Trent Alexander Arnold scored a sensational free-kick as Liverpool defeated Rangers 2-0 in a one-sided ‘Battle of Britain’ at Anfield.
The Reds full back, who has come in for criticism for his performances so far this season, gave a timely reminder of his qualities with a sublime 25-yard set piece to open the scoring on seven minutes.
The hosts could and perhaps should have been out of sight by the interval but Gers keeper Allan McGregor produced a series of top-drawer saves to deny Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez on multiple occasions.
The pattern continued in the second half and it was no surprise when the Merseysiders finally doubled their advantage as Salah coolly converted a spot kick on 53 minutes.
The result sees Liverpool sit second in Group A on six points, just three points behind leaders Napoli. Ajax are third on three points while Rangers are pointless from three games played.
Next up, Rangers entertain St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday while Liverpool travel to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday. The sides will then meet again in the Champions League at Ibrox next Wednesday.
Liverpool impress. This was a vibrant return to form for Liverpool as they found a gear that has so how often been frustratingly elusive this season.
It ensured the so-called ‘Battle of Britain’ went as many would have expected with the Merseysiders proving far too strong on the night.
The major plus point for Liverpool was a much more assured defensive display with Alexander-Arnold looking a lot more like his old self in both halves of the pitch. Indeed, Klopp called for the Kop to rise to support the right-back when he substituted him for an ovation in stoppage time. The debate over TAA’s England selection will continue to rage and this goal will only add to that with the World Cup edging ever closer.
As for Rangers, they struggled to cope with the pace and quality of Liverpool’s forwards and would have suffered a heavier defeat if not for their inspired keeper. They will hope to re-address the situation with a ‘cup-tie’ atmosphere at Ibrox next Wednesday but it already looks like they will struggle to make much impact in this pool overall.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Allan McGregor (Rangers). The veteran keeper was almost like a one-man wall of defiance as he repeatedly frustrated Liverpool’s forward-line. Deserved more security from his teammates and it shows just how good he was that he pipped several Reds players to this award.
LIVERPOOL: Allison 7, Alexander-Arnold 8, Matip 7, van Dijk 7, Tsimikas 7, Henderson 8, Thiago 7, Jota 7, Diaz 8, Salah 8, Nunez 7. Subs: Fabinho 6, Firmino 6, Elliott n/a, Milner n/a, Gomez n/a.
RANGERS: McGregor 8, Tavernier 6, Goldson 6, King 6, Davies 6, Barisic 6, Davis 6, Lundstram 6, Tillman 6, Kent 7, Morelos 6. Subs: Sakala 6, Jack 6, Colak 6, Matondo n/a, Kamara n/a.
07’ – GOAL! – Liverpool 1-0 Rangers. Alexander-Arnold whips a delightful 25-yard free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
34’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Nunez spins into space on the left side of the area. He takes down a smart pass from Henderson but sees his goal-bound shot brilliantly kept out by McGregor.
53’ – GOAL! – Liverpool 2-0 Rangers. Salah clips his spot kick down the middle to double the home side’s advantage after King had brought down Diaz.
59’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Jota spins on to a deflection off a Rangers boot and rifles in a thunderous shot that McGregor manages to tip over the bar.
84’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Matip meets a left-wing corner but heads inches wide of the far post.
86’ – RANGERS CHANCES! Tsimikas produces a great clearance from under his own crossbar after Matondo had slipped a shot past Alisson. Liverpool are caught out from the resulting corner and Colak sees a powerful shot well blocked by the Brazilian keeper.