Three points imperative as the Champions League returns


Liverpool visit Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, as they look to take control of Group C. Here’s all you need to know.

Red Star vs. Liverpool

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 — 5.55pm (GMT)
Rajko Mitic Stadium
Champions League Group Stage (4)
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)


This season continues to be a strange one for the Reds, sitting pretty both domestically and in Europe without impressing consistently.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal was a reasonable result, but frustration surrounded the performance, with ground lost on Man City in the process.

While there shouldn’t be too much negativity—Liverpool have never made a better start to a Premier League campaign—we need to start seeing Jurgen Klopp‘s side hit top gear soon.

Thankfully, there were hints of that in the 4-0 win over Red Star a fortnight ago.

The Serbian outfit may be the powerhouse of their own domestic league but they are seen as the whipping boys of Group C, and failure to get six points from them could be damaging.

Liverpool will have to deal with a hostile home crowd at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, but once they overcome that their quality should shine through.

The group is looking tight, with just two points separating the Reds (six), Napoli (five) and Paris Saint-Germain (four), so the importance of winning is clear.

 

Team News

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita (C) and Napoli's Allan Marques Loureiro (L) and José Callejón (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The match has come too soon for Jordan Henderson, while Naby Keita is a doubt despite having travelled, with the duo both nursing hamstring injuries in the last few weeks.

Klopp has confirmed that Keita could feature, however, with Henderson also “very close” to a return ahead of this Sunday’s visit of Fulham.

Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri has been omitted for political reasons—a wise decision by all concerned at the club, with the 27-year-old’s heritage potentially proving troublesome.

Saturday’s draw with Arsenal was a high-octane game, so Klopp may be considering rotating his personnel a little against Red Star.

Trent Alexander-Arnold looks slightly out of sorts, which may tempt the manager to give him the evening off, with Joe Gomez always an option at right-back.

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Dejan Lovren during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dejan Lovren could play after missing the draw with Arsenal but Nathaniel Clyne (illness) is not included in the 21-man squad.

Fabinho endured a tough 90 minutes at the Emirates so Gini Wijnaldum may be preferred in the No. 6 role, but the Brazilian is likely to keep his place.

Daniel Sturridge is a strong option to come in, should Klopp feel the need to give Roberto Firmino a rest after a series of below-par showings.

Red Star manager Vladan Milojevic has no new injury concerns.


Liverpool’s Squad vs. Red Star

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Mignolet, Kelleher

Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Moreno

Midfielders: Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita, Milner, Lallana

Forwards: Firmino, Mane, Salah, Sturridge, Origi, Solanke


 

Rajko Mitic Stadium

BELGRADE, SERBIA - Saturday, June 10, 2017: A general view of the Red Star Stadium ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group D match between Serbia and Wales. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Address: Rajka Mitica 1, Beograd 11040, Serbia

Capacity: 53,000

 

Did You Know?

15.09.2018 Belgrade(Serbia) FK Crvena Zvezda(FC Red Star)-FK Radnik Surdulica Superliga men s football Marko Marin (L) FK Crvena Zvezda(FC Red Star) celebrate second scored goal on match : PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxSER.

Red Star have only lost one of their last 14 home matches in European competition, with their goalless draw against Napoli in September proof that Tuesday’s game may be no walkover for Liverpool.

On top of that, Milojevic’s men have conceded just five goals in those games, with nine clean sheets secured in the process.

 

Form

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 3, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Red Star Belgrade – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Proleter
Won 3-1 vs. Backa
Won 2-0 vs. Macva
Lost 4-0 vs. Liverpool
Won 3-1 vs. Rad

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Arsenal
Won 4-1 vs. Cardiff
Won 4-0 vs. Red Star Belgrade
Won 1-0 vs. Huddersfield
Drew 0-0 vs. Man City

 

Klopp’s View

BELGRADE, SERBIA - Monday, November 5, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) and Liverpool FC at Stadion Rajko Miti?. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking in Monday’s press conference, Klopp said he expects a difficult test at the hands of Red Star, both on and off the pitch:

“It’s the combination of atmosphere and the football they play.

“We were really good at Anfield, if we had been less strong they would have been in the game.

“We are from Liverpool so we know how important atmosphere can be.

“The only way to cool the atmosphere there is to play really good football.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

Adidas, Champions League ball, general, matchday (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The match is part of BT Sport’s Champions League coverage and is one of only two ‘early’ kickoffs on Tuesday, along with Monaco vs. Club Brugge.

The buildup starts from 5.15pm on BT Sport 3.

Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s live blog from 5.10pm, bringing you pre-match content and minute-by-minute updates once proceedings get underway.