Daizen Maeda was sent off in the 23rd minute after a tackle on Mario Hermoso. While the decision was widely disputed by Celtic staff, players and pundits, the Japanese international will now miss the next European game against Lazio in Rome.
He’s not the only winger to be absent for that one either. Luis Palma was booked in the first half for complaining to referee Ivan Kruzliak. It’s his second in the competition so he will also miss the tie on November 28th.
With Liel Abada also injured, it leaves Rodgers going pretty deep into the squad for such an important fixture.
Hyunjun Yang, James Forrest and Mikey Johnston have all been included in Celtic’s European list so we could see the manager turn to two out of that trio. Rocco Vata is also part of the European squad on the B list, should he be needed.
There’s another alternative, too – a formation change. We witnessed Celtic switch to a back three in the second half of the 2-2 draw with Atletico last month and that could be a viable option here.
It would mean that Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor are the principal wide players, with three central defenders behind them. It could also mean that Rodgers turns to an attacking pairing of Kyogo Furuhashi and Hyeongyu Oh.
This shape could well provide the best balance in the team, especially if the other option is using players who can’t reach the performance levels required in place of Maeda and Palma.
With Celtic needing a victory in Italy to keep their European hopes alive, the situation is far from ideal. Regardless, the Bhoys coaching staff need to find the optimal mix – nobody wants to see another heavy defeat on the road.