Currently sitting atop Group C by a single point, Liverpool now find themselves walking into what may be the toughest away match they will play in this year’s Champions League. Heading to Serbia for a match Tuesday night against Red Star Belgrade, Liverpool will find themselves walking into an extremely hostile environment. While Liverpool are undoubtedly the more talented club, you just never know what may happen on a Tuesday night at the Rajko Mitić Stadium.
Liverpool Set for Tough Test Against Red Star Belgrade
Raucous Home Support Should Boost Red Star
While the English and Spanish would have you believe that they provide the toughest stadium atmospheres in the entire world, the truth is, they don’t. While many of the major footballing nations in Europe provide excellent stadium experiences for the home clubs and tough atmospheres for the travelling club, few stadiums in the world can actually compare with the atmosphere inside Rajko Mitić Stadium in Belgrade, Serbia.
Sitting around 55,000 supporters, Red Star Belgrade call this stadium home. Without a doubt, this stadium is one of the toughest in the world to visit for any away club. Presenting major opposition and noise levels that can rattle any player, Red Star have perhaps the best home advantage of any club in the Champions League this year.
As it proved earlier in the competition during Red Star’s 0-0 draw against now second-placed Napoli, this atmosphere can boost the side like no other. While Red Star should still struggle to earn a result against Liverpool, it would not be shocking if the amazing atmosphere inside the stadium on Tuesday night just manages to make this an extremely competitive fixture.
Liverpool Will Need to Block Out Rowdy Environment in Belgrade
Much like the home atmosphere will be key to Red Star’s chances in this match, this same atmosphere will be key to just what kind of result we will get from Liverpool. With the Serbian club possessing one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the footballing world, Liverpool must take care to keep themselves both afloat and alert early in this fixture.
Likely to push early, Liverpool will try to silence the crowd early by using their great attacking players. However, while this set-up could work in the favour of the Reds, Liverpool must take great care to keep themselves solid at the back. After all, how many times over the years have we seen this Liverpool club cave under pressure?
Keeping the crowd and Red Star Belgrade at bay will be a major goal for Liverpool in this match. As long as they can do just that, the Reds should begin to take control the longer the contest runs. However, conceding an early goal to Red Star in this match could quickly spell doom for the Reds here.
Ben to Play Big Role in this Contest
Currently sitting bottom of Group C with only a single point from their first three group stage matches, Red Star Belgrade really do have nothing to lose at this stage of the competition. That makes this club dangerous heading into this fixture. That danger, could and should be amplified as long as the forward simply known as Ben is on the pitch.
Having recorded six Champions League goals in eight matches so far this season, Ben has totalled ten goals in eighteen competitive matches this season. With this home match presenting Red Star with the chance to earn another huge scalp in front of their supporters, Ben and the rest of the side should be on the front foot from the word go in this match. If Ben or another player for Red Star manages to find the back of the net in this match, we could see some amazing scenes in the Serbian Capital of Belgrade.
Firmino, Salah, and Mane Looked to Silence Crowd
Like their opponents, Liverpool will be looking to get off to a quick start in this contest. With the raucous atmosphere just waiting to capitalize on a Red Star goal or a mistake from Liverpool, the Reds definitely look to quiet the atmosphere with an early strike of their own. To do this, I expect Liverpool to go full attack with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane taking the pitch.
If these three players can combine early and often, then Liverpool should once again cruise to victory over their less talented hosts. However, should Red Star be able to keep these three players off the ball and out of whack, there is every opportunity that Firmino, Salah, and Mane could be taken out of this game to help keep Liverpool safe at the back.
That this match could present those who bet with a massive chance at victory. While Red Star Belgrade will undoubtedly be a long shot option in this match, the club have a better than not chance of at least keeping this match competitive from the outset. Using the crowd to their advantage, Red Star will keep this match close. However, Liverpool seem to have too much talent on their side here. As long as they keep their heads, look for the Reds to earn the three full points from this contest.
Prediction: Red Star Belgrade 1-2 Liverpool