Mohamed Salah’s 6-minute hat trick caps Liverpool’s demolition of Rangers
Rangers vs Liverpool recap: The Reds were already 3-1 up and cruising when Mohamed Salah embarked upon a six-minute hat trick and stole the headlines at Ibrox on Wednesday.
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Unofficially, the first and third goals were clock 6 minutes, 12 seconds apart, beginning in the 75th, giving Salah the fastest hat trick in UEFA Champions League history.
Salah had perhaps disappointed a bit to start the 2022-23 season (just two goals each in the Premier League and Champions League), but the Egyptian flashed his brilliant best on Wednesday, just four days before Liverpool face Manchester City in what should have been a colossal clash of title contenders on Sunday.
The 7-1 victory, which also saw Roberto Firmino score twice with single tallies from Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott, gives Liverpool (9 points) a commanding edge in the race for 2nd place in Group A, now six points clear of Ajax with two games left to play. Liverpool will host leaders Napoli (12 points) on the final day of the group stage.
How to watch Rangers vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time
This is win or bust for Glasgow Rangers and there will be an incredible atmosphere at Ibrox for this all-British tie. Van Bronckhort’s side have lost their opening three Champions League group stage games without scoring a goal and they have conceded nine. That said, they gave Napoli some problems at home before a red card changed the game and they conceded three times in the final 22 minutes. Liverpool head to Glasgow with confidence levels low and injury issues building as Jurgen Klopp knows the balance is not right in his team and they are conceding way too many goals as he tinkers with the formation and personnel. There is more than a whiff of an upset in the air around this one.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Rangers forward Antonio Colak has scored six goals in his last three games in the Scottish Premiership and he may will partner Alfredo Morales up top to try and take the game to Liverpool. James Tavernier is exceptional from wide areas and Liverpool will have to be wary of his set-piece prowess. As for the Reds, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino looked particularly sharp in their defeat at Arsenal with the latter scoring and pushing for a starting spot.
The lowdown on Rangers
It is clear that the step up to the Champions League group stage (for the first time in 11 years) has been tough for Rangers. They are delighted just to be at this stage as they battled through the qualifying rounds. That said, they have been in good form domestically and aside from their hammering by Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season, they look on track to challenge their bitter rivals all season long for domestic trophies. The main aim for Rangers is to keep playing in Europe beyond November and if they win their two remaining home games against Liverpool and Ajax, that will give them a great chance of at least qualifying for the Europa League knockout rounds.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
Just when it looks like their injury issues were clearing up, Liverpool have lost Luis Diaz, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold. All three were injured in the defeat at Arsenal with Diaz expected to be out until the Premier League returns in late December, while Matip and TAA will be missing for at least the next two weeks. That is a big blow for Jurgen Klopp. That means he could revert to his usual 4-3-3 formation with Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago in midfield and Jota out on the left, one of Nunez and Firmino central and Salah on the right up top. Defensively Joe Gomez will come in at right back and Ibrahima Konate can slot in at center back alongside Virgil van Dijk. Andy Robertson and Curtis Jones are close to a return but Naby Keita, Arthur Melo and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain out.