Liverpool 2-0 Rangers: Player ratings as dominant Reds ease past Rangers

Mitch Wilks
Alexander-Arnold set the tone with a classy goal
Alexander-Arnold set the tone with a classy goal / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Liverpool kept their Champions League campaign on track with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Rangers on Tuesday.

Following more domestic disappointment over the weekend in the form of a 3-3 draw with Brighton, Jurgen Klopp switched things up and went with a 4-2-3-1 formation. That tweak paid dividends almost immediately as Liverpool deservedly pulled ahead after just seven minutes.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side looked well out of their depth all night long at Anfield and would've been several goals behind by half-time if not for Allan McGregor. The veteran goalkeeper continued his heroics into the second half to ensure only a penalty got past him, despite his side's clear struggles.

Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara dominated from the first whistle in a midfield double pivot, behind a fluid front four that clearly caused Rangers problems early on.

A rash challenge from Ben Davies after six minutes resulted in his side going 1-0 down. Trent Alexander-Arnold punished the former Liverpool man by whipping a delightful free-kick into the top corner, leaving McGregor helpless despite his efforts.

The 40-year-old was called into action again after 16 minutes when Mohamed Salah slalomed into the penalty area virtually unchallenged, denying his curled effort spectacularly with a fingertip save.

Rangers struggled to settle into the game and were massively overrun in midfield. Darwin Nunez rotated well with his colleagues and Klopp's side won back possession exceptionally quickly whenever they were caught out. A rare chance for Rangers from a set-piece saw James Tavernier send a free-kick straight into the Liverpool wall after 18 minutes; a summary of their slow start.

Liverpool continued to knock the ball around with ease and almost doubled their lead after half an hour when Virgil van Dijk headed wide. McGregor crucially kept the deficit to just one goal heading into half-time, denying Nunez on several occasions in a fine individual display.

Steven Davis won a second ball high up the field early in the second half which allowed Ryan Kent to attack towards Alexander-Arnold, but his low cross was poor. Kent and Rangers' general lack of belief was highlighted minutes later when Luis Diaz went down the other end and earned a penalty after being hacked down by Leon King, following a sharp dart into the penalty box.

Salah stepped up from the spot to make it 2-0 to the Reds after 53 minutes, with Rangers now looking completely out of ideas.

Despite substitute Rabbi Matondo forcing a brilliant block off the line out of Kostas Tsimikas late on, Liverpool saw out proceedings comfortably in what was a poor evening for Rangers, who must be braver going forward.

Liverpool vs Rangers player ratings - Champions League

1. Liverpool (4-2-3-1)

Darwin Nunez
Nunez was locked in a war with McGregor / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 6/10 - Twiddled his thumbs for most of the evening, but came up with a big save at the end.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 7/10 - Absolutely inch-perfect free-kick. Mr. Whippy.

CB: Joel Matip - 6/10 - Easy night at the office. Spurned a golden opportunity to score late on by heading wide.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 6/10 - Completely dominated Morelos alongside Matip. Should've scored in the first half, also putting a free header wide.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas - 7/10 - A confident game from the Greek international who displayed his ability with a number of neat touches in high areas. Brilliant clearance late on.

DM: Jordan Henderson - 7/10 - Swept up well on the rare occasions Rangers broke forward and did a good job of keeping tempo.

DM: Thiago Alcantara - 8/10 - You cannot give this man the space to stroll around picking passes like he did. Played with slippers on. Immense.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 8/10 - Given far too much time and space to run at defenders, which meant he thrived. Deserved his goal.

AM: Diogo Jota - 6/10 - Picked up a few nice positions, but looked like a player that had been out of the team for some time. Untidy.

LW: Luis Diaz - 7/10 - Barely involved in the first half; gets the ball in the second half and immediately wins his side a penalty. So dangerous when given space.

ST: Darwin Nunez - 7/10 - Lacked awareness in possession when trying to pick out the right pass or firing beyond McGregor, but occupied defenders very well and was a nightmare to keep quiet. Learn to pick a corner, Darwin.

SUB: Roberto Firmino - (70' for Jota) - 6/10

SUB: Fabinho - (70' for Henderson) - 6/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (80' for Nunez) - N/A

SUB: James Milner (80' for Thiago) - N/A

SUB: Joe Gomez (90' for Alexander-Arnold) - N/A

Manager - Jurgen Klopp - 9/10 - Credit to the German for trying something different with his team's shape. His side looked much more balanced and - crucially - refreshed. Attacked with more purpose and fluidity.

2. Rangers (5-4-1)

Allan McGregor
A brilliant performance from the 40-year-old / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Allan McGregor - 8/10 - Had absolutely no chance of getting to Alexander-Arnold's free-kick, but still single-handedly kept Rangers in the game throughout the night. And ruined Diaz's evening.

RWB: James Tavernier - 5/10 - With all the action taking place down the opposite flank, Tavernier had a somewhat more straightforward evening.

CB: Leon King - 4/10 - The teenager wasn't helped out enough by his colleagues in dealing with Liverpool's relentless attacks. Showed his inexperience.

CB: Connor Goldson - 5/10 - Organised his defence well considering the midfield was outnumbered and King was thrust in despite his inexperience.

CB: Ben Davies - 3/10 - An unsavoury return to Anfield - dragged around the place by Nunez and bailed out by McGregor.

LWB: Borna Barisic - 4/10 - Constantly caught in no man's land thanks to Salah and Nunez. Will need a good lie down after that .

RM: Malik Tillman - 4/10 - Completely out of the game with Rangers constantly chasing. A shame they couldn't try and play towards him more.

CM: John Lundstram - 3/10 - Didn't know whether he was coming or going when Liverpool attacked. Looked very lost.

CM: Steven Davis - 4/10 - A similar story for Davis. Too much ground to cover and couldn't keep track of runs in behind. Rangers could've done with another midfielder.

LM: Ryan Kent - 5/10 - Looked the most lively for Rangers when they did have possession, which isn't saying much.

ST: Alfredo Morelos - 3/10 - Struggled immensely to hold up the ball, which made life difficult for his teammates. Barely in the game at all.

SUB: Ryan Jack - (66' for Davis) - N/A

SUB: Fashion Sakala - (66' for Tillman) - N/A

SUB: Antonio Colak - (73' for Morelos) - N/A

SUB: Rabbi Matondo (81' for Kent) - 6/10 - So close to scoring at the end.

SUB: Glen Kamara (81' for Davies) - N/A

Manager - Giovanni van Bronckhorst - 3/10 - Of course you have to be wary when heading to Anfield, but Rangers were set up far too conservatively. They were overrun in midfield and lacked an outlet.

Player of the match - Allan McGregor (Rangers)