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RED STAR BELGRADE, 24-10-18, CL, (H)

After the last minute defeat at Napoli this is a must win game as will be the corresponding away game in Belgrade.  I would expect a strong team as Red Star are in good form barring their capitulation in Paris.  With our current lack of offensive form we may have to be patient and cannot expect to roll over opponents like we did at times last season.  Having said that I'm confident we will re-find the goal scoring touch before too long.  As far as the team is concerned Henderson and Keita are out.  As so often happens our injuries have come in the same area of the pitch.  My team would be as follows:

Allison

Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson

Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri

Salah, Firmino, Mane

This team should carry enough attacking threat to see off Red Star and I would predict a scoreline of 2-0.

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Comments

  • I'm hesitant to get too carried away by the result because Red Star were poorer than I expected. Having said that, the Liverpool team as a whole played very well and certain individuals had very good games. Klopp went for a 4-2-3-1 and this may well be the best way to fit Shaqiri into the system - with Mane/Firmino/Shaqiri behind Salah up front. That's three games on the bounce that Shaqiri's provided an assist and against Red Star he demonstrated how well he can pick out a pass and how he's not always looking for personal glory. The back four were dependable, the fullbacks really got forward, and Wijnaldum and Fabinho took it in turns to sit back in midfield while the other attacked. I thought they were both very impressive and it proves the depth of midfielders we now have. Overall, the play between the attackers was more fluid than of late but it's hard to decide whether that was down to a change of personel, a change of system, the weakness of the opposition or just the team starting to click. There were lots of smiling faces at the end and I hope they can take the positivity from this game forward.
  • You predicted the team that Klopp put out tonight's game. I need to review the first penalty incident again. The second one was definitely a penalty and if Klopp kept Salah on, then he may have taken it and scored. Sturridge should had taken it instead of Mane. At least Mane made amends a few minutes later. The end result was important and we could have won more than 4-0. It was a fine performance from the lads.
    • I predicted the team but not the scoreline. I thought the first penalty was clearer than the second. The defender's arm was very high for the first one and although it didn't catch Mane in the face as he suggested it was close to his throat. The second one was similar in a way to the one not given against Milner on Saturday when the ball deflected on to his hand. It was good to see some of the old fluency return and even though Red Star were modest opponents this game was just what was needed to get us firing again. I was impressed with Shaqiri again (I apologise for suggesting he was lazy when we signed him). Also Fabinho, after looking slow early on, really settled well. His tackling reminds me of an old legend Ron Yeats (that shows my age!). You think his opponent has got past him then all of a sudden a big leg sticks out and he emerges with the ball while the opponent is in a heap on the deck!
  • I find the circumstances of this game a little unnerving, with them on the rise and us hit by injuries and struggling up front. I would've thought Trent is rested enough to return so I agree with the back four, the midfield three pretty much picks itself considering injuries (unless Milner is fit whereas I'd have him instead of Shaqiri), and that front three has to click at some point so I'd go with them too.
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