Robert Snodgrass issues Anfield warning to Rangers as he opens up on 'bigger picture' at Hearts
But, the 35-year-old former Scotland midfielder, who signed for the Gorgie side last month, has warned Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men that Liverpool are likely to prove a more difficult proposition when they travel south for their latest Champions League test.
The Ibrox side are still looking for their first point and first goal in a group that also includes Napoli and Ajax but turning that around on Tuesday night will be a tall order.
“Anfield is probably one of the toughest places I’ve ever been. The atmosphere they create there, especially on a big European night, is really special. It’s impressive enough even just watching the games – but something else when you play them there.
“I’ve played Liverpool at Anfield a few times and it’s a very difficult place to go, even when you do well. I actually did my ankle there celebrating with West Ham, so that wasn’t great! I was playing against Andy Robertson, as well, so that’s always good.”
West Ham’s 3-2 loss in 2020 was a close encounter but the midfielder has been on the wrong side of some heavy defeats, with the Hammers, Hull and Norwich.
“Liverpool and Man City are the two teams who are at the very highest level, above every other side. If you get a result against them, you’ve done very well.
“Rangers will know how tough it can be there. But Liverpool haven’t started this season exactly the way they’d have wanted to. It’s two big clubs going at it. But, if Liverpool are at it, it will be a tough night for Rangers.”
On Saturday, an early opener from Antonio Colak set the Ibrox side on the road to victory in Edinburgh. Hearts are best when getting off to a flyer but Rangers denied them that and muted the home crowd. Snodgrass says they will be hoping to do the same against Jurgen Klopp’s team.
“Absolutely, they’ll want to get the crowd quiet, give a good account of themselves – and show that they’re capable of playing at the very highest level of the Champions League. They had a great run in Europe last year, they’ve done really well.
“So there’s no doubt Rangers will head to Anfield believing they can get something from the game. It will be a good watch.
“There is no chance of Liverpool taking Rangers lightly. No chance. Rangers are a big name, everyone knows what they did in reaching the Europa League Final last year. And just look at the size of the club.
“With the fans travelling down there, they will be expecting Rangers to go out there to compete – and believing that they can win.”
Hearts went into Saturday’s clash with a similarly positive mindset but Colak had added a second by the time Cammy Devlin was sent off, six minutes from the break. With one eye on Thursday’s Uefa Conference League match with Fiorentina, manager Robbie Neilson chose to shuffle personnel, withdrawing those carrying niggling injuries or looking to save energy ahead of another busy run of fixtures.
That is where Snodgrass says he can prove his value to the Gorgie squad.
Ineligible to play in Hearts’ European group matches, the September signing says he can still influence things by attempting to ease the strain domestically.
He played the last 26 minutes against Motherwell in the last league outing before the international break and, on Saturday, he was given the entire second half.
Rangers netted another two goals after the break, courtesy of Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent, but it was still a welcome run out for Snodgrass, who admits he is playing catch-up in terms of fitness and match sharpness, thanks to a delayed start to the season.
“There is a bigger picture here than me. There are a lot of young boys in the squad and I will just try to help them by working as hard as I possibly can in training. The training is at a good tempo. I hadn’t really done anything in about three-and-a-half months. I have done two weeks’ training. I will just try and repeat that until I can build up the minutes. It is a difficult pre-season as such.
“It is hard. I need games, but we can’t have any closed doors games because it is two or three games a week. It is difficult, but I have to be patient.
“We’ve put ourselves in a great position being in Europe, rubbing shoulders with teams like Fiorentina, but it is tough. I think even the Motherwell game, to go and win 3-0 away from home after a late return from the Thursday night game, that’s a tough gig.
“Once you get through the gears and get into these European games, there are a lot of highs and lows, a lot of extra travelling – and you need to use your squad depth. It’s a test for the management staff, as well as the players. The games do come thick and fast.”
He will also use that experience to help Devlin, the newly-capped Aussie, to learn and bounce back from his costly red card.
“He is down. Sometimes after games it is hard with the emotion. He’s gone in to win the ball, has maybe kicked the boy and it is a red card. But he’ll come back stronger. He is a good kid and he is a good player as well. He has just come back after being called up by his national team and was as high as a kite. But that is the highs and lows of football. It’s how you adjust, how you react. Listen, if I can help him in any way through my experience then I will definitely do that.”
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