COVID hit Club Brugge 'a good example' say Rangers rivals Standard Liege after Champions League win

Standard Liege boss Philippe Montanier has urged his coronavirus-hit side to take inspiration from Belgian rivals Club Brugge as they look to beat Rangers in the Europa League.

Standard Liege's head coach Philippe Montanier previewed the Rangers meeting earlier today (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
Standard Liege's head coach Philippe Montanier previewed the Rangers meeting earlier today (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Three of Montanier's squad, plus a member of his backroom staff, have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Steven Gerrard's team.

Michel-Ange Balikwisha, Moussa Sissako and Nicolas Raskin, plus goalkeeping coach Jan Van Steenberghe, have all contracted the virus and will not be involved when the Gers visit Stade Maurice Dufrasne for the opening match of the group stage.

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Liege’s positive test results follow three cases discovered among weekend opponents’ Brugge’s squad – leading to a depleted side facing Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League last night.

But Montanier is taking heart from the display of the Belgian champions who were missing goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Odilon Kossounou and Michael Kremencik yet still managed to stun Zenit in Russia with a 2-1 win and the Liege boss believes his side can repeat the trick against Steven Gerrard’s side.

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"The example of Club Brugge is a good example,” he said. “They left without three starters at Zenit and they won. It is a good omen. We would have preferred to have the absent players with us but, as always, it is the group which we have at present which will have to make up for the absentees."

In a brief statement on their website Standard also announced that Damjan Pavlovic and Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba would be kept away from the rest of the squad. The pair have both tested negative but share a house with Sissako."We are aware that in one week, the cases of coronavirus have exploded and we are no exception to the rule," Les Rouches manager added."We have our first but we also want to be careful. We know that people who live in the same household are not all positive. The players are very careful, whether at the club or outside, so we remain rather calm."

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Liege were involved in a 1-1 draw with Jupiler Pro League leaders Brugge on Saturday, aided by a penalty in the last minute from Nicolas Gavory.