Predicted Rangers starting XI v Livingston
Rangers could make wholesale changes to their side for the visit of Livingston to Ibrox in the League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.
Steven Gerrard’s side suffered disappointment on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Motherwell in the Premiership, but they have an immediate chance to amend their Ibrox woes.
The Gers will be desperate to put on a show in front of their fans on Wednesday after a recent barren run in the cup competitions, with Gerrard unsuccessful in nine attempts across the various tournaments since his 2018 appointment.
As such, he may feel conflicted as to the strength of the team he puts out against Livi.
The priority will always be the league, while next week’s Europa League trip to Sparta Prague takes on greater importance after their 2-0 humbling at the hands of Lyon last Thursday.
But Gerrard will want to finally make his mark in the domestic cup competition, and establish the Gers as a force to be reckoned with, making them dominant in Scotland.
Therefore, the starting XI on Wednesday is likely to be made up of senior players, though some are likely to be on the fringe of first-team action.
The vastly experienced Jon McLaughlin should get the nod in goal for his fifth appearance of the season, while Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun could also come in.
Patterson has missed the last few games with an ankle injury but, according to assistant manager Gary McAllister [via the official Rangers Twitter], he trained on Tuesday and “looked sharp”.
Connor Goldson is likely to be the only defender from Sunday to keep his place in the side, with Gerrard loathe to ever rest his defensive lynchpin.
Similarly, the Gers boss may look to keep Steven Davis in midfield, despite the 36-year-old starting the last three games. He came off after 58 minutes against Lyon, and the 80th minute on Sunday, so he may be asked to produce an hour at Ibrox before making way to rest him for the next games.
Scott Arfield was Davis’ replacement on Sunday and should get a start here, while John Lundstram will be refreshed after remaining on the bench against Motherwell.
Gerrard has options in attack, with Alfredo Morelos only a late substitute on the weekend.
He may get a surprise domestic cup start here, while Juninho Bacuna looks likely to make his full debut after Gerrard said he looks “ready” [The Scotsman].
Ianis Hagi is now back in training and looking “sharp”, as remarked by McAllister, but given the fact he has not played for Rangers since August 26, a bench role could be in the offing.
That should hand Fashion Sakala the opportunity to build some momentum after he started and scored against Motherwell on Sunday.
All in all, we expect Gerrard to make eight changes from the weekend, with McGregor, James Tavernier, Jack Simpson, Borna Barisic, Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Scott Wright and Kemar Roofe all dropping out.
In other Rangers news, Jim White read out a Rod Stewart text live-on-air as singer issued an Ibrox declaration.