Liverpool v Rangers, McCoist and Hateley, and three centuries of data | Soccer


RED, ORANGE AND BLUE

Liverpool have enjoyed something of an affinity with the green half of Glasgow down the years, so it’s easy to forget that the club was founded and initially run by a load of stern looking gentlemen in bowler hats. Anfield’s early connection to the Orange Order is little more than a historical footnote these days, however, and The Fiver isn’t going too far out on a limb to suggest that fundamental attitudes among Liverpool’s supporter base to existential issues such as king and country have evolved over the years. It’s probably best for all concerned that it was Ajax in town three weeks ago rather than Rangers, now we come to think about it.

Flute-bothering and national-anthem-enjoying origins aside, what’s even more surprising is that Liverpool and Rangers have never played each other in a competitive fixture. They have met in friendlies, though, the first time in October 1892 when Liverpool FC was exactly 125 days old. The baby Reds were spanked 6-1 at Ibrox. Onwards and upwards, and when Liverpool popped back in 2011, a star-studded team featuring Jay Spearing, Sebastián Coates and Andy Carroll went down to a Fábio Aurélio own goal. That’s some incremental improvement, and it augurs well for Jürgen Klopp’s side before next Wednesday’s visit to Govan. Three centuries worth of data is very much sort of on their side. Draw ahoy!

First things first, though, and Liverpool have to deal with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men at Anfield on Tuesday. The Lhight Bhlues are coming off the back of a comprehensive 4-0 win at Hearts, while Klopp’s rabble need to pull themselves together after being thrashed 3-3 by Brighton. Rangers are looking for their first point – indeed their first goal – in Big Cup this season, but having been trounced in Amsterdam, should take succour from a much-improved performance against red-hot Napoli, at least when they still had 11 men on the pitch. Oh James Sands! How could you.

While few expect the Gers to get anything on their travels south, nobody gave Ally McCoist and Mark Hateley’s lot any chance against Leeds in 1992 either, and look what happened there. Mind you, the hosts will hope history can be their friend as well: the last time Liverpool met Scottish opponents in Big Cup, they stuck five past Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen and went on to win the trophy. Admittedly all of this is about as relevant in 2022 as John Houlding’s choice of headgear, but hey, when things aren’t going so well, you’ve got to clutch at something.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE

Scott Murray will be here from 8pm BST with hot MBM coverage of Liverpool 3-0 Rangers, while Rob Smyth will simultaneously provide a blow-by-blow account of Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Tottenham.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“He did it in an innocuous way, which is about right for us with injuries at the moment. He did it playing on his Xbox. Dropped his leg on the sofa and tweaked it” – Crewe’s exasperated manager, Alex Morris, explains why top scorer Courtney Baker-Richardson was sat at home playing video games forced to miss Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Carlisle with hip-knack.

Courtney Baker-Richardson expresses his pain.
Courtney’s pain game. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Join Faye Carruthers for a special live event with Euro 2022 winner Beth Mead, on 31 October. Tickets are available now.

David Squires pays homage to LS Lowry’s masterpiece by reimagining it for modern football’s matchgoing fans.

Daviid Squires cartoon extract.
Illustration: David Squires/The Guardian

FIVER LETTERS

“As the undying monster that is the £$L is once again trotted out as a solution by the man-who-is-in-no-way-the-problem Florentino Pérez (yesterday’s Quote of the Day), I was heartened to note that he still thinks that ‘young people’ are only interested in watching Real Madrid play Manchester City and the like. Surely, the fact that said youth are becoming ‘less and less interested in football’ could not be down to a lack of interest in continuing to enrich business tycoons, oil cartels with statehood side hustles, tech geniuses trying to further ‘disrupt’ other folks’ wallets, gambling concerns scraping up couch-cushion money (and soon couches, presumably) of hapless fans, and so forth?” – Matty Spillum.

“Florentino Pérez mentions the travesty that Real Madrid and Liverpool have only met nine times in the 67-year history of Big Cup and its predecessor, Big Cup. Perhaps he should have a word with the clubs who declared it unacceptable that Europe’s biggest clubs could be drawn against each other in an early round by chance, and started campaigning for seeding intended to allow safe passage for them to the later rounds. As Homer Simpson once pondered: ‘Why do my actions have consequences?’” – Ed Taylor.

“Am I being pedantic like so many (probably around 1,056) others, or is Erik ten Hag’s ‘pack of cards’ (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs) actually a pretty stable metaphor, highly unlikely to collapse? I would imagine The Fiver, in discussions with The Man around their own contract and performance, would give their right arm for this version of instability?” – Lee Smith (and no others).

“I agree with Mr Andrew Parker (yesterday’s Fiver letters). My knowledge of football could be written on the back of an envelope (perhaps half of it), but every day I navigate to your letters section (ignoring everything else). These regularly prove that a modicum of sanity secretly lurks in the terraces. And please don’t send me a prize” – Robin Flowers.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Matty Spillum.



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