Rangers 1 - 7 Liverpool
Flag Shaggers: Arfield 17’
Reds: Firmino 24’ 55’, Nunez 66’, Salah 75’ 80’ 82’, Elliott 89’
Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho, and Ibrahima Konate all get the start in this Champions League tie in Scotland. Definitely good to see the big man back in defense, and the two young attacking midfielders remain the most positive thing in this otherwise pretty dour start to the season. The big miss is Mohamed Salah, who didn’t look at his best against Arsenal, and could definitely use the rest ahead of City.
Anyway, elsewhere in the group Napoli saw off Ajax 4-2, which greatly improves Liverpool’s odds of going through, especially with a win tonight. So. Please. Do that. If my math is correct, it means that if Liverpool win, they’ll just need a draw against Ajax or Napoli to go through.
The first half begins with more of a whimper than a bang, but considering how many times the bang has gone against us so far this season, a boring start can only be considered a positive.
Goal. Oh, well, that boredom didn’t last long. Rangers worked themselves a half-decent chance and buried in the far corner, leaving Alisson no chance.
GOAL! Well, that’s a decent response for fucking once this season. Bobby Firmino nods home from close range from a corner to level the score.
Rangers end the half with a bit of a flurry, but Liverpool just about keep them at bay. This could be another long night for the Reds.
GOAL!! It’s a brace for Bobby! The Brazilian continues his scintillating form (just about the only one on the team consistently bringing it this season), running onto a peach of a low, whipped cross from Joe Gomez to give the Reds the lead!
The Reds have their tails up following the go-ahead goal. They are back on top, in a way we’ve not seen much this season, and looking to extend their lead.
Meanwhile, Thiago is doing his best to influence the match from the sidelines; the veteran midfielder got into an argument with the ref about where he could warm up. Brilliant shithousery.
GOAL!!! This time Bobby turns provider! Carvalho picks out the Brazilian at the top of the box, and Bobby lays it off for Nunez to finish!
Klopp immediately makes a triple sub: Thiago on for Henderson, Salah on for Nunez, and Andy Robertson, returns from injury to face his old Scottish foe on their turf, comes on for Tsimikas. A few minutes later Firmino, with a smile that could power 1000 suns, comes off for Diogo Jota.
GOAL!!! And Salah ends his goal drought, finishing a from a tight angle with his preferred left boot.
And like that the Ibrox faithful are streaming out of the ground. Lovely sight. Klopp responds by bringing on James Milner, who comes on for Konate. Gomez moves over to center back and Milly fills in at right back.
GOAL! Salah gets a second and Liverpool get a fifth. The Egyptian is absolutely surrounded by defenders at the top of the box, but somehow gets a shot away and squeezes it into the near post. Brilliant finish.
GOAL! And like that Salah has a hat trick from the bench! Jota picks him out (as he did with the last goal), Mo takes a touch into the box and bends it into the far corner.
GOAL! This time the child gets in on the act! After a lengthy VAR review for a possible offside, Elliott’s exceptional finish is allowed to stand!
Liverpool put themselves in a great position to advance out of the group, even if winning it outright appears to be a big ask when accounting for Napoli’s perfect start in the group and head-to-head goal differential advantage over the Reds. Still, worse Liverpool squads than this have managed to navigate through Europe despite poor league form. And these Reds have done themselves a big favor on what could’ve been yet another frustrating night.