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Rangers can soften Barisic blow in unorthodox fashion

Rangers suffered an injury blow against Braga last week with Borna Barisic being brought off.

The Croatian then missed the Gers’ 2-2 draw with St Johnstone at the weekend with Steven Gerrard going on to confirm that he could also sit out Wednesday’s second leg clash in Portugal.

The former Liverpool boss hoped it wouldn’t be a long-term issue, but there doesn’t appear to be a clear return date for the defender.

On the chalkboard

Andy Halliday featured at left-back on Sunday afternoon but he didn’t have the easiest of afternoons as Rangers conceded twice.

He was dragged off at half-time with Gerrard clearly unhappy with his display. During Halliday’s time on the pitch, he attempted four crosses in the final third but none of them came to anything productive.

A lack of attacking nouse was in evidence from the 28-year-old who didn’t come close to assisting a goal – something Barisic has been able to do on a regular basis this term.

From 34 matches, he’s assisted 14 strikes for his teammates. His influence, therefore, is substantial. Compare that to Halliday and he’s only set up one goal all campaign.

The solution

With an attacking full-back missing on Sunday, Gerrard would be wise to choose a relatively unorthodox solution to his problems.

That could fall at the feet of Joe Aribo, a man who has thrived in recent matches. The midfielder has two goals in two matches now, following up his superb solo effort against Braga with another strike versus St Johnstone.

His goal at the weekend came from a holding role but the £1.1m-rated midfielder actually appeared at left-back for a portion last Thursday.

Earning a match rating of 7 from Daily Record journalist Scott McDermott, he initially came on for Glen Kamara before moving to the left of defence when Barisic went off injured.

Who should play LB?

Aribo

Aribo

Halliday

Halliday

Dealing with the tricky customer of Trincao, a man who will join Barcelona next summer, he didn’t seem overawed.

Rangers will need to protect a one-goal lead on Wednesday evening but they’ll also need someone adept going forward.

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In 34 minutes on the pitch last week, Aribo won three ground duels, completed two dribbles and also performed one accurate cross, via SofaScore.

That all-round game is something Gerrard can definitely use to soften the blow of losing Barisic – it has already paid off once.

In other news, some Rangers fans think it’s time to SELL their liability performer…

Article title: Rangers can soften Barisic blow in unorthodox fashion

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