Rangers face off against French giants Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday night in their opening group stage match of the 2021/22 campaign.
The Gers qualified for the group stages after beating Alashkert in the play-off round, having been knocked out of the early stages of Champions League qualification.
Steven Gerrard will now be hoping that his side can go far in the Europa League to make up for their Champions League failure, starting with a win against Lyon.
They head into the clash off the back of a 2-1 win in the Scottish Premiership. How many changes will Gerrard make to his team from that game? Here is our predicted XI for the match…
We are predicting that Gerrard will make three changes to his XI, with Connor Goldson, John Lundstram and Borna Barisic coming into the team.
Starting at the back, Goldson coming in for Filip Helander is a relatively easy prediction to make. The Swedish centre-back has been ruled out for the foreseeable future after suffering a knee injury against St Johnstone, with Goldson set to return after missing out due to self-isolation over the weekend.
Earlier this year, Goldson was called a ‘mountain’ by Gerrard for his strong performances on the pitch. He told The Scotsman:
“Connor has been an absolute mountain for this team, a warrior.
“I can’t describe to you how well he has done for this team, not just in terms of what you have seen on the pitch but also his leadership on the inside of the club and his availability every single day.”
This highlights his importance to the side when fit and why, with Helander out, he should return to the starting XI immediately.
We published an article on Wednesday explaining why Borna Barisic should come in at left-back ahead of Calvin Bassey. The Croatian international could add more creativity to the side on the left flank, helping the Gers open up the Lyon defence.
Finally, we are predicting a slight change to the make-up of the midfield with Lundstram coming into the team in place of Joe Aribo. With Scottish Premiership matches coming thick and fast, Gerrard could need to rotate his squad to ensure that players do not suffer any muscle injuries due to being overloaded with minutes, so Aribo could be chosen to step out for this match.
He has started all five of Rangers’ league matches this term and averaged 84 minutes per game, which suggests that he could do with a rest as he has been an almost ever-present. Lundstram, meanwhile, has only started once this season and this clash with Lyon could be the perfect opportunity for him to come in and show Gerrard what he is capable of.
We are predicting the rest of the team will stay the same from the win over St Johnstone, with Jon McLaughlin, James Tavernier, Leon Balogun, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Ryan Kent filling out the XI.