Van Bronckhorst believes Rangers can chase Ajax in Champions League

‘He performed really well’: Giovanni van Bronckhorst praises goalkeeper Allan McGregor after Liverpool heroics… and believes Rangers can chase Ajax for third place in Champions League group

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a brilliant free kick to give Liverpool the lead
  • Mohamed Salah then doubled the home side’s lead from the penalty spot
  • Rangers Keeper Allan McGregor was instrumental in keeping the margin to two 

Giovanni van Bronckhorst insisted Rangers can still secure European football after Christmas despite losing their third game in a row in Group A.

A sobering 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, which could have been worse but for the heroics of goalkeeper Allan McGregor, left the Ibrox side with no points and no goals in their Champions League campaign.

However, Napoli’s stunning 6-1 win over Ajax in Amsterdam leaves the Europa League finalists just three points adrift of the Dutch giants, who they play in their final game at Ibrox on November 1.

Rangers struggled in the game, but goalkeeper Allan McGregor had an excellent game

Speaking after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick and Mo Salah’s penalty broke McGregor’s resistance, Van Bronckhorst challenged his side to secure enough points against Liverpool at home and Napoli away on matchdays four and five to make the game against Ajax a play-off for third place and a slot in the Europa League.

‘It’s a very, very difficult group with teams from a high level,’ said the Rangers boss.

‘You see big defeats in this group stage and that means results have to come our way in the next two games. That’s the only thing we can have still. The chance to play Ajax in the last game with a chance to qualify for Europe after the break.’

The decision to restore McGregor as No 1 ahead of Jon McLaughlin was justified by a series of stunning saves from the 40-year-old.

Trent Alexander-Arnold gave Liverpool an early lead with a spectacular free kick 

Alexander-Arnold’s sublime free-kick after seven minutes gave the visitors an uphill battle.

McGregor’s brilliance kept them in it until 18-year-old Leon King conceded a penalty on his first Champions League start after 53 minutes. Salah stepped up to convert.

Rangers had their best chances in the final minutes when subs Rabbi Matondo and Antonio Colak tested Liverpool keeper Alisson.

‘Of course, it is disappointing to lose two goals from set-pieces,’ said Van Bronckhorst. ‘We had some chances to make it 2-1, one ball was cleared from the line. Maybe we could have got something more out of the game.

Mo Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead with a coolly taken penalty in the second half

‘I think we have improved in the Champions League from the first game.

‘We knew it was going to be a very difficult game with the attacking threat they have. They have players making runs almost every time they have the ball in space. The plan to have five at the back was a good one to narrow those spaces.

‘We knew it was going to be difficult when they play at high speed, quick passing. We were still in the game at half-time with only one goal of a difference.

https://bigsportsnews.com/soccer/klopp-praises-liverpool-after-their-2-0-win-over-rangers/

‘We identified the moments much better in the second half to go higher up the pitch and bring pressure on them. But the level we face is very high and the level we had today wasn’t enough to get something from the game.’

The Egyptian winger has now scored in ten consecutive Champions League games

Rangers had hoped to take advantage of a crisis of confidence in the Liverpool ranks. However, with the athleticism, speed and movement of the home side on a different level, any prospect of a shock was dismissed after seven minutes.

‘Don’t forget the opposition we are playing here,’ said the Rangers boss. ‘Everyone was saying: “Liverpool are out of form, it is going to be an easy game”, but you see today the level they can reach. The gap is obvious. Look at the squads we both have. We are competing against one of the best sides in Europe.’

Praising McGregor for his heroics, Van Bronckhorst said: ‘He performed really well. We know he can perform on this level. Especially first half — and in the second half he had some good saves. Also very positive from Leon King, an 18-year-old defender from the academy who played well. He was one of our best defenders.

‘Ben Davies, his performance as well. He only played 70 minutes of the season and, coming back to Liverpool, he performed really well.

‘There are always positives to take from this game.’

Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes Rangers can chase Ajax for third place in the group

Napoli remained top of Group A after their 6-1 demolition of Ajax in Amsterdam.

Mohammed Kudus gave the home side a ninth-minute lead, but the roof then caved in on Alfred Schreuder’s side.

Giacomo Raspadori levelled before Giovanni Di Lorenzo put Napoli in front just after the half hour.

Another goal from Piotr Zielinski on the stroke of half-time had Ajax reeling. Raspadori scored his second just after the break then Khvicha Kvaratskhelia added their fifth.

Dusan Tadic was sent off in the 73rd minute before Giovanni Simeone scored Napoli’s sixth.




Share this article

Source: Read Full Article