Liverpool first played Rangers in October 1892, when the club was a mere 125 days old. The bouncing baby boys were trounced 6-1. The two famous old clubs have played each other nine times since then, the latest another win for the Gers in 2011 thanks to a Fabio Aurelio own goal … but all ten games have been friendlies. This is the first time they’ve met in serious competition. History tonight, then, right here!
The hosts aren’t in the best of nick. They could easily have been on the end of a thrashing at the hands of Brighton last weekend, the final score at Anfield of 3-3 seriously flattering Jurgen Klopp’s side. They’re already well off the pace in the Premier League, and have already had their Eurotrousers handed back to them, neatly pressed and laundered, by Napoli. They could seriously do with a result tonight to restore some of their shredded confidence.
Rangers by contrast have recovered some of their poise after a rocky spell. Consecutive 4-0 thrashings by Celtic and Ajax put Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men in a dark place, and while a 3-0 home defeat to Napoli doesn’t look great on paper, Rangers competed well when they still had 11 men on the pitch. Subsequent domestic wins over Dundee United and Hearts have restored a little morale, and tonight may play with the insouciance of men gifted a free shot, with few expecting them to come away from Anfield with anything, despite the travails of the hosts. Kick off is at 8pm BST. It’s on!