Match Preview: Red Star Belgrade vs. Liverpool

After the rather decent away trip to the Emirates which saw Liverpool take a point, the attention is now turned to Red Star in the start of the second round of matchups in Champions League group play. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) previews the matchup.

Who- Red Star Belgrade vs. Liverpool

When- Tuesday, November 6

Where- Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia

Time- 17:55 GMT, 12:55 EST

TV- BT Sport, Bleacher Report Live

The attack hasn’t clicked, the midfield was overpowered, and the defence was outstanding. The result at the Emirates was a smash-and-grab type of game for Jurgen Klopp and his men. With Red Star on the horizon and the major importance of picking up three points before matchups with Napoli and PSG, Klopp seemed to be distracted by the fixture at the extremely hostile Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Communication for the back line and Alisson will be extremely crucial as the noise level within the stadium will be overpowering. Alisson may only be tested a few times, but those few saves will dictate how the Reds will fare in the long run during the 90 minutes in Belgrade. The back four will have to be able to smother any chance that the Red Star attack generates because the rowdiness will be turned up a notch if they are given any glimmer of hope.

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The midfield was overpowered against Arsenal on Saturday and they will definitely need to step up their game against Red Star. They will have to be able to close down the Red Star midfield in order to try and stop any counter-attack that is formulated. The communication between the midfield and the defence will be crucial in order to stay in system to provide fluidity from the back to front. Whoever plays in the attacking role will have to be able to pick out the right pass to the forwards in order to break down Red Star’ stingy defence.

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The final touch has to be better. So far this season it has been the storyline. The sublime play to get in the right positions has not been the problem. It has been that final touch in order to get the ball into the back of the net or the pass. The front three desperately need to find their form with a favorable run of games until a trip to Paris and another magical European night at Anfield against Napoli. Pressure on the Red Star defence will be key to generating chances as the back line is very shaky when it comes to pressure. When the mishaps come from the home side, chances must be taken the first time, not the second or third.

Liverpool Team News

Naby Keita is back in contention for the squad, but Klopp said that he must make a decision on whether or not he wants to feature the midfielder in Belgrade.

Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of the squad that traveled to Serbia. Klopp made the decision in order to prevent unrest due to the Swiss international’s celebration at the World Cup when he celebrated with the hand gesture of the Albanian eagle. Tensions remain high between Serbia and Albania after their declaration of independence in 2008.

Dejan Lovren is also in contention for the squad after missing the 18 that traveled to London on Saturday.

After a 4-0 loss to Liverpool weeks ago, Red Star has been on a three-game winning streak in the Serbian Super League. Much credit has to be given to the offense which has hit full stride since the trip to Merseyside. Intimidation from the fans and the eerily graffitied stadium will be the key for the Serbian side if they want to snatch points from Liverpool.

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The defence, which has been impressive since the trip to Liverpool, must be at the top of their game on Tuesday to stop the always dangerous Liverpool attack. Tracking the runs from the wingers and the holding role of Roberto Firmino or Daniel Sturridge will be critical in order to shut down the Liverpool attack.

The midfield will have to try and replicate what Arsenal did to outwork the Reds midfield. If the Serbians want any hope to take a point, it will have to come from the midfield. Stopping the counter-attacks and being able to get back on defence will be the key to shutting down the Reds.

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The attack for the Serbian side will be rather quiet, but will have the “smash-and-grab” mindset due to the lack of chances. Just like their visit to Anfield, the Red Star attack will most likely become a midfield player due to the gaps that will be present in the centre of the park.

Red Star Belgrade Team News

Milan Borjan, the goalkeeper, missed Red Star’s last league game due to precautionary reasons and is in contention to be in the starting XI on Tuesday.

Richmond Boakye has not featured since the matchup against the Reds and will not be available Tuesday.

Striker, Marko Marin is available Tuesday after recovering from injury.

Previous Meeting

The last time that these two sides faced each other on November 3 saw the Reds take down the Serbian champions 4-0 on Merseyside.

Prediction

I think that Liverpool will be able to escape a hostile Belgrade with all three points in a 3-0 scoreline.

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