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Chelsea 2 Liverpool 0 (Mar 3 2020)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

All that good work from the kids to get us this far, only for it end like this? With a fucking whimper. This was a chance to get back on track and prevent a wobble becoming a slump. After this? Yeah now it’s a slump.

 

There’s a danger of over-reacting and I’m very conscious of that. It wasn’t our strongest eleven and Chelsea away is always tough. The first half performance was alright other than some pitiful finishing. So all of that comes into play. But that second half was so fucking shambolic that it’s hard not to be concerned about just what the fuck has happened to us recently.

 

If it was just Origi being shite, Lallana being off the pace and Minamino completely vanishing in the second half there’d be nothing to worry about. It wasn’t just that though. The key players are the biggest worry. This was a chance for some of them to put Watford out of their system, but instead they’ve just added to the sense of unease.

 

Fabinho was dogshit. Robbo wasn’t much better. Mané cut a frustrated, irritated figure all night and I thought he was going to get sent off after the final whistle when he lost his shit with the snide that is Azpilacueta. Even Van Dijk’s standards have plummeted. He was so fucking casual he may as well have taken to the field with a dressing gown and a pipe, while Gomez was worse than all of them. Maybe they’re all still unsettled by Lovren on Saturday?

 

I’m glad Lovren was nowhere to be seen this time because now people have to look at what the real problem is; it’s not one player, it’s all of them. And I mean, ALL of them. Nobody is playing well right now. Not one of them and I defy anyone to tell me I’m wrong.

 

 

This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article

 

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The midfield vulnerability over  the last few games Is not just that we're missing Henderson but we rely on Gini too and he's looked goosed. Fab is great at mopping up generally but his lack of acceleration is exposed when we lose the ball and attackers get past the midfielders who are supposed to be shielding the advanced full backs.  

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Pretty much captures my feelings. Not arsed too much that we're out of the cup, I've only really got eyes for the league. But I am arsed about losing to that lot and in that manner. People talking about the treble a few weeks ago, when we were just at the 5th round of the cup, at Chelsea, and last 16 of the CL, against Atletico - that was just barmy.

Everything about last night was shit. I thought we were the better team, probably up until Barkley scored, especially first half when we played some nice stuff. But it felt from the moment Adrian let in that goal it wasn't going to be our night. We missed a good few clear chances, made more and more mistakes at the back, every mis-cued or hacked clearance seemed to land at their feet and set up a counter. And the ref, jeez. He didn't affect the outcome, but he certainly didn't help us establish any momentum or give us the free kicks we should have had. Mane got man-handled and kicked throughout, Rudiger, Alonso and that horrible little cunt Azpilicueta taking turns.

Even the BBC coverage was shit (not just the commentary - I turned that off) but the camers kept missing bits of play.

It felt like Klopp was caught in between two stools and went stronger than he intended .... but not strong enough. He shoe-horned  people into the wrong positions - agree totally with Dave re Origi. And Curtis has been outstanding for the u23s as the left-hand side of the front three. 

 

Need to put this right, starting Saturday.

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Personally I'd have still given Adrian star man. Obviously he made a mistake for the first goal, but it was the only mistake he made all night; if the rest of them had only made one mistake, we would probably have won the match.

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Hendo has been rightly lauded, particularly so this season but he's as capable as anyone of putting in a humdrum performance, especially if others are too. If VVD can, anyone can. 

 

I too don't get the Origi left wing thing. Not sure I ever saw him put in a performance there. 

 

And HELP. We signed Minamino and all of us went berserk. "£5m a snip" and all that. Where's that guy who tore us to shreds last season?

 

I truly hope Klopp's more on top of this than it appears. Quite apart from our poor form most of this year, I can't believe Critchley has gone. Big that. Hopefully the myriad people more knowledgeable than I will put me straight on the background to that, if nothing else. 

 

 

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Origi left instead of centre, Minamino centre instead of left. 

Nobody who can put a corner past the front man, especially Milner who then got a yellow for chasing Pedro after his corner led to a Chelsea breakaway. Mind if every team is allowed to grapple Virgil at every corner with impunity that's almost irrelevant.

And Jenas is a complete twat, thought Alan Smith was bad but strewth

 

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I turned off at half time, as I had a bad feeling, it was like watching the Liverpool of old.  I am worried about the Atletico Madrid game as we seem to have lost all momentum, and we need to sort it out quick.  Just glad to be back at Anfield, and hopefully that will make all the difference.  I don't want our season to end on a whimper and we just limp over the line.  If we go out of the Champions League, I will be gutted.

 

Let's hope this is just a small blip, and they can turn it around on Saturday, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is more of the same.  Could we not just have a easy 4-0 win just to calm the nerves, is that too much to ask for?

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Hope to god we are back firing when we play them at home later in the season when they're desperate for Champions League points.

Obviously would have been great to have won the cup but the domestic knock-outs are tailor made for City's multi million pound A B or C team .

We need a win Saturday and normally I'd be made up it's Bournemouth but I remember these grabbing a 2-2 at home when were closing in on the top four so it's not a gimme.

Having a slump was always on the cards after the 18 plus months we've had but I honestly think being so far ahead in the league and with every fucker with an opinion saying "the league is done and dusted" (even last night the commentator said it a few times)  has to eventually have an effect leading to complacency.

And unlike last season when we had to go full throttle all the time to the end this season this proves you can't just turn form off and on as lately apart from Leicester away, Sheff Utd home and maybe Southampton second half also at home we haven't been great 

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I thught first half we looked decent and if we'd taken one of the chances we made it might have been a very different game. For a while now we've been bemoaning missing chances, relying on clean sheets and an impenetrable defence. It was said it would come back to bite us and it has. We haven't scored in 3 of our last 4. First half it looked like we were about to break through but that second half was just more of the same shite we've seen recently. It is a bit of a slump, don't think you can attribute to any one player missing or playing, all teams have these as the season is long. We do need to beat Bournemouth though and it would be nice for a comfortbable 4-0 to get us back on track. It will probably be closer than that though as they are fighting for their place in the league. Perhaps the game that could really get us going again is the Atletico one, needing a big win on a loud and raucous European night.

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In a way, if teams have figured out how to play against us a bit, I'd rather it was now, when Klopp sees it and can evolve the squad in the summer to counter it, than the start of next season when we've not signed the players we need 

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A match report of two halves.

I agreed with the later paragraphs. I’m guessing the first half of it was written straight after the match ?! And the rest after you had calmed down? A good read as ever.

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6 hours ago, rb14 said:

And HELP. We signed Minamino and all of us went berserk. "£5m a snip" and all that. Where's that guy who tore us to shreds last season?


That was this season. 
 

I don’t watch the 23’s so haven’t seen as much of Curtis Jones as some of you but on the evidence of last night he’s definitely not capable of playing as one of the 3 midfielders in this system. Someone else said he’s been tearing it up on the left of a front three?

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What's this shite? I'm not paying good money to read reports about defeats. That's twice in a week now you've done this. Up your game, Usher!

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The problem as I see it - and shoot me down if I'm wrong - is just that there aren't enough moustaches in the squad. There's no problem in football that can't be solved with a good, solid moustache. 

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11 hours ago, bigal said:

Origi left instead of centre, Minamino centre instead of left..

 

Agree with this. Minamino proper tore into us coming in off the left flank for RB Leipzig. He's just looked lost against the grock centre-halves he's been faced with playing centre-forward. 

 

Two home ties, one a Big European Night with a score to settle and a full-throated Anfield should be just he tonic. 

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Origi playing from the left is the single most annoying decision consistently taken. I see people slag Origi off for being shite but in the last couple games when he started at centre forward this season, he scored twice vs Arsenal and twice vs Everton.

 

Center forward is Origi's best position. Klopp really has to ditch this experiment of playing him on the left. He is always absolutely woeful there as Dave correctly pointed out.

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On 04/03/2020 at 12:06, DaveT said:

Even the BBC coverage was shit (not just the commentary - I turned that off) but the camers kept missing bits of play.

They almost missed the first goal

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23 hours ago, bigal said:

And Jenas is a complete twat, thought Alan Smith was bad but strewth

You may be right about Jenas - but he's not a "Baked Bean headed tit"

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Great report as usual, Dave. I have always felt a bit uncomfortable but this champions of the world thing, invincible , records to break, five to go, four to go ect. We were missing the point. Maybe I’m not ambitious enough, but winning the league, only the league, is a massive achievement. We’ve been waiting that for so long.

 

And there is no crisis, we’re having a bad patch that may continue , but we’re lucky enough to have that big gap in the league to keep perspective. And City will loose points.

 

One game at once.

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    • Article from The Athletic. 
        Martina Cox - “Seán and Jürgen started to hug and neither would let go!”   She was in the kitchen when the call came. The television was on in the next room. Liverpool were playing and the Champions League anthem was blaring out. It was just a regular scene, a normal evening for a normal family. But then the phone rang and everything changed so quickly. Anyone who has heard Sean Cox’s name knows what happened to him that day and the 17 seconds of brutal, indiscriminate violence that changed his life forever. That morning, however, he had just been an ordinary Liverpool fan on his way to a game of football. He had risen while it was still dark to catch the “red-eye” flight from Dublin. He had an overnight bag on his back. He leant over to give his wife, Martina, a kiss goodbye and said he would get in touch later. Then he quietly closed their bedroom door and let her go back to sleep. Martina was a buyer for Dunnes Stores and most of her day was spent talking about Santa pyjamas, Rudolph baby grows and little red velvet dresses. It might have been April but, in retail, that was not too early to start planning for Christmas shopping. Sean had texted her to say his plane had landed safely. He sent another message later in the day to say he was having some food and getting ready for the game. And then there was the call that turned her life upside down. The voice on the other end of the line was telling Martina that something had happened and Sean was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. She could hear the words, she just couldn’t make sense of them. Then, as fear and confusion took over, it was a case of trying to get all the facts and hold it together in front of the children. “I still remember where everyone was in the house,” Martina says. “Jack was watching the Liverpool match. Shauna was upstairs studying and Emma, our other daughter, was out dancing. I was in the kitchen. It was a nice evening. I should have gone out for a run but for some reason, I’d decided against running. I don’t know why — it was like something inside me had told me to stay where I was. Then there was that call, out of the blue, to say Sean had been hit on the head and was on his way to hospital.” A million different thoughts flashed through Martina’s mind before the phone rang again. The children came in. Emma arrived home. They tried to convince themselves it couldn’t be true. Someone must have got it wrong, they agreed. Not Sean. Not her husband, not their dad. Sean had been to Anfield loads of times before and never had any problems. Martina remembers the house filling up. Family, friends, neighbours. Everyone was hearing the same thing. Martina was panicking on the inside while doing everything she could to stay calm on the outside. If it was true, she decided, Sean would be in touch soon, to let her know how he was doing. Maybe it was true and he had taken a bang to the head. Maybe he needed an ice pack or, at worst, a few stitches. She recalls a scene of utter confusion. “In my head, I was, ‘Even if someone has hit him over the head with a bottle, he will be OK’. I didn’t really get the sense of gravity from it. But that all came very quickly.” The first call had been from Aisling, her sister-in-law. The next time Martina’s phone rang, it was a voice she didn’t recognise. The voice introduced herself as a nurse from Aintree University Hospital and wanted to know if this was the right number for Sean Cox’s wife. The nurse said Sean had been attacked in the street. He had a bleed on the brain and was being transferred to a neurological hospital for emergency surgery. That was the moment all the panic and helplessness took over. Martina couldn’t speak at first. Then she was screaming. “Is he dead?” It’s special, Anfield, on European nights. People roll their eyes at that line sometimes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The banners come out, the volume goes up. It’s addictive if this is your club of choice. Sean, wearing a red and white Liverpool scarf, was there for his regular fix.
      (Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
      That night, however, had a sinister edge. April 24, 2018: Liverpool were playing Roma in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final and all sorts of rumours were flying about just before kick-off. Twitter was filled with stories of Italian “ultras” ambushing fans on Walton Breck Road, directly behind the Kop. Someone had put it out that there had been a stabbing. It wasn’t true — yet it was quickly becoming apparent that, whatever had happened, it was bad. For the journalists in the press box, there was the sight of Tony Barrett hurriedly making his way down the steps to one of the exits. Barrett is the head of Liverpool’s supporter engagement department. He is also a staunch Liverpool fan who watches every game from in front of the media seats. But that night, he never came back. One of the bigger matches of the season and his seat remained empty. In the directors’ box, there was more movement. Peter Moore, then Liverpool’s chief executive, had just taken his seat when he felt a tap on the shoulder. It was Andy Hughes, the chief operations officer, and the message was, “We need you in the operations centre.” That was enough to tell Moore it was serious. A video was circulating on social media. It showed a mob of Italians — dark clothing, faces covered, some swinging belts and chains – on the rampage. The entire attack lasted 17 seconds and left one of their victims on the floor. That was Sean. His brother, Marty, was crouching over him, to try to shield him from more blows. Marty took a kick for his troubles. He might also have saved Sean’s life. It has been two and a half years and Martina is speaking to The Athletic, via a Zoom call, from the house that has been “turned back to front” to accommodate Sean now he is in a wheelchair and needs round-the-clock care. She says she has never been able to watch the video footage. She knows it is out there, and probably always will be. But she will never click online to put herself through it. “I just got it into my head, even on the night it happened, that it was not something I ever wanted to see. I went to bed that night and didn’t sleep at all. I had all these thoughts going through my head. We hadn’t been able to get a flight because it was so late. But I was flying out first thing. I had to pack a case, yet I didn’t even know how long I was packing for. My kids just threw my clothes into a bag, really not knowing what was ahead of us. “Normally, I would go on my phone. But I just told myself, ‘No, don’t look’. I will never look at it, definitely not. I think Jack has seen the footage. I know it’s not very pleasant. It was bad enough having to see Sean in the Walton Centre directly after he was attacked. That was hard enough without seeing everything else.” The Walton Centre was the specialist unit where Sean was taken with what doctors described as a profound brain injury. Martina stayed in the Home-from-Home complex that is available for family members and has just brought out a book, With Hope In Your Heart, that is both a love story and a deeply moving, powerful account of how they have tried to piece their lives back together. The first part is called “Before”, because that is how they have had to shape their lives. “Before” tells the story of how Sean and Martina met, fell in love and started a family. Jack was 20 when his father was attacked. Shauna was 19 and Emma, 16, was still at school. “Before” means getting married, a honeymoon in Cyprus and I Want to Know What Love Is as a first dance. It means holidays to Portugal, where the couple planned to buy a house. It means golfing trips for Sean and his Friday night routine of two pints of Guinness in Slevin’s Bar. 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At the moment, it’s done over Zoom. He sets up the iPad. They sing songs and, in a lot of cases, Sean already knows the chorus, or if he knows the other words, he will just join in. They sing a lot. “He still has a sense of humour. We still have laughter. There’s absolutely no point having a doom-and-gloom show. He’s so much happier now he’s at home and we are trying to embrace it, trying to make the most of it. There’s no point looking back, there’s no point being sad. We won’t gain anything by it. “He’s back at home, he’s with us. That was always the goal. A lot of people… I wouldn’t say they gave up on him, but he has a profound brain injury and the recommendations were that maybe he should live at home some of the time and in a nursing home the rest of the time. “I was having none of it. From the very beginning. I wanted him to come home, properly. And we’ve done it. I guess we had to have that determination. I always had that. I was always, ‘Sean’s too young to be in a nursing home’. He’s only 55. He was 53 when it happened. It just wasn’t an option for us.” When Jurgen Klopp found out Martina was writing With Hope In Your Heart — a line taken from the club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone — the Liverpool manager agreed to write the foreword. Liverpool were determined to do everything they could for one of their own and Klopp’s words are a reminder of the bond that now exists between the club and the family. Sean Cox. In one way, I wish that I had never heard this name. If I hadn’t, it would mean that he had come to our match against AS Roma on the night of April 24, 2018, enjoyed a wonderful game and gone home safely to his family to tell them all the stories of an unforgettable occasion. Instead, Sean’s story has run parallel with the one that has taken Liverpool to Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019 and then their first league title for 30 years. He is, as Martina says, “part of the history of the club now, in an unfortunate way”. Martina says she is amazed by the kindness her family has been shown. There was the banner, created by the fans and paraded by the players as they celebrated reaching the final after the second leg in Rome, for “Sean Cox, You’ll Never Walk Alone”, with the same message written in Gaelic and Italian. A letter arrived from the Irish president Michael Higgins. Another came from Umberto Gandini, Roma’s chief executive at the time. But there were thousands of others, too. Sean’s story has touched so many people. The letters from schoolchildren with get-well messages, and in some cases their pocket money, touched Martina in particular.
      (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
      Then there was the game against Manchester City, 18 months after the attack, when Sean was able to go back to Anfield for the first time. “The moment we got out of the taxi and he saw the crowd and looked up the stadium, he had such a big smile on his face,” Martina says. “He was just so happy. Even though it was sad because he wasn’t able to walk, and he wasn’t in the place he normally would be, it was a lovely occasion. It was great that he’d been able to make it back. “You’ll Never Walk Alone started up and Sean was belting out the words. But the big moment for Sean was meeting Jurgen. It was like their eyes fixed on each other. Then they just started to hug one another and neither one would let go. “Jurgen said afterwards in his press conference, ‘He was happy to see me, I was just as happy to see him’. It was a lovely, lovely embrace. Liverpool really looked after us. All the players came over and gave Sean so much time; every one of them.” In his foreword to With Hope In Your Heart, Klopp talks about that meeting with Sean as “something that I feared may never happen”. He says he feels honoured to have encountered such an inspirational man and devoted family. I often get asked about leadership in football, but in ‘real life’ I can think of no greater example of what a leader is than Sean’s wife Martina. I cannot claim to know her well, but I have followed what she has done for her husband and her family and it has humbled me. To speak to Martina now is certainly to be reminded why Susan Keogh, the journalist who has helped her write the book, describes her as “a powerhouse of a woman”. Nor does Martina ever forget that Sean’s brother witnessed everything. “It’s something that is never going to leave Marty. That image of what happened, I can only imagine how awful that has been. It still, I would say, haunts him. He has learned to deal with it but it’s been hard for Marty because it was him who got them the tickets, so I suppose he felt responsible. But he wasn’t. It could easily have been Marty, not Sean, lying there. “It has had a huge impact on everybody. Me, the kids, Sean’s family, my family. Jack celebrated his 21st birthday at his dad’s bedside at the Walton Centre, not knowing whether he was going to pull through. We’d been planning a really nice family dinner out. Then, all of a sudden, we find ourselves in the Walton Centre. We were just grateful that Sean was still alive at that stage. “I just thank God we have the family that we do, because everyone has really rallied round. Sean was never short of visitors. I don’t think Sean ever had a day when he didn’t have a visitor in hospital. We always made sure there was someone there for him.” A rota system was established via the WhatsApp group Martina set up in the name of “Sean’s Recovery”. They took turns to sit at Sean’s bedside and talk to him about family stuff, world events or the latest football news. Even if he was unresponsive, they persevered. They played videos of his dogs, Roxy and Bruno. They played tapes of Liverpool songs and showed him football matches and golf tournaments. They trimmed his hair and eyebrows. They clipped his fingernails. They told him he would be home soon. Along the way, there have been several moments they will never forget. The first time he squeezed Martina’s hand was one. There was the time Emma asked him to identify the bossiest person in the room and he pointed at his wife (“he has always had a good sense of humour,” Martina says). There was the first day he went back to his redesigned house in Dunboyne, County Meath, after nearly two years in hospitals, rehabilitation units and nursing homes. There was the family meal when Emma, on her 18th birthday, asked if someone could pass the garlic bread and it was her father who reached over to get it for her. “It’s those little moments that, to some people, might mean, ‘So what?’ But they are big to us,” Martina says. The biggest, undoubtedly, was the first time Sean opened his eyes after four weeks in a coma. “We felt like we’d won the Lotto that day,” Martina says, and now she is smiling. “He opened his eyes for 35 minutes. Before that, the longest was a couple of seconds and I didn’t even see that one; it was Sean’s sister who saw it. This is what we had been waiting for all that time. It was amazing because, until that point, we’d had nothing really.” Back at home, it is probably a sign of the times that “virus” is one of the words Sean has picked up. The family have had to be particularly mindful about the risks of COVID-19 because of his vulnerability. But the lockdown did at least allow him to catch up on all the matches he missed. It has been therapeutic, watching his team running away with the Premier League. Martina will admit she previously had “absolutely zero interest” in football. She makes sure now that she knows when every Liverpool game is coming up. Often, she will watch them, too. “He’s making improvements all the time. The speech centre of his brain has been damaged and that’s not something that is just going to come back. But he’s understanding a lot more. His attention is a lot better. He’s taking in an awful lot more. It’s a slow and steady pace, but he can get words out. He can even get some of his own words out. So he’s definitely improving, even if it’s at a slow pace.” All the time, Liverpool have remained in touch. Friendships have formed. Martina, in turn, has learned so much about Liverpool that she never knew before. Kenny Dalglish being a god on Merseyside, for one. Dalglish visited the family in the Walton Centre when Sean’s condition was critical. Martina smiles again. “It was funny because the girl in the coffee shop nearly fell over running over to offer him a drink. She didn’t notice the rest of us. We were just left hanging. It’s funny how people react when they see him.”   If it is not sport on the television, it is usually reruns of Friends or other comedy shows. Sean has visited St Peters, the Gaelic football club in Dunboyne where he was chairman. Before the restrictions tightened again recently, he was going out with Martina for the occasional walk. One day, he hopes to return to Anfield again. “They say Liverpool is all about family,” Martina says. “I can see that now. I didn’t really understand the meaning of it before, but I do now. They are looking after him. I think Sean will always be remembered there. He will always be looked after. “It’s very lovely, very genuine. The new chief executive, Billy Hogan, has already been on to say, ‘We’re thinking of you, thinking of Sean’, and when things are settled Sean is more than welcome to go back. We will do it. Sean got such a kick out of that first game we will definitely be back.”
    • No sign of thiago in the photos today, or matip. If they don't train tomorrow, neither will be risked for Saturday surely. And does anyone know what the fuck happened to the ox? Supposed to be out for 6 weeks and he's dropped off the face of the earth 
    • Available on Amazon, but Bezos can do one, instead a more reputable book seller   https://www.waterstones.com/book/with-hope-in-your-heart/martina-cox/susan-keogh/9780717190102   Just ordered one for me
    • Damn, it would be easier if someone like Stig copied and pasted onto here, but he's a busy man by all accounts.
    • Morelos good header 1-0   Rangers been far from their best.
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