Liverpool came unstuck against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League as they lost 2-0 on Tuesday. The defeat threw a spanner in the works as we face Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli in our final group games.
A couple of goals from Milan Pavkov were enough to defeat the Reds and hand them their third away loss on the spin in the competition.
More surprisingly, we barely threatened the home side after a decent spell of around 10 minutes. A number of players didn’t seem dialled into the game and we were made to pay.
Looking back at the fixture, there weren’t many positives to bring out and here are the five talking points from the clash.
1) Liverpool taking the game lightly
The Reds didn’t travel to Serbia with Xherdan Shaqiri as Jurgen Klopp didn’t want to make a political statement against Red Star.
However, the players didn’t seem to turn up for the first half at all. The home side were chomping at the bits, and it wasn’t a great surprise when they took the lead.
Normally, the Reds would have responded and laid siege to the opposition box, but we did nothing of that sort and were made to pay by conceding another goal.
This should serve as a warning to the Reds for the remainder of the campaign. There are no freebies in the Champions League or in the Premier League, and we have to give our 100% all the time.
2) Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge fail to impress
It was always going to be a bit of a risk playing with Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge. Both haven’t started many games for us this season, and playing at a tough ground was always going to be a big ask for the pair.
The Englishmen struggled to impose themselves on the pitch with Sturridge missing a glorious chance of making it 1-0 to the Reds early on.
The smarter thing would have been to start with our best XI and then sub those players in who need minutes on the pitch.
3) Our attack has no bite
Our attack featured Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but the pair were absolutely woeful throughout the game.
Mane was even pushed wide right in the second half but the Senegalese gave the ball away regularly while Salah was a bit part player in the game.
The Egyptian did strike the post in the second half but both players need to get back to their best if we want to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
4) The missing midfield
If our attack was toothless, our midfield was non-existent. Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Lallana weren’t up for the fight against the Serbian side, and the trio had no say in the game at all.
It was a big surprise seeing Wijnaldum and Milner struggle in the heart of the pitch given how good they have been this season, and they need to prepare themselves for a couple of tough games against PSG and Napoli in the coming weeks.
5) Champions League future in our own hands
Although the loss was damaging, Liverpool have their Champions League future in their own hands. A win over Paris Saint-Germain will be enough to see us through to the next round.
Anything less than a win, and we have to defeat Napoli by two clear goals to make it into the knockout phase.
Liverpool can’t seem to do things the easy way as we faced a similar scenario last season. Of course, we were up against lesser opposition last time around, however, we should perform well when we have our backs against the wall.
“We’d welcome him to our team”: Liverpool duo send an open invitation for Bundesliga star to join the Reds
Latest Liverpool transfer news: Mane and Keita want Werner at Anfield
The report claims that we face competition from Manchester United and Bayern Munich for the 22-year-old forward. Naby Keita joined the Reds from RB Leipzig and claimed he would try his best to bring Werner to Anfield (h/t Daily Star):
“We played very well together in Leipzig, and he was one of my best friends there. It’s clear: If he’ll be on the move, I ask Timo to join us here at Liverpool.”
“I’d advise him to join Liverpool. I like his style of play. Very forceful, good finish, always giving it 100 per cent. If he wants to join us, we’d welcome him to our team.”
The report adds that Werner is the No.1 target for the Reds, and it will be interesting to see how things progress in the summer.
Liverpool have 0ne of the best attacks in the world
Liverpool play with three of the best attackers in world football with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino partnering Mane. The trio have plundered several goals since last season, but we could do with more attacking options.
Dominic Solanke was sold to Bournemouth in the winter window, and the report adds that Daniel Sturridge could leave the Reds at the end of the season.
Read more Liverpool FC transfer news, click here – Liverpool FC transfer news
That would leave us with just Divock Origi as a senior forward in the side, and it would be a major surprise if we don’t sign some players in the summer.
Premier League rivals submit £39m bid for highly-rated 21-year-old Liverpool target
Liverpool FC transfer news: Chelsea submit bid for Liverpool target Luka Jovic
The Metro (h/t Mirror) reports that Chelsea have submitted a £39million bid for Liverpool target Luka Jovic. The 21-year-old Serbian has been in excellent form for Eintracht Frankfurt this season and has found the back of the net 19 times from 27 appearances.
The report adds that Liverpool have kept an eye on the highly-rated forward, who is also being tracked by La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Chelsea have now joined the race for the Serb, who is on loan at Frankfurt from Benfica. The report adds that Barcelona had agreed on personal terms with Jovic earlier in the week, however, his current club have stated that they would like to exercise their right-to-buy clause with Benfica.
The report also adds that Chelsea have made the 21-year-old a priority for the summer despite signing Gonzalo Higuain on loan and Christian Pulisic for next season.
Liverpool need more attacking options
The Reds have one of the best forward lines in football, however, the report claims that Jurgen Klopp will be looking for reinforcements in the summer window.
Daniel Sturridge’s contract at Anfield comes to an end in the summer while Divock Origi hasn’t been receiving regular time on the field.
The Reds also sold Dominic Solanke to Bournemouth in the winter window with Nathaniel Clyne joining the forward on loan at the Cherries.
Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news
It will be interesting to see our activity once the season ends. The Reds signed several stars at the start of this campaign and hopefully, that leads to a title or two soon.
German football expert believes Klopp will extend Anfield stay even if he fails to land a trophy this season
Latest Liverpool news: Raphael Honigstein believes Jurgen Klopp will extend stay at Liverpool
German football expert Raphael Honigstein believes Jurgen Klopp will extend his stay at Anfield beyond 2022. The manager signed a new deal with Liverpool in 2016 which keeps him at the club until 2022, but the expert claims that Klopp will sign a new deal even if he fails to land a trophy.
Honigstein is also the author of “Bring the Noise: The Jurgen Klopp story” and said (h/t Daily Star)
“Klopp is totally happy at Liverpool and the club is totally happy with him. I think that he will renew his contract beyond 2022.
“Regardless of whether [Liverpool] become champions or Champions League winners, he will extend to 99.9 per cent.”
The Daily Star adds that Klopp had been linked with a move to Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga giants are still open to signing the Liverpool manager.
Bayern still an option for Klopp
Honigstein did warn that Klopp could sign for the Bundesliga powerhouses later in his career:
“He is flexible and ambitious enough to think about this opportunity if there is another opportunity.”
Klopp has done an excellent job for the Reds even though he hasn’t picked up a trophy at Anfield. The Reds are in a strong position to win the league title and face Bayern Munich in the round of 16 in the Champions League.
Liverpool are possibly playing their best football in the Premier League era, and the next logical step is winning a trophy under the manager.
Read more Liverpool news, click here – Latest Liverpool news
We have a great chance of doing that this season, and it will be interesting to see how things go in the league and the Champions League in the coming weeks.
Latest Liverpool transfer news: Mane and Keita want Werner at Anfield Timo Werner is one of the hottest properties in...
Premier League rivals submit £39m bid for highly-rated 21-year-old Liverpool target
Liverpool FC transfer news: Chelsea submit bid for Liverpool target Luka Jovic The Metro (h/t Mirror) reports that Chelsea have...
Latest Liverpool news: Raphael Honigstein believes Jurgen Klopp will extend stay at Liverpool German football expert Raphael Honigstein believes Jurgen Klopp...
Jurgen Klopp charged by FA over comments on referee after West Ham game
Latest Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp charged over comments after West Ham draw The Telegraph reports that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp...