Liverpool have returned to winning ways courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Rangers in Group A of the Champions League this evening.
The much-maligned Trent Alexander-Arnold provided a timely reminder of his quality to break the deadlock with a free kick after only seven minutes, before Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool breathing space from the penalty spot early in the second half.
The victory would have been significantly more comfortable but for a standout performance from 40-year-old Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor too, with the veteran making a string of fine saves to prevent further damage.
Following their late 2-1 triumph over Ajax on matchday two, Liverpool now sit second in Group A behind only Napoli, who continued their perfect start with a statement-making 6-1 win over Ajax in Amsterdam this evening.
Jurgen Klopp’s side welcomed Rangers to Anfield for the first-ever competitive meeting between the two clubs knowing that anything other than a victory would pile further pressure on their shoulders following more dropped points in the Premier League at the weekend.
A rare switch of formation from Klopp was evidence that he recognised the need for something to change, as the hosts lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation rather than their usual 4-3-3.
Alexander-Arnold has been arguably subjected to more criticism than any other Liverpool player during their slow start to the season, with an error-strewn display in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion further shining the spotlight on the debate over whether he should go to the World Cup with England.
However, the full-back reminded everyone of just how dangerous he can be when going forward as he curled a fine free kick into the top corner to open the scoring in just the seventh minute.
The clean sheet may provide him even more satisfaction following the fierce criticism of his defensive abilities, although it was a mark of just how good his free kick was that McGregor could not get close to it on a night where he saved almost everything else that came at him.
Darwin Nunez – leading the line in the 4-2-3-1 formation – was thwarted on numerous occasions by the Rangers keeper, while Salah, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota were all also denied as McGregor made eight saves on the night, many of them eye-catching ones.
Indeed, it was only from set pieces that Liverpool could find a way past the 40-year-old, with Salah doubling their advantage from the penalty spot after Diaz had been brought down by 18-year-old Leon King inside the area.
Rangers struggled to carve out many chances in reply at the other end, although they may have made things interesting late on when first Kostas Tsimikas saved a certain goal with a brilliant clearance from inside his own six-yard box, and then from the resulting corner Alisson Becker made a point-blank stop to deny Antonio Colak.
In the end, though, Rangers could have no complaints at the final result as they remain winless at the halfway stage of Group A and knowing that only a win will really do in the return fixture against Liverpool at Ibrox next week if they are to be playing Champions League football after the turn of the year.