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Champions League preview, Weds 12th.

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Selections

Rangers v Liverpool

Rangers are yet to score in three Champions League group matches and the step up from the Europa League has been evident. 

The transition from finalists in the Europa League to taking on Europe’s big boys has been difficult. The Gers have been beaten soundly by Ajax, Napoli and Liverpool and another quickfire clash with Jurgen Klopp’s men looks an ominous one. 

Giovanni van Bronckhorst will know that Liverpool will never be as vulnerable, though, as they are currently after a woeful start to the season in the Premier League. Just two wins from eight games in the league has left Klopp looking for answers. 

But Rangers were soundly beaten at Anfield and only a superb performance from Allan McGregor helped them leave with just a 2-0 defeat. 

Five at the back could not stem the Liverpool tide and 61% possession meant 24 goal attempts for the Reds. And even the 7/1 about a Rangers win looks a long shot, but similarly it’s hard to have any conviction about a Liverpool win at 4/11. 

Liverpool will have to shuffle their pack with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz ruled out through injury. That will probably mean a start for the in-form Roberto Firmino, while Joe Gomez is expected to play at right-back. 

The Brazilian striker, who looked sharp against Arsenal, has yet to score in Europe this season, but he has six goals in just five starts in the Premier League. He looks a decent shout to net at Ibrox and ultimately Liverpool will have too much firepower for the hosts. 

We can expect a more competitive game, though, with Rangers knowing they must go for broke or else face finishing with the Group A wooden spoon. 

The Gers scored four goals either side of the defeat at Anfield and they look destined to break their duck regarding goals. 

Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet on the road this season and were heavily beaten in Napoli on matchday one. A rejigged backline could well help Rangers, but breaching Klopp’s under-fire defence might just be their sole success on Wednesday. 

Tottenham v Eintracht Frankfurt

Champions League Group D is a tight affair with Spurs on four points and only currently above Frankfurt on goal difference, with Sporting leading the way on six points. 

Antonio Conte knows that Wednesday’s home date with the side they drew 0-0 with last week is pivotal to their qualification hopes. 

But Conte has a dilemma over his line-up. Does he go with his strongest XI knowing they will have only two days’ rest before they face Everton on Saturday evening? Or does he ring the changes knowing that Frankfurt failed to lay a glove on Spurs in Germany? 

It makes a serious punt in the game a difficult one, but given Spurs’ dominance, without the clinical edge, in the first game they should be expected to get past Oliver Glasner’s side on home soil. 

Frankfurt had been showing signs of steady improvement this season, but the weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Bochum was a setback. 

The scoreline was slightly misleading in the fact that Frankfurt were well in the game only to concede three late goals to give the hosts a rather fortuitous scoreline. 

Still Spurs should have enough to get past the side based on the River Main. 

Sporting v Marseille

Sporting can get quick revenge for last week’s 4-1 defeat to Marseille with a win in Lisbon. 

Sporting brushed aside Santa Clara 2-1 in the league on Saturday and they already have a solid win over Tottenham to their record in Europe. 

Another home win over Marseille will put Ruben Amorim’s team well on their way to qualification, having already won impressively in Frankfurt. 

Last week’s heavy defeat in France was largely due to the sending off of Antonio Adnan after just 23 minutes. Amorim’s side had taken the lead before the extra man told and OM ran out winners. 

That contest looked open and goals could well be free flowing again.

Key stats

  • Rangers’ Allan McGregor has made the most saves (20) in the CL in 2022
  • Rangers are yet to score in three Champions League games this season
  • Liverpool have scored at least two goals in 13 of their last 16 CL matches
  • Frankfurt have recovered more balls (169) than anyone in the CL this season
  • Frankfurt have scored just once from 37 attempts on goal in the CL
  • Spurs have not won in five games against German sides and have lost four of their last six at home

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