Alexander-Arnold helps Liverpool beat Rangers 2-0 in UCL

Liverpool's Luis Diaz, centre, is fouled by Rangers' Leon King to win a penalty kick during the Champions League Group A soccer match between Liverpool and Rangers at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday Oct. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool created a slew of chances but needed two set pieces to beat Rangers 2-0 at Anfield in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The game between last season’s runners-up in England and Scotland was a one-sided contest that could have seen Jurgen Klopp’s team rack up a much greater margin of victory.

It was only Rangers’ veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor who kept the score respectable, repeatedly keeping Liverpool at bay.

The 40-year-old engaged in a personal dual with Darwin Nunez in the first half – and after the break produced a spectacular fingertip save to push away a goal-bound effort from Diogo Jota.

But he couldn’t prevent Trent Alexander-Arnold from scoring with a perfectly struck free kick after just seven minutes and Mo Salah netting from the penalty spot early in the second half.

There were no signs of the issues that have seen Liverpool struggle in the early weeks of the season — but that was in the face of meager opposition in Rangers.

The Glasgow club looked out of its depth from the opening moments as Liverpool completely dominated the ball and the chances.

McGregor was called into action after just three minutes to stop an effort from Nunez. That would become a theme of the first half.

Liverpool was ahead shortly after when Alexander-Arnold lined up a free kick just outside the box. With Salah also lurking, McGregor faced a double threat.

It was Alexander-Arnold who assumed responsibility and curled a perfect shot into the top corner to spark wild celebrations inside Anfield.

The only surprise by halftime was the fact Liverpool failed to add to its lead – largely because of McGregor.

If Rangers head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst hoped for a reaction after the interval, it did not come.

Salah killed off any chance of an unlikely fightback with his 53rd-minute penalty after Leon King brought down Luis Diaz in the box.

Rangers did mount a late charge, with Rabbi Matondo’s shot cleared off the line by Kostas Tsimikas and Antonio Colak forcing a save from Alisson from close range.

Victory leaves Liverpool three points behind Napoli at the top of Group A, who beat Ajax 6-1.