Liverpool made it back-to-back Champions League wins after a commanding 2-0 victory over Rangers, with Trent Alexander-Arnold scoring the pick of the goals.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been somewhat off the pace this season but soon took the lead at Anfield after an excellent Alexander-Arnold free-kick past Allan McGregor.
Mohamed Salah doubled the lead with a penalty after the interval, with the insipid Rangers thankful to McGregor for preventing Liverpool from inflicting further damage.
Victory kept the Reds a point behind Group A leaders Napoli, who thrashed Ajax in Tuesday’s other game, while Rangers remain bottom after yet another disappointing showing in Europe – the Scottish side conceding nine goals in three group stage matches thus far.
McGregor denied a fizzing Darwin Nunez effort after just two minutes, but the Rangers goalkeeper had no chance five minutes later when Alexander-Arnold expertly curled a free-kick into the top-left corner.
Salah saw his whipped attempt tipped away by McGregor, who then produced two smart saves in quick succession against Nunez as Liverpool dominated the first half.
Salah coolly converted a 53rd-minute penalty down the middle after Leon King felled Luis Diaz, while McGregor continued his fine individual performance by parrying over Diogo Jota’s ferocious shot minutes later.
Joel Matip headed narrowly wide from a glorious opportunity before Konstantinos Tsimikas cleared off the line after Rabbi Matondo slotted past Alisson in the closing stages, as Liverpool returned to winning ways after a 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend.
What does it mean? Reds stay on the tails of Napoli
Despite a 4-1 humbling at the in-form Napoli on matchday one, Liverpool remain within touching distance of Luciano Spalletti’s side at the halfway point in the Champions League group stage.
Ajax are just two points behind Jurgen Klopp’s side, but the Reds will feel confident of another victory to bolster their knockout credentials when they return to Rangers next week.
By contrast, Rangers are without a win or a goal in their first three games in Europe this season – a stark difference from their victorious run to the Europa League final last season.
Much has been made of Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capabilities, but the right-back quietened his critics with his inch-perfect opener; his sixth free-kick goal since the start of the 2016-17 season in all competitions.
No Liverpool player can match his tally in that period, while the strike made Alexander-Arnold the first Reds man to score from direct free-kick in the Champions League since Steven Gerrard against Basel in 2014.
Goal-shy Rangers’ problems continue
Rangers have won just of eight European away games in England across all competitions, with that sole victory coming in a 2-1 triumph over Leeds United in 1992.
The Scottish giants may have been beaten Europa League finalists last term, but they failed to score once again here, marking the first time Rangers have not found the net in their opening three Champions League group games.
Liverpool return to domestic action away at Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday, while Rangers host St. Mirren in the Scottish Premiership a day prior.