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Rangers: Connor Goldson their only shining light in Europe

When Glasgow Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield swept home inside the first half yesterday night, Ibrox was bouncing.

It was a throwback to last year’s run to the Europa League final when the volume inside Rangers’ stadium was turned up to max.

It was the club’s first goal in Europe’s premier competition for over a decade and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s men began to dream.

Unfortunately, they were playing a Liverpool side with a point to prove.

Even without the likes of Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz, Jurgen Klopp’s men more than had enough might to fend off the Gers.

That said, the game would change in the dying stages of that first period.

Roberto Firmino found the net after a corner into the box and then Connor Goldson was taken off through injury.

His absence at the back during the second 45 minutes proved to be game-changing for the Scottish side with Liverpool going on to win 7-1.

Firmino would find the net twice but Mo Salah’s introduction made it a rout. A six-minute hat-trick for the Egyptian sensation meant he had scored the fastest three goals in one game in Champions League history.

Rangers were watching records tumble before their eyes but it could have been different had Goldson stayed on the pitch.

Indeed, the English centre-back was a rock in the first half, sniffing out Liverpool attacks on his way to being described as a “colossus” by the Athletic’s Jordan Campbell.

He foresaw what would happen without the defender on the pitch, saying: “Huge blow for Rangers as Goldson limps off. He had been a colossus so far against Nunez. The applause as he goes off very telling. Can’t remember him being injured in his four years here.”

His injury meant Nunez would eventually score as the hosts crumbled amid a constant barrage of pressure from the Anfield outfit.

With Goldson on the pitch, Rangers were well in the game, something that was aided by the imperious centre-half winning 100% of his defensive duels in the game.

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Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard reacts after the match

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The 29-year-old took 42 touches during his time on the pitch, demonstrating an immense reading of the game with two interceptions.

Evidently the key man for Van Bronckhorst, his titanic display meant that remarkably, it could have been worse for Rangers on the night.

Goldson kept things respectable but his withdrawal ultimately cost them after a famous result had initially looked on the cards.

Article title: Rangers: Connor Goldson their only shining light in Europe

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