Rangers manager Steven Gerrard faces a selection dilemma in defence this evening with one of his mainstays likely to miss the Europa League Group G encounter away to Feyenoord.
The Daily Express reported that left-back Borna Barisic is a major doubt for the match at the De Kuip in Rotterdam after he shipped a few knocks from the opposition in last Sunday’s 3-1 win at Hamilton.
The Daily Express added that the Croatian will face a late fitness test to see if he can take his place in the team, while striker Jermain Defoe has definitely been ruled out due to a hamstring strain and has not travelled with the squad to Netherlands.
If he isn’t passed fit for tonight, it would leave Gerrard needing to manage without the only natural left-back in his senior squad, with either Jon Flanagan or Andy Halliday likeliest to deputise in the role if needed.
Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate Flanagan, a right-back for most of his career, played on the left in some of the early season Premiership games and Europa League qualifiers, making six appearances on that side this term. However, the 26-year-old has yet to feature for the ‘Gers in the Europa League group stage. [via TransferMarkt]
Defensive midfielder Halliday took up a left-back position in some of the earlier Europa League qualifiers against St Joseph’s and Progres Niederkorn, along with the Betfred Cup win over East Fife and September’s Premiership win over Livingston. [via TransferMarkt]
Like Flanagan, though, he has not featured in the Europa League group games and didn’t even make the squad for the double header against Porto. [via TransferMarkt]
While Gerrard at least has a couple of options with relatively recent experience of filling in at left-back, Barisic would be a major loss to the team if he doesn’t make it for this evening’s clash.
He has been Rangers’ leading assists provider in the group stage, setting up three of their five goals, while also having the joint-most key passes per game (2.5) in the squad and the most crosses per game with 2.3. He has an impressive eight assists in all competitions.
With neither Flanagan or Halliday providing an assist so far this season and Barisic supplying eight, whoever gets the nod to stand in for the Croatian (if he is ruled out) has a sizeable vacancy to fill.
Rangers fans, how big a miss would Barisic be if he doesn’t make it for the Feyenoord game? If he is ruled out, would you pick Flanagan or Halliday to come in at left-back? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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