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Every Gio van Bronckhorst word from his Rangers press conference as boss is now a believer ahead of Liverpool clash

Gio van Bronckhorst says he fully believes Rangers can upset Liverpool on Tuesday night and make waves by qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.

The Dutchman has taken his team to Merseyside as they get set for a massive Battle of Britain with Jurgen Klopp 's heavyweights. The Premier League giants are struggling for form, but they carry massive European pedigree having made three of the last five finals - famously winning it in 2019.

Rangers meanwhile are back at the top table after a long absence but after admitting his doubts in his players could compete at this level after their hammering against Ajax, Van Bronckhorst insists they have their mojo back now and fully believe they can pull off an Anfield shocker come Wednesday night. The Dutchman was in bullish mood and here is every word of his press conference at Anfield...

Rangers boss Gio van Bronckhorst (SNS Group)

Klopp said he expects Rangers to come out fighting after two defeats…is he right?

“Of course. We lost our first games and it means we don’t have any points. We know the challenge we face tomorrow against a really, really good side. We want to have results and that’s what we have to do. Of course we have to look at ourselves but we are going to come here to have a good result, that is our intention and it always has to be.”

Many tough ones over the years but where does this tie rank in terms of difficulty?

“It is going to be very difficult. It is a team who perform really well in the Premier League, they were in three finals in the last five years. I think they are still one of the best teams in Europe. If you look at all the opponents we faced last season in Europe and also this season this is probably the strongest side.”

Injuries?

“We have the same players available as Saturday. We lose James Sands because of suspension but otherwise we have the same players available.”

(Tom Lawrence's) recovery went on schedule but Tom sustained a new injury unfortunately this week. We have to wait to see how long he will be out but I think it is going to be longer term.

"Probably more months than weeks. We are still diagnosing his injury but I don’t think we will have him back before the World Cup. He is training."

Colak or Morelos, tough choice?

“The decision is not difficult because you always look at the opponent and how you want to play and what kind of game we expect it to be, and then we choose the best option. It’s good because both are in a really position at the moment. Antonio has scored a lot of goals in the league and Morelos when he came in also. They are two different kinds of strikers but we will always look at the game ahead.”

Is this the type of game that can bring out the best in your players?

“Of course. It is a huge podium for us to perform, not only for the club but for the players. It is against a quality side. It is many years since there has been a Scottish team playing against an English team and it’s the first time we have faced each other in our histories. These are all good things to look forward to. We are excited to be here and to look forward to getting a good result.”

Are there things you have seen in Liverpool that you think you can exploit?

“There are always things to exploit. Any team has those areas you can exploit. They didn’t have a good result last Saturday but we are still going to prepare for a Liverpool team that is really good. They have all the strengths they need to perform at this level. Form says nothing. They have quality players, a good team, a fantastic coach, we are preparing for the best Liverpool we can face.”

On Virgil van Dijk

"I love Virgil. You see his career and the way he has developed as a player, he has always taken the next step in his career. He should be very proud of the way he performed for all his teams and also for the national team.

"He is the captain of the team and he is a true leader. For him to be going to be going to the World Cup in November will be a proud moment for him as captain. I had that feeling as well going to the World Cup in 2010.

"I am really happy for him in his development and hopefully tomorrow he will have a good game. Nothing but praise for him, the way he plays, the way he acts as a leader for both country and club. He is a great example.

"Everyone can have a bad game or a bad spell. The backup he gets from his coach is amazing. You always go through those moments, I had the same feeling as a player when we as a team, in the moments, were underperforming.

"In those moments you have to work hard and feel the backup of your coach and our role as manager in those moments is to keep them motivated and keep trusting them."

Stage for Ryan Kent to show what he’s made of?

“Well, for everyone. Obviously we’re really proud that w’re back in the Champions League. It means we’re going to face really good opposition and players. Of course there’s a motivation to perform on this level, not only for Ryan but my whole team and me as a coach as well."

Pressure on Liverpool?

“They play at home and of course when you play at home, the first result was a bad result for them. They won against Ajax but I think the pressure is always on both teams.

“They’re used to performing at this level. For us it’s a huge step from the last couple of years on the we had to perform at in Europe. But we embrace the challenge.

“Of course the pressure is also on us. We want to still be involved in Europe after the World Cup break. That means you usually have points to go through but it’s a hard place to come. Still, we believe there’s something possible but we’re going to face a huge challenge."

McGregor No.1?

“I don’t like to talk about No.1 and No.2. I didn’t do that with Jon at the start of the season when Jon was starting. Jon started the season but the performances Allan had in the last couple of games were really good so he will continue in goal.

“Of course I had to inform both players which I did last week. We all have one thing in mind, which is to be successful for this club and the decision is for me to make and not players to accept.

Encouragement from Brighton?

“Of course you will look at the opponents they faced and the way they played. They have conceded more goals than they normally do and they had a result that could have been better only last Saturday. But they will come out to pressure us and to win this game.

“For them it’s also an opportunity to change things round. We’ve got to prepare the team as if we’re playing the strongest team that there can be.

How much more needed from Napoli?

“The performance we had against Napoli was a lot better than we had against Ajax in Amsterdam. We competed really well until the red card, which then made it really difficult for us to keep the clean sheet and going forward was much more difficult.

“In Europe against the opponents we face, you have to be on top form, individually and as a team, to face the challenge you face every game in the Champions League.

No one knows what to expect from either team

"Well, it’s a good game then…’ (laughing). The game could go all the way!"

"It’s the beauty of football. Of course we didn’t start well in Europe, but the last two results we had in the league were very positive for us.

"For Liverpool it was a result they didn’t want on Saturday, but still it’s a great side. Sometimes it’s the beauty of the game when you don’t know what to expect. But form is also temporary and can change in one game.

"We have to be prepared. If the form of Liverpool changes tomorrow we have to be prepared."

Need to convince your players they can do this psychologically?

"We always have the belief, it all starts with belief. If you don’t have any belief when you go on the pitch you are going to face an impossible challenge.

"That’s the character we have to show. It’s also the character we have shown in the past and we have to have the same spirit and belief to get something out of the game. That’s where it starts – before you enter the pitch.

"You have to be ready mentally as well, because it is a very hard ground to come to. We have to be prepared tactically for the challenge we face against Liverpool but also for the atmosphere we are going to face tomorrow."

How much do players just have to enjoy the occasion?

"It’s important. There are many positives to take out of this year’s campaign in the Champions League. It has been a lot of years since we performed on this level.

"Of course there was history of the last 10 years when when had to get up to the highest level in Scotland from the bottom leagues. In Europe we are improving each year and playing in the Champions League and Europa League final last year was a great achievement for all of us. We are all proud to be at this stage and to play against the team we are facing.

"Then again, if you are playing at the top level in Europe you want to win games as well. That’s our focus."

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