sport: "We prepared well up until the 18-yard box, finding the spaces well to get in behind them. We needed to breathe and then put it in."

Spurs played with much more spark, enthusiasm and bravery than in their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday but the same underlying problem haunted their game. A lack of coolness.

Heung-Min Son was the guiltiest party, making rash and rushed decisions either with his finishing or that killer last pass. Despite his tubthumping hat-trick against Leicester, it is not really happening for him this season. All three shots against Frankfurt failed to hit the target and although his first-half effort following a fantastic flick from Harry Kane was inches from finding the top corner it was still a rather snatched effort. As his team-mate Hojbjerg referenced, taking a breath may help the South Korean in those moments.

Dejan Kulusevski is someone who is a master of taking care of that final ball and his hamstring injury issue is becoming a worry looking at the last 180 minutes of action that has only seen Spurs score from the penalty spot. They are usually a deadly clinical side but without the influence of their flying winger - whose assist record in the Premier League (11) is only bettered by Kevin De Bruyne since his debut on February 5 - Spurs are lacking the required guile.
Lewis Jones

Conte a true Royalist Emerson Royal kept his place for Tottenham but failed to impress Image: Emerson Royal kept his place for Tottenham but failed to impress

A quick click in the comments under Tottenham's release of their team news for the clash with Frankfurt told you all you need to know about the general feeling regarding the selection of Emerson Royal.

Twitter can be a less-than-reliable place to gauge such opinions from a fanbase but the amount of likes on negative reactions to the wing-back keeping his place spoke volumes. There was a bit of the straw that broke the camel's back about his needless sending off at Arsenal. Surely this would be the tipping point for his seemingly automatic place in Antonio Conte's first team after a prolonged spell of distinctly-average performances and his recent lack of discipline? With Matt Doherty and Djed Spence waiting in the wings and Royal set to miss the next three domestic games due to suspension, this looked to be a great opportunity to get his replacement up to speed.

Yet, as Conte said in his press conference: "Fans are fans." And he knows what he is doing.

Saturday 8th October 5:00pm Kick off 5:30pm Sky Sports Main Event Sky Sports Main Event

With that comment in mind, the Italian could have done with Royal being more influential than he was in the 0-0 with Frankfurt. He was by no means as sloppy as he can be but apart from an early dipping volley the game rather passed him by down the right flank. He was busy but failed to stamp any authority or class on the game.

In a Conte system the wing-backs are so crucial to the creative output and there remains a strong feeling the presence of Royal is stunting the way Spurs construct attacks down that side, especially without Kulusevski. He will now be missing for the next three Premier League games and those in the Twitterati will get their wish of a Royal-free Spurs right-hand flank.
Lewis Jones

Alexander-Arnold shows his class again Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers

Even before the ball had been struck, there was a sense around Anfield that this was heading for the corner. Such is the confidence in Trent Alexander-Arnold when he has time to pick out his spot. He did just that for Liverpool's opener in their 2-0 win over Rangers.

"It was a wonderful goal," said Jurgen Klopp afterwards. "I am happy that he still has that in his locker," he joked, referencing the wait since his last one. It was high quality and puts the focus back on his talent after all the speculation about his defensive deficiencies.

And yet, maybe this is a dance that we are destined to do throughout his career. Liverpool's dominant display against Rangers did not test Alexander-Arnold too much defensively and it is on that aspect of the game that the criticism is focused. Did this tell us anything new?

Maybe it did. Klopp decided to tweak his system for this game. Not because of Rangers, in particular, although he did acknowledge that the Scottish side's strength is the left side. Regardless of the opponent, Liverpool have been struggling to shut it down on that flank.

"We set it up differently," he explained. "We take risks in defence, everyone knows that. It leaves gaps. Those gaps are behind Trent, but not because of him. That is why we adjusted slightly." More cover. The result? "He played a good game, defensively especially."

But it was that strike that showed why he is such a special player, one who can win games for one of the best teams in the world from full-back. He might have had an assist too had Virgil van Dijk not glanced his header wide. He left to a standing ovation. It was deserved.
Adam Bate

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Liverpool 2 - 0 Rangers - Liverpool Handle Their Business, Beat Rangers - Game Recap

LFC Globe - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 23:34

Liverpool were victorious in their first-ever meeting with Rangers on Tuesday night at Anfield. The Reds won 2-0 on a first half free kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold and a second-half penalty taken by Mohamed Salah. It was a tidy effort for Liverpool who needed the .

Liverpool was in total control of their Scottish opposition from the opening kick. They now stand alone in 2nd place in Group A of the Champions League. Tonight’s match was their best in the by far this season. 

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was a good response by the Reds after their against Brighton this past Saturday, in the Premier League. Liverpool played with a purpose all night long, pressing Rangers at every opportunity. They will need to keep the level of play this high going into the match against Arsenal this weekend. 

First Half Photo by NIGEL RODDIS/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool started off the match absolutely dominating ball possession. They barely gave Rangers a look at the ball in the opening minutes. Liverpool would get on the scoreboard early in this match. would scorch a free kick into the top left corner in the 7th minute. It is Trent’s 3rd goal of the season and a direct answer to his critics from the weekend. 

Alexander-Arnold seemed to relish the goal for a moment but, the Reds knew they couldn’t be satisfied with a 1-0 less than 10 minutes in. Liverpool were totally dominant in the first half of the match. Liverpool ended up with 70 percent possession and 7 chances on goal in the opening half but could only get one into the Rangers’ goal.

It was good to see Darwin Núñez back in the Liverpool team. He didn’t manage to score but, he was very active from the first kick. The Uruguayan striker had four great chances in the half, including an absolutely golden opportunity in the 41st minute. All of them required good saves by Rangers’ keeper Allan McGregor. 

Second Half Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool continued their dominance of the Scottish club from halftime. It didn’t take long for the Reds to double their advantage through a penalty in the 53rd minute. Luis Díaz drew the penalty with a charging run into the box.

Salah smashed the penalty right down the middle of the goal for his 47th European goal. It was his 161st goal for Liverpool in all competitions. The Reds missed a few more golden opportunities for more goals in the half but, overall they gave a great offensive effort for 90 minutes tonight. 

To their credit, Rangers didn’t go . They had two great chances after the 85th minute, including one that needed to be cleared off the line by Kostas Tsimikas. Rangers showed a little more effort in the 2nd half but, Liverpool controlled this match from the beginning. Even with the slight hiccups near the end, Liverpool also controlled the narrative on the defensive side of the ball tonight.

Goals

Liverpool- Alexander-Arnold 7’, Salah 53’

Rangers- None

Substitutes

Liverpool - Firmino for Jota 69’, for Henderson 70’, Elliott for Núñez 80’, Milner for Thiago 81’, Alexander-Arnold for Gomez in the 90+3

Rangers - Sakala for Tillman 66’, Jack for Davies 66’, Colak for Morelos 73’, Kamara for Davies 81’ Matondo for Kent 81’

Cards

Liverpool- Yellow- Alexander-Arnold 90+3’

Rangers- Yellow- Lundstram 37’

LFC Globe Verdict

This was a solid win for Liverpool to build on. It was their most complete win in not just the Champions League this year, but maybe the entire season so far. The pressing offence was back, and if it weren’t for McGregor, the Reds would have had more goals.

Jürgen Klopp’s changes to the attack clearly helped the Reds keep the pressure on the Rangers all night. Núñez didn’t score but, it shouldn’t be harped upon. He had nearly a half dozen good chances at goal and getting him into the flow of the offence was the most important thing. 

Almost as important was their effort on the defensive end. Trent Alexander-Arnold had a stand-out game, not just for his classy goal but for his calm work on the backline tonight. Overall it was a good night’s work for the Merseysiders.

Man of the Match and What’s Next Photo by NIGEL RODDIS/AFP via Getty Images

I want to give this Man of the Match to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The kid showed up tonight and put a performance together that answered his critics. His first-half goal was awesome and his play on the defensive end was also very good.

The Reds are right back at it on Sunday afternoon against in London. It will be a tough game for Liverpool, as the Gunners are in a form that we haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. Kick-off is at 16:30 BST from the Emirates Stadium and will be must-see TV. 
The return fixture of tonight’s match with be in Glasgow next week. Kick-off will be at 20:00 BST from Ibrox on Wednesday, October 12th.

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New system, Trent and Nunez praise – 4 key things from Klopp press conference

ThisIsAnfield.com - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 23:17

Liverpool picked up a vital 2-0 win over Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Jurgen Klopp in positive spirits after the game.

[embedded content]

Here are four key points from the manager as he spoke to the press…

“New team structure” excels

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal, from a penalty kick, during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After an insipid run of form, something had to give at Anfield, with Klopp making a much-needed tweak to his formation.

The manager reverted to a two-man midfield of Jordan Henderson and Thiago, with Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez all starting in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Liverpool looked a more cohesive unit in the process, and speaking after the game, Klopp admitted he liked what he saw.

“Good game, the game we wanted to play,” Klopp said.

“It was a really good defensive performance in a new team structure and offensively we created an awful lot. I liked the game a lot.”

The fact that Liverpool stayed in a 4-2-3-1 even when substitutes were made could suggest that they will again line up that way at Arsenal on Sunday.

Silencing the Trent narrative

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trent Alexander-Arnold roared back to form on Tuesday night, curling home a wonderful free-kick and setting Liverpool on their way to victory.

The right-back’s all-round game shone, both going forward and at the back, amid widespread criticism in recent weeks.

Klopp clearly has total faith in Alexander-Arnold’s defensive work, sticking up for his player after the match and blaming the system as a whole.

“He played a good game, especially defensively, and scored a wonderful goal,” he added.

“Trent doesn’t have a defensive problem, we’ve had a defensive problem, because our timing wasn’t right and we take risks defending.

“These gaps are very often in behind Trent, but it’s not because of him, but because of other situations. That’s why we adjusted things slightly.”

While Alexander-Arnold deserves criticism for some of his performances this season, the narrative that he can’t defend is one of the laziest around, and Klopp is spot on, as usual.

Goals will come for Nunez

 Liverpool's Darwin Núñez applauds the supporters as he is substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nunez led the line for Liverpool and produced a committed showing that only lacked a goal on the night.

A number of chances came his way, and while Allan McGregor was in inspired form to thwart him several times, his endeavour shone through at Anfield.

Klopp has no doubt that the goals will soon come for Nunez, who should grow in confidence after this display:

“The way the boys up front moved together was extremely good for only one session, and that was a low-intensity one.

“You can see how good a striker he is, constantly being in these situations. I think everybody saw that tonight.

“It will happen – it’s all good.”

Klopp accepting of criticism

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the supporters after the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s form has been woeful by their extremely high standard and nobody will be more aware of that than the boss.

He joked that the win over Rangers will allow him to read newspapers again, with so many negative column inches written about his side recently.

“I can’t wait to read the newspaper again because I didn’t read them for weeks!” he said.

“The criticism was completely fine. We are not over the moon about our situation, but tonight I saw a team fully committed and that’s what we have to do.”

The real litmus test for Liverpool will now come in the form of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday, before a trip to Ibrox next week and then the visit of Man City.

If the Reds can pick up positive results in all three of those games, it will suggest they have well and truly turned a corner.

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Jurgen Klopp explains Liverpool formation change: “Rock solid defensively”

ThisIsAnfield.com - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 23:05

Liverpool secured their second Champions League victory on the bounce with a 2-0 win over Rangers on Tuesday, with Jurgen Klopp explaining his decision to change the team’s formation in more detail after the game.

The Reds set up in what many are referring to as a 4-2-3-1 formation, with four recognised attackers in Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez.

Jordan Henderson and Thiago anchored the midfield, with the average positions of the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold noticeably more reserved.

It was a change that paid off, with Liverpool easing to a 2-0 victory and solid throughout, with all eyes now on whether Klopp sticks with the system in the coming weeks.

Speaking after the game, Klopp was asked to shed more light on his team’s performance in the new shape.

“It was exactly what we needed,” he told BT Sport.

 Liverpool's team lineup during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We needed a super, super solid performance, top defending, everybody committing, in a new formation. Sometimes you have to change things obviously and it worked out for us tonight.

“A bit of a surprise for Rangers, of course, the way we set up, that was one of the ideas, but it was more of an idea for us to get into the right spaces and we did that.”

The Liverpool boss went on to reveal how the team only had one training session to work on the new shape.

“One session, not more,” he continued.

“We recovered from the last game physically and then we told the boys how we wanted to set it up. I thought they did particularly well.

“One of my favourite moments, where you could see we didn’t do it more often, was when Darwin cut the ball back, but the other two strikers are already towards the line. If one of them waits, it’s the perfect pass.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Unlucky in moments offensively, rock solid defensively, apart from the last few minutes where they had the header after the corner, but yeah, that’s it now.”

Captain Henderson looked more comfortable in a deeper midfield role, emerging from the game as one of the Reds’ standout performers on the night.

He too was pleased with the impact of the new system.

“It felt good,” he told BT Sport when asked about his deeper role in the team.

“Intensity, everything felt really good, energy, winning the ball back high up and everything, possession, winning the tackles, making the last step into tackles and getting the ball.

“So overall, I think we’ve got to be really pleased and it’s a step in the right direction, for sure.”

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexander-Arnold, who, in recent days, has been in the spotlight after a poor defensive performance against Brighton, scored an excellent free-kick to open the scoring, and referred to the new shape as “more of a basic 4-4-2″ after the game.

“We went back to a little bit more of a basic 4-4-2 and played it really well,” he told BT Sport at full-time.

“We shifted across the pitch really well, made it compact, they couldn’t play through us, they were playing a lot of long balls and we were picking up the second balls.

“The change of tactic definitely helped us today, so we’ll see what happens going forward.”

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Klopp: Trent has no defensive problem, the team had a defensive problem

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 22:57

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Jurgen Klopp said that the system against Rangers helped Trent Alexander-Arnold, who scored a superb free-kick in Liverpool's win at Anfield.

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Darwin Núñez produces enigmatic Liverpool display as Jürgen Klopp has plenty of positives

Liverpool.com - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 22:30

Darwin Núñez was handed a start for Liverpool against Rangers. It was his first since the Merseyside derby, and was arguably his best performance of the season, helping to secure a 2-0 victory in what was pretty close to a must-win game.

Núñez was given the nod to lead Jürgen Klopp’s line, with Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz supporting the Uruguayan in a formation switch. Klopp utilised a 4-2-3-1, a system many fans felt Klopp would pivot to in pre-season due to the attacking talent he had at the club.

It seemed to work here. Núñez hasn’t got off to the best start at Liverpool since signing, but this was the first true sign of what the former Benfica man can offer. He worked diligently, running down both channels and putting himself at the service of the team.

READ MORE:Five things spotted in Liverpool vs Rangers as Thiago quietly superb and Jürgen Klopp finds fix

READ MORE:Liverpool must avoid bold Trent Alexander-Arnold call and Jürgen Klopp already knows why

However, it’s debatable whether this was really the best use of Núñez. Throughout the first half, he could be found working the channels, chasing down the Rangers defence and pulling himself out wide to receive the ball from the likes of Díaz, Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas.

But the irony of Núñez's performance is that while it was highly positive — despite not scoring — he wasn’t always in the positions he should have been in to score, or the positions Klopp no doubt expects him to be in. He had his chances, for sure, but he spent a lot of time in wide areas.

His performance was at odds with his performances thus far in the Premier League, where 44 per cent of his touches have come in the penalty area, the highest in the top five major European leagues.

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Yet by the same token, Klopp can take encouragement from how involved Núñez was throughout the game. He was finding his teammates and understanding the movements of the likes of Díaz, Tsimikas and Salah. He could certainly not be accused of being a passenger.

Coincidentally, Núñez's weak point in the game was actually in front of goal. He missed a couple of decent chances, the kind of opportunities the confident Benfica version would have scored.

His tenaciousness and work ethic will nonetheless have endeared himself to the Liverpool faithful, and the only thing lacking was the end product. But for Núñez, it’s something to build on in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Klopp had admitted this week that it will take time for Núñez to make the sort of impact that he made at Benfica. But with Liverpool now having games on average every three days between now and the start of the World Cup, he will get plenty of time to get into a rhythm and finally build up some steam.

Whether he settles down into more of a poacher or a drifter remains to be seen. But Núñez has undoubtedly offered encouraging signs.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold after scoring in Liverpool win: ‘People say things but I try and think positively’

the Athletic - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 22:10

Trent Alexander-Arnold has said he is determined to “always try and think positively” despite the fact that “people say things”, as he returned to form for Liverpool against Rangers amid scrutiny over some of his recent performances this season.

Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring in Liverpool’s comfortable 2-0 Champions League victory over Rangers on Tuesday evening with a sublime 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

The 23-year-old has come under increased scrutiny this season as he has struggled for form. He was last month called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the final international window before the 2022 World Cup, but was left on the bench against Italy and dropped from the matchday squad altogether for a draw with Germany.

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Alexander-Arnold scores stunner as Liverpool brush Rangers aside

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 21:50

Trent Alexander-Arnold's fabulous free-kick set Liverpool on their way to a confidence-boosting 2-0 Champions League win over Rangers at Anfield.

The full-back's form has been much discussed but he lit up the night with a wonderful effort to fire Liverpool ahead before Mohamed Salah scored from the spot after Luis Diaz was fouled by Leon King. It only hinted at the total dominance of Jurgen Klopp's side.

The result maintains Liverpool's grip on second spot in Champions League Group A at the halfway stage, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side find themselves languishing at the foot of the table without a point or even a goal from their three games so far.

How Liverpool dominated Rangers at Anfield

Klopp's response to his team's defensive frailties of late was to remove Fabinho and introduce an additional forward to the starting line-up. Salah was joined by Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez. The best form of defence and all that.

Amid a crackling Anfield atmosphere, that is how it proved as his Liverpool side took the game to Rangers from the outset. Nunez fired off a smart shot. Kostas Tsimikas raided forward well and it was his pass that saw the Uruguayan fouled for the key free-kick.

There was plenty to do but Alexander-Arnold makes those look easy, whipping the ball beyond Allan McGregor with ease. After all the focus on his defensive weaknesses, this was a reminder that he is a player who can do things that other players cannot.

It blew Rangers' game-plan apart. Confidence had been restored by a healthy victory over Hearts but memories of those heavy defeats to Celtic, Ajax and Napoli would have lingered. Would this team wilt again when up against a higher class of opponent?

Team news

Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the team that drew at home to Brighton as Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota came in for Fabinho, Fabio Carvalho and Roberto Firmino.

Rangers made four changes to the team that put four past Hearts live on Sky Sports. Antonio Colak, who scored twice in that game, dropped out for Alfredo Morelos. Steven Davis, Malik Tillman and the teenager Leon King also came into the team.

They were able to hang in there but the chances kept coming for Liverpool with most of them seeming to fall to Nunez. It has been a moderate start to his Liverpool career since joining from Benfica in the summer but his movement was on point here and he looked a real threat.

What his performance lacked was a goal. Perhaps he should have done better when firing his shot too close to McGregor from the left channel but that galloping stride ensured the next opportunity was never far away. Rangers simply could not cope with him.

It was Diaz instead who opened up the away side to fashion the second, darting between defenders before being brought down by King. Salah stepped up to take the penalty and went down the middle when McGregor dived left for his fifth goal of the season.

It was a chastening defeat for Rangers, the gulf illustrated by the fact they did not muster their first shot on target until Antonio Colak tested Alisson inside the final five minutes. For Liverpool, for Alexander-Arnold, it was just the sort of night that was needed.

Paul Merson's verdict

“The gap between the two sides was huge. The gulf in class was massive all over the pitch. It was very, very comfortable for Liverpool.”

Analysis: Alexander-Arnold shows his class Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers Image: Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers

Even before the ball had been struck, there was a sense around Anfield that this was heading for the corner. Such is the confidence in Alexander-Arnold with time to pick out his spot. It showed his quality and put the focus back on his tremendous talent.

And yet, maybe this is a dance that we are destined to do throughout his career. Liverpool's dominant display against Rangers did not test Alexander-Arnold defensively and it is on that aspect of the game that the criticism is focused. This told us nothing new.

What it did highlight once more is that this is a special player, one who can win games for one of the best teams in the world from full-back. He might have had an assist too had Virgil van Dijk not glanced his header wide. He left to a standing ovation. It was deserved.

Klopp happy with improved performance

"It was the game that we wanted to play, a really good defensive performance in the new structure," said Klopp.

"The goalie made some good saves, we missed some. The two goals we scored were really nice. In the end, Rangers came up a little bit but it was one situation really where Ali had to make a save."

Liverpool have faced criticism after a slow start to the Premier League season that has left them 11 points behind leaders Arsenal already but the manager saw positive signs here.

"The criticism is completely fine. We are not over the moon about our situation but we played some really good games not so long ago and Champions League games at Anfield are usually enjoyable," he added.

"I saw a team tonight that is fully committed and that is what I liked."

Van Bronckhorst disappointed by goals

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes his side will learn from their defeat to Liverpool and take it into the reverse fixture

"We knew it was going to be a very difficult game," said Van Bronckhorst.

"The threat they had, players making runs almost every time. The plan to play five at the back was a good one to narrow those spaces.

"In the first half we were still in it, only one goal. We picked the moments much better in the second half when to go up the pitch and cause pressure to them. Those moments were more frequent. But it is always disappointment to lose two goals to set-pieces.

"We had chances to make it 2-1. Antonio has a chance, maybe he should have taken it earlier. But the level we face is very high and our level was not good enough tonight."

Liverpool's win in stats
  • Liverpool have won 14 of their last 16 home games in the Champions League group stages with their only failures in that time coming against Italian sides.
  • Rangers have won just one of their last 19 Champions League games and have lost three in a row in the competition for the first time since December 2007.
  • Only Napoli have had more shots than Liverpool (62) in the UEFA Champions League this season, while Rangers have faced more than any other side so far this term (65).
  • Since 2016-17, Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored more direct free-kick goals than any other Liverpool player in all competitions (6). Tonight was the Reds' first such goal in the Champions League since Steven Gerrard against Basel in December 2014.
  • Mohamed Salah has scored 35 Champions League goals for Liverpool, with only Didier Drogba (36 at Chelsea) and Sergio Aguero (36 at Manchester City) netting more for an English side in the competition.
  • Darwin Nunez had more shots than any other Liverpool player in this match (6) - it's the most shots a Liverpool player has had without scoring in a group stage game since Sadio Mane against Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019.
What's next?

Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.

Rangers host St Mirren at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

The return fixture between Rangers and Liverpool at Ibrox follows the weekend games on Wednesday October 12; kick-off 8pm.

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Liverpool vs Rangers - Champions League Group Stage - Confirmed Lineups

LFC Globe - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 19:51

We are just about ready for the historic, first competitive match between Liverpool and Rangers. Neither team has ever met in a match that has meant anything. Now, they are ready to kick off at . Tonight’s Champions League clash is each team’s 3rd game in the /23

Tonight’s match is the Reds’ first in the since the 2-1 win against Ajax on September 13th. It's a crucial match for both teams in the fight to get out of Group A. Liverpool are currently tied for second in the group with Ajax. They do have the goal differential edge.

Rangers have struggled in the Champions League. Last year’s Europa League runners-up have had a hard time with the tougher competition in Group A. They’ve also played Napoli and Ajax and have lost both matches by a total of 7-0. 

As expected, Jürgen Klopp has made some changes in the lineup from this weekend’s bummer of a draw against Brighton. As teased in his press conference yesterday, the boss gives Darwin Núñez a start. He also brings Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz into the starting lineup. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Klopp sticks with the same starting backline that took so much heat after Saturday’s game. Trent Alexander-Arnold and both had bad weekends and could maybe use a night off. 

Defenders Ibrahima Konaté and both make their regular season debuts on the bench for the Reds. The availability of players on the bench is the deepest we’ve seen for the Reds in some time. 

Here are the lineups for Liverpool and Rangers:

Liverpool Starters

, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Thiago, Henderson, Diaz, Salah, Jota, Núñez 

Substitutes

, Kelleher, Gomez, , Konate, Milner, Firmino, Elliot, Ramsay, Carvalho, Bajcetic, Phillips

Rangers Starters

McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Lundstram, Davis, Kent, Morelos, Davies, Barisic, King, Tillman 

Substitutes

McLaughlin, McCrorie, Ridvan, Devine, Jack, Kamara, Arfield, Colak, Matondo,Wright, Fashion Jr.

LFC Globe Verdict

We love the changes upfront. Bringing in the big-name trio of Díaz, Jota, and Núñez into the starting lineup will give the offence a boost. Squad rotation on such a quick turnaround from Saturday is a must as well. 

We don’t love leaving the very suspect back 4 from this past weekend being left intact. As we mentioned in our recap of Saturday’s match, the centre-back combo of  Virgil van Dijk and Joël Matip has been poor lately. We were hoping for a somewhat shuffled backline and maybe Klopp will bring on Konate or Ramsay at some point.

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