Steven Gerrard: Rangers' Europa League opponents Standard Liege will cope with coronavirus absences

Steven Gerrard says he has sympathy for Rangers’ Europa League opponents Standard Liege’s coronavirus troubles, but that his team is fully focused on beating them.

Liege will be without at least three players for Thursday’s Group D clash due to coronavirus, after Michel-Ange Balikwisha, Nicolas Raskin, Moussa Sissako and goalkeeping coach Jan Van Steenberghe tested positive ahead of the game at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

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Standard’s statement on Wednesday added that Damjan Pavlovic and Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba, who both tested negative, had also been withdrawn from the squad due to close contact with Sissako and could miss out pending new test results.

Gerrard has sympathy but insists his team are not here to nurse Standard back to health when they kick off their Europa League campaign.

He said: “We are coming up against a very good team, a big squad full of talented players. So I’m sure they will cope.

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“Obviously it’s not ideal from their point of view, but we are here to do a job. We are here to try to take maximum points.

“The team that we thought might have started might change in a couple of areas so we have to be ready to adapt to certain situations. We’re very focused on what we have to do.”

Rangers recorded a precious 2-0 win at Parkhead against Celtic in the Old Firm derby on Saturday and Gerrard accepts his players will face another tough challenge in Belgium, in which tactical awareness will be vital.

He said: “I think it would be a real big victory, but the players are going to have to work ever so hard to get that victory.

“Standard Liege are a good team with a good coach. They have a real aggressive way with how they press and a strong pedigree in Europe with a strong home record.

“We’re under no illusions this is going to be a real tough night but we come here in a good place.

“But we’re at a stage now where we’ve been together for a couple of years so the players should know what we’re trying to do in terms of our philosophy, how we play in and out of possession.”

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