Rio Ferdinand was less than impressed by the performance of Ryan Kent after the Rangers winger found himself the subject of strong criticism following their 2-0 defeat at Liverpool in the Champions League.
Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah in either half handed Jurgen Klopp’s side the points. But in truth they should have won by a much bigger margin with only an exceptional display from Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal keeping them at bay.
The Scottish giants, by contrast, rarely threatened the Liverpool goal until the closing stages. That was after a couple of late substitutions gave them some late thrust and forced the Reds on to the backfoot.
However, anything but a win would have been harsh on Liverpool, with Rangers needing to show much more in the return clash at Ibrox.
One man who failed to produce on the night was Kent. The former Liverpool winger was making his first return to Anfield and will have been keen to show them what they are missing.
Kent has been strongly linked with Leeds in recent years. Indeed, previous manager Marcelo Bielsa was understood to be an enormous fan. But with his deal currently due to expire at the end of the season, both Leeds and Aston Villa are reportedly weighing up new approaches.
To that end, he looks like he will be available for a bargain fee in January. And Leeds will have been keen to see what he can do on the big stage at Anfield.
However, despite being pitched against the defensively-weak Alexander-Arnold, Kent – aside from one smart turn in the first half – failed to impose his game.
Rio Ferdinand left unimpressed by Ryan Kent
Assessing his performance at full-time, BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand revealed his disappointment at his display.
“It’s details in these big games, and the difference in details and take the opportunities that arise,” he said. “You have got to go for the jugular. When you get a chance, and are set up to get Ryan Kent one on one, you have got to take that with both hands.
“He (Ryan Kent) will probably look back at that (second half) and think that was a chance for me to go and do it. And to be fair the two wingers who came on (Rabbi Matondo and Fashion Sakala) showed a different energy. If they had started like that they maybe would have given them a better opportunity.”
His fellow pundit Kris Boyd agreed with him.
“That was the difference (Ryan Kent not taking on Trent Alexander-Arnold). It was a similar position that Diaz was in (for the penalty). Kent and Trent Alexander-Arnold, he takes it and crosses it straight out the pitch. Luis Diaz got it, twisted and turned and Leon King dangles out a leg for a penalty kick.”
Ally McCoist also reckons Kent missed a big opportunity at Anfield.
“It was interesting as the game development. Ryan Kent in the second half got himself in a wide position and got a one vs one on Trent Alexander-Arnold. I am thinking take him on, anything can happen. He didn’t do that, two minutes later and the ball is up the park and Diaz does exactly that. King tries to win it and they get the penalty. That is the big difference.”
Star has immediate chance to make amends and impress Leeds
Thankfully for Kent, he won’t have long before he can make amends for the display.
To that end, Liverpool will be the visitors to Ibrox for the return group game on Wednesday October 12. And Kent will be looking to make a much bigger impact in front of his own supporters than he managed at Anfield.
That said, the game is now a must-win for Rangers if they are to have any aspirations of progressing into the knockout stages.
They currently sit bottom of the table with zero points from their first three games. All is not lost yet, but defeat to Liverpool in the return will ensure they cannot progress any further. Their remains the prospect of finishing third and dropping into the Europa League.
But Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side will still keep believing. On their day, they can certainly give Liverpool a bigger scare than they did on Tuesday night.
Kent will also be looking for a bigger performance. If he’s to secure a transfer to the Premier League, potentially with Leeds United, then he will need to illustrate his capabilities on the big stage.