GRAEME SOUNESS: Rangers will face their toughest European test in recent years against an ANGRY Liverpool side at Anfield… Jurgen Klopp’s team are going to click in some game very soon
- Rangers have thrived in Europe under manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst
- They beat Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig in the Europa League last season
- They also saw off PSV Eindhoven to make the Champions League group stages
- The Scottish side are set to face Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night
- This promises to be their toughest test yet against an ‘angry’ Liverpool side
Rangers go into their Champions League match against Liverpool on Tuesday night knowing they have more than held their own against some excellent European sides in the past year. The wins over Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were superb. But neither of those games will have been remotely as tough as this one.
They will be up against a Liverpool side accused of not being the same team they once were. In other words, they will face an angry group of players.
Anfield is always a very difficult place to go and play football. A very difficult place to get a result. I don’t think Rangers will be emboldened or encouraged by Liverpool’s recent results, because they know Jurgen Klopp’s team are going to click in some game very soon and I think that’s going to be the start of them going on a run in Premier League as well.
Rangers have impressed in Europe over the past year, holding their own against top clubs
They had to battle past PSV Eindhoven just to make the group stages of the Champions League
I didn’t play against English sides while at Rangers but my Liverpool team did play at Aberdeen in the European Cup in 1980.
It’s always a special kind of occasion because the media play up to the England vs Scotland thing. It was no different that year. The media were making a lot of how Gordon Strachan could do us a lot of damage for Alex Ferguson’s team and our manager Bob Paisley ratcheted up the pressure by claiming in his press conference that Gordon, a very gifted player, would become Scotland’s first £2million star.
It was a confidence trick. Talk up a player and pile pressure on him. All part of Paisley’s shrewd strategy. We also used the huge media build-up around Aberdeen, when we arrived north of the border, as a motivating factor. We won 1-0 at Pittodrie, 4-0 in the second leg at Anfield and lifted the trophy that year.
When I was managing Rangers six years later, there was still the same cross-border rivalry. We would have England vs Scotland games between the players of the two nations in training.
It was seven-a-side, 10 or 15 minutes each way but they were a bit tasty, I can tell you. I played for ‘England’ because they were short of players. I wasn’t welcomed by the English because somehow we lost most Friday mornings and I got the brunt of the blame. Even though I was also refereeing! Those games showed what being English and Scottish means to those players.
That has all changed a fair bit now. It’s less fierce now because of the number of foreign players who play for both clubs, whereas north-south matches used to be mostly English vs mostly Scottish. But the match will still be a particularly special one for Rangers. The Champions League group stage has been tough for them but they have not dwelt on losing the Old Firm derby and emerged positively from that. The 4-0 win at Hearts at the weekend was an excellent one.
My loyalties are split right down the middle as I watch two clubs I love hugely. I’m hoping it’s an entertaining 3-3 draw.
Liverpool have made a disappointing start to the season, winning just twice in the league
They will be angry with their form, and that makes them a dangerous team for Rangers to face