I think that we have seen signs of a crisis in the Reds team. The Liverpool’s highly rated strikers were nowhere near the level they were expected to be in Belgrade, so did the whole Red’s team. But let’s starts with the front three. Jurgen Klopp played with Mohamed Sarah, Sadio Mane and Daniel Sturridge on top giving Roberto Firmino a rest. Daniel Sturridge has missed an unbelievable chance to open the scoresheet for Liverpool, which goes against him, but for most of the first half he was the sharpest of the front three.
It was a paid to watch Sadio Mane, who was unfocused, literally lost each and every ball on the right side, especially in the second half. He was slow, toothless and lacked energy. Mohamed Salah looked better, but most of his passes or shots didn’t go the right direction. Even when he hit the post during the second half, it wasn’t a shot which would have been going on target.
James Milner was the best player in the Liverpool’s midfield. The other two Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lalana were nothing but average. Most of their passes went backwards and Lalana’s performance has probably once again made Reds fans to believe that he needs to go. Lalana looks confused during most of the the time he spent on the pitch, he wasn’t in the right spaces and his passing wasn’t good. Some might say that he needs more time to finds his game after a lengthily spell on the touchline due to injury. However, if he was that unconvincing against Red Star Belgrade, what would it be in the next two fixtures against PSG in Paris and Napoli at Anfield?
The whole Liverpool midfield was average both when it was going forward and when it needed to defend. Wijnaldum simply allowed the Red’ Star’s striker Milan Pavlov to advance towards Liverpool’s penalty and to shoot from a distance for the second goal. The Dutchman looked slow and out of energy in this moment and for most of the 90 minutes.
Wrong approach to the game?
From the first moment of the Champions League clash in Belgrade, Liverpool looked like a touring side. They have allowed Red Star to attack a lot within the first 15 minutes, were slow and defended for a long periods of time in the first half. The Serbian champions controlled the ball in the early stages of the game and used the flanks very well.
It is hard to believe that Liverpool haven’t enough motivation to win this fixture in Belgrade, which would have very much decided their progress in the Champions League. The Reds players knew that they needed to win 3 points to make their next two months easier. Unfortunately for them they weren’t good enough to win against a side that they have beaten 4:0 two weeks earlier. This is a worrying sign for Jurgen Klopp’s side and especially for the Liverpool fans, which suggest that the Reds are simply not good enough to replicate their last year’s Champions League performance and to be successful in the Premier League.
The winning teams always have the right motivation and the mentality in the right moments and do whatever is necessary to achieve on their goals. Liverpool missed both against Arsenal and against Red Star. The visit to Belgrade was the right moment for the Jurgen Klopp’s men to show that they aren’t slipping, after they dropped two points against Arsenal at Emirates stadium. However, they went one step down in their Champions League game against much lesser side in a game they must gave either drawn or won.
Now it is unclear, how a side that lost 1:0 in Naples and 2:0 in Belgrade could go to Paris and win or draw against PSG on they home ground. I believe that as of now we can consider Liverpool as the team who is very likely to get knocked out of the Champions League before Christmas.