Toure axed in Rodgers 4-2-3-1: Celtic best possible XI to face Hapoel Be'er Sheva
By Joe Nelson
Celtic take a commanding 5-2 lead to Israel for the second leg of the play-off clash as they attempt to reach the group stages of the Champions League.
Mikael Lustig should be given a return to the starting XI, allowing Kolo Toure a rest, while the returning Patrick Roberts could be utilised off the bench.
Despite Toure’s commanding display in the first leg against Hapoel Be’er Sheva, it’s doubtful that the 35-year-old will be risked again, having played two games in the past six days.
Leigh Griffiths should be replaced by the dynamic 20-year-old Moussa Dembele, who will not give the Israeli side any time in possession in their back line.
The man who arrived from Fulham has four goals in his first eight appearances for the Hoops and will be looking to build his confidence and touch in front of goal.
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The holding duo of Nir Bitton and Scott Brown should be implemented to shut out attacks and build from deep for Rodgers’ side, as they have shown good chemistry while playing together so far this season.
This leaves an exciting three behind Dembele of Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie, who scored the Hoops’ fourth as they dispatched of St Johnstone at the weekend.
The pace and workrate that these three offer, alongside Dembele should be enough to slow Hapoel Be’er Sheva’s attacks and break up their play before it really gets going.
Rodgers must be tactful and make his players aware of not committing too many men forward, but with a three-goal deficit to overturn, it looks extremely likely that the Scottish champions will be in the hat for Thursday’s Group Stage draw.
In other Celtic team news, this Hoops star took to Twitter to celebrate his international call-up.