Rangers face Standard Liege in the Europa League at Ibrox on Thursday, knowing that a win will see them progress to the knockout stages.
In the reverse fixture, Rangers won 2-0, with a James Tavernier penalty and a Kemar Roofe wondergoal seeing them past the Belgian side.
On that occasion they were clearly the better side, taking 12 shots to Standard’s four, and enjoying over 50% possession (via WhoScored).
Since then, the Gers have only grown stronger and should have beaten Benfica in both ties, but fell short to late defensive collapses. These issues were very uncharacteristic for this current Rangers side, but they were playing a team with plenty of quality and European experience.
Against Standard though, Rangers are clear favourites and Steven Gerrard should take the opportunity to mix things up and test some of his squad players at the Europa League level. With Ryan Jack and Filip Helander ruled out once again (via Daily Record), he should look at offering Calvin Bassey and Bongani Zungu the chance to impress, rather than going with another experienced lineup.
This current side has enough quality to incorporate a few minor changes, while both proved against Falkirk that they deserve an opportunity. Gerrard is not yet settled on the best centre-back partner for Connor Goldson and Bassey showed some promising signs in the role. Leon Balogun and Helander are ahead of him in the pecking order, but this seems like a good night to see what he can do.
In midfield, Gerrard knows what he can get from Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Glen Kamara and all three have been excellent in Europe this season. But Zungu has played just over 100 minutes for the club since his arrival in October.
In his short amount of time on the pitch, he has looked comfortable on the ball and capable of distributing at short and long-range. Put in a midfield alongside two of Joe Aribo, Arfield, Davis and Kamara, Rangers will still be a high-quality and competitive side, more than capable of beating Standard.
While they know that this game can seal progression, that does not mean Gerrard should stop rotating and investigating what he has in this squad. Whether Bassey and Zungu can thrive in this team at the European level remains unknown, and the boss should take the chance to find out.
In other Rangers news, Ferguson claims current Gers player is ‘best I have played with’