Heading back into UEFA Champions League action following a three-week break in the competition, Liverpool will look to revitalize their European campaign with a victory on Wednesday. Playing host to Serbian side Red Star Belgrade at Anfield, the Reds will, without a doubt, be looking to secure the full three points in this match and potentially put themselves back atop Group C.
Liverpool and Red Star Belgrade Faceoff at Anfield
Liverpool Look to Rejuvenate Continental Campaign
Seen as one of the top two clubs in Group C, Liverpool opened their Champions League campaign in fine form with a 3-2 victory at Anfield against French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Heading right into cruise control following the result, the Reds were quickly reminded about just how quickly things could change. Suffering a 1-0 loss against Napoli in their last Champions League match, Liverpool were brought right back down to earth.
Following the break in play for the international break, Liverpool now return to the Champions League with what should be their easiest match of the competition. Playing host to last place Red Star Belgrade, Liverpool clearly look to be a class above and will undoubtedly seek to secure the full three points from this match.
Adding to this is the fact that Liverpool continue to look like potential champions in the Premier League. That said, the more praise Liverpool are given, the more this contest could be described as a trap match. While the Reds are a much more talented side than their opponents, there are no days off in the Champions League. Presenting anything less than their best in this match could see Liverpool put behind the eight ball as we reach the halfway point of the Champions League group stage.
Red Star Belgrade Seek to Keep European Dream Alive
Say what you want about Red Star Belgrade, but one thing that cannot be said about this club is that they have no fight. Battling their way through each of the Champions League’s qualifying rounds to make their way into the competition’s group stage, Red Star have stared adversity in the face already this season and have yet to blink.
Fighting their way back in two straight qualifying rounds to even make it this far, Red Star have shown the ability to never give up. Not to be forgotten either is the strength of this side. Dominating their domestic league with eleven wins and one draw this season, Belgrade are an extremely talented side.
However, as their last match against Paris Saint-Germain showed, Red Star lack the ability to go toe-to-toe with European giants. While the club should struggle to earn a result in this match against Liverpool, it wouldn’t be shocking if the club do manage to put up a fight in this match and maybe, just maybe, find a way to eek out a single point when all is said and done.
Daniel Sturridge Looks to Keep Good Campaign Going
While one definitely expects to see Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane on the scoreline for Liverpool, right now, there is a fourth name bringing up some strong form in front of goal for the Reds. That name is Daniel Sturridge. Long facing injury problems and poor form at Anfield, Sturridge has experienced an extremely strong start to the campaign thus far.
Tied for the club lead in goals with Salah and Mane, Sturridge currently sits on four goals scored this season. Having also netted a goal in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over PSG earlier in the campaign, Sturridge will likely be looked upon to lead the Reds’ attack in this match. Expected to potentially give some rest to a couple of their top players, Sturridge could further establish himself as a goal threat this season with a good match against the less talented Red Star Belgrade.
Branko Jovičić To Lead from the Midfield
Appearing in the most matches of any player on the Red Star Belgrade roster so far this season, Branko Jovičić is someone that the Serbian side will be looking towards for leadership in this match. While not much of a goal scoring threat, the defensive midfielder will look to anchor himself between the backline and the Liverpool attackers in this match, preventing as many chances as he can manage.
While definitely not the only player in this squad that will need a season-best performance to earn anything from this match, Branko Jovičić is definitely one player that could do a lot of good for the Serbian club. Even if Red Star have a tough match from the outset, look for Jovičić to at least turn in a good performance.
Is this one close? Likely not. If Liverpool come into this match and play to their ability, the Reds should easily waltz past the visiting Serbians. That said, if the Reds enter this match with a cocky approach or one that causes them to play down to their opponents level, Red Star may just be able to snatch some sort of the result from this match. For this purpose, however, we can only assume that Klopp has his men ready for this match, leading to total domination for Liverpool.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade