Borna Barisic’s injury will be a worry on a great night for Rangers. But while Calvin Bassey’s performance made up for the re-shuffle in some ways, the Croatian’s injury record could become a cause for concern.
It remains to be seen if the defender’s withdrawal was just a knock and a pre-caution but having already missed some of the international break with a knee injury, and sitting out the recent win over Motherwell, there’s potentially an issue to be monitored when it comes to the left-back whose form has been pivotal in Rangers’ play early in this campaign.
Barisic has had a significant say in Rangers’ goals with his assists and delivery, as well as contributing defensively.
However, while he might not have the precision of a Croatian left-foot, Calvin Bassey’s barging runs down the wing added a power to Rangers that Barisic doesn’t bring.
They’re both left-backs, they’re both more than capable, but they’re very different players.
Bassey has been described as raw by those who have seen him since his summer move from Leicester, but his performances against Motherwell and now Liege suggest he could stake a claim for a more regular place if it’s bad news for Barisic.
The Roofe is on Fire
What more can be said this morning that wasn’t last night?
Kemar Roofe’s goal was something special, ‘world class’ according to his manager.
It let the pressure from Liege’s attacks as the home side had certainly sensed a point was within their grasp and lifted the tempo with ten minutes to go.
But Roofe’s goal was probably the best option open. With a water-logged pitch, running the ball to the corner in treacherous conditions could have left possession in a puddle and given the home side another opportunity to push for the equaliser.
He’d already beaten three men to take the ball to the halfway line as well. Any more would just be show-boating, wouldn’t it?
It never rains but it pours for Standard Liege.
Losing players through COVID-19, then their proud home record in European competition to James Tavernier’s penalty and Roofe’s wonder-goal. And it had to be a former Anderlecht man to put them to the sword too, to rub salt into the wounds.
Perhaps that was why there was a set-to in the tunnel at the end of the game but Rangers will be thankful the match got so far.
The downpour in the second half, and the way the water sat on the pitch and particularly collected on the Rangers left wing, made for really difficult conditions – especially for a team chasing the game.
Conditions were pretty dangerous and rather than slick the surface for some passing football, it slowed it right down. At times the water stopped the ball rolling altogether and the referee could well have called the game to a halt.
That would have been a huge injustice on Rangers after taking the lead, but in the end, things went swimmingly for Steven Gerrard’s side… but the plug could well have been pulled.