Rangers aim to earn their first point in the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 campaign when they face English giants Liverpool at Anfield. The Gers have made a disappointing start to their campaign after suffering defeats in their first two matches. Liverpool, on the other hand, have made a mixed start to their UCL campaign with a win and a loss in their first two games. Both teams need a win in this match to get back on track.
Liverpool started the season with a disappointing 4-1 loss against Napoli. The Reds struggled throughout the match and the result went against them. In their next match, Liverpool overcame Ajax by a scoreline of 2-1. They showed dominance in the match and were the better team on that day. Jurgen Klopp’s men have scored three goals and conceded five in return. They average 2.01 xG per match and have an average xGA rate of 2.17.
Rangers started the campaign with a 4-0 loss away at Ajax. That loss was followed by a 3-0 loss against Napoli at home. The Gers are now likely to finish at the bottom of Group A. Rangers have failed to score a goal and average 0.78 xG per match. Their defence has leaked seven goals, with an average of 2.58 xGA per match. Giovanni van Bronckhorst will hope that his side gives a respectable performance in this match.
We now look at some of the stats that could predict the outcome of the match.
Rangers’ attacking zones
Rangers average 25.5 positional attacks and 8.33 shots per match. The Gers like to attack from the left side as well as from the centre. The above viz shows the passes to the final third that were made by Rangers players in the last match. Ryan Kent received most of the passes and James Tavernier received a few on the right side. These two will carry the main attacking threat and will look to exploit the full-back weaknesses of Jugen Klopp’s side.
Liverpool in the second half
Liverpool have averaged 41 positional attacks per match and 18.5 shots per match this season. The above viz shows the positional attacks created in the second half by the Reds. In the first match, the Reds attacked more from the right side and from the centre. Against Ajax, they created most of the chances from the left and the centre. This shows that Liverpool can create attacks from both sides depending upon the strategy laid out by the manager.
Can Rangers defend?
Rangers have won their duels this season but have failed to defend their goal this season. They have won 64.7% of their defensive duels and 46.77 aerial duels this season. They have won most of their duels in the second half and will be aiming to improve their record in the first half. Their win percentage is around 70% for defensive duels and around 60% for aerial duels in the second half.
Liverpool’s disappointing draw this weekend means that they will come out all guns blazing in this match. Mohamed Salah will be the main threat for the Reds. He likes to penetrate the opposition penalty box and deliver a few crosses into the opposition box. He already has three goals and the same number of assists in nine appearances. Mo Salah will look to find his goal-scoring touch this season.
John Lundstram will be the key to defending the goal for Rangers. He has become a regular under Van Bronckhorst this season and has played a key role in stabilising the midfield. The midfielder plays as a defensive midfielder and sometimes adds up to the back two. The above viz shows that Lundstram has made some crucial interceptions this season and will look to stop Liverpool’s forwards.
Liverpool will be without Andy Robertson for this match. He is still recovering from his injury. Ibrahim Konate has also returned from injury, but he is unlikely to start. Jurgen Klopp could make a few changes to the team after a disappointing draw at the weekend.
Rangers do not have any new injury concerns. James Sands will miss the match and serve a suspension. Ben Davies will join Connor Goldson at the heart of the defence.
Rangers will have a tough away night when they face Liverpool at Anfield. They have failed to create many attacking chances this season and might struggle against the best team in the group. Liverpool will have the upper hand and will look to win their second match in the group.
Visuals via Wyscout and the TFA data viz engine