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Rangers predicted XI v Benfica: Steven Gerrard brings back £3m man, 27-year-old drops out

Benfica  v Rangers: Group D - UEFA Europa League
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Rangers

Rangers predicted XI v Benfica: Steven Gerrard brings back £3m man, 27-year-old drops out

Glasgow Rangers will hope to take a step closer to qualification from the Europa League group stage on Thursday night, with Steven Gerrard’s charges in Ibrox action.

The Light Blues, currently top of Group D, host Benfica, who are second in the standings but level on points.

Rangers remain unbeaten after 22 matches of the 2020-21 campaign, while their opponents have lost their last two league games, conceding six goals in the process.

Rangers v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’ll be a tricky game for the Gers but, given the momentum they’ve built up and their especially impressive record at Ibrox, they’ll fancy their chances of getting a good result.

So, who could Gerrard pick in the Rangers starting XI for the big game?

Allan McGregor is a shoo-in in goal – keeping nine clean sheets in 12 competitive games and conceding just five is stellar form and there’s no reason to change things around.

In defence, we predict Gerrard will give Filip Helander a chance to redeem himself against Benfica following his poor display against them last time out.

 

Although the £3million man isn’t blessed with particularly great pace, the dangerous – and quick – Darwin Nunez won’t be available this time round.

Elsewhere in the back four, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson and Borna Barisic should keep their places.

The midfield serves a bit of a dilemma, given Ryan Jack is a big doubt for the game after picking up a knock against Aberdeen.

That said, Rangers’ strength in depth means the 28-year-old can be adequately replaced – we predict a midfield three of Scott Arfield, Steven Davis and Glen Kamara.

Up front, Alfredo Morelos could keep his place, despite his frustrated reaction to being substituted last time out, as Gerrard confirmed on Wednesday that he’s “ready to go again tomorrow”.

Ryan Kent is a shoo-in on the left-hand side, while the other flank is more flexible – we reckon Joe Aribo will be pushed up into that position, with Kemar Roofe dropping to the bench.

The 27-year-old has done well and him losing his place in the XI is by no means a bad thing – it’s just a sign of how much quality Gerrard has that he can rotate his players around.

Rangers predicted XI v Benfica (4-3-3): McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Arfield, Davis, Kamara; Aribo, Morelos, Kent

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