Liverpool will attempt to get back to winning ways in the Champions League when they welcome Red Star Belgrade to Anfield on Wednesday night.
The Reds followed up a memorable win over Paris St Germain in their Group C opener with a defeat to Napoli last time out, while their next opponents sit on one point from their first two games.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points ahead of the fixture.
Salahâs clinical finish takes the Reds to 23 points... 🙌🔴https://t.co/zZLiXGKO64— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 20, 2018
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that eking out a 1-0 win at Huddersfield over the weekend was “maybe the first period in my life that we are winning average matches”. The result proved the Merseysiders can grind out a win even when they are not hitting top form, a trait that has eluded the club for a number of years and arguably cost them silverware. It is something they may need to do throughout the campaign if they are to have success on domestic and European fronts.
It was perhaps unfair to expect Mohamed Salah to emulate his record-breaking heroics from last season and it may be that a shoulder injury and his World Cup exertions are still taking their toll – even if neither he nor Klopp will admit it. It is also still too early to write off the Egyptian and his fourth goal of the season at the John Smith’s Stadium may just be what he needed to rediscover top form. Red Star would be wise not to underestimate his threat, however.
Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final last term was due in no small part to their record at home, with five wins and two draws. Only once did they fail to find the back of the net and that was when Klopp rested several first-teamers against Porto as his side held a 5-0 aggregate lead. Against Manchester City, Roma and PSG – their opponents on their last three European nights at Anfield – they have scored 11 times. Red Star, who were hammered 6-1 in Paris earlier this month, could be forgiven for feeling a sense of foreboding.
The Serbian champions and 1991 European Cup winners will not be able to count on a vocal minority support at Anfield as UEFA banned the club from selling tickets to their fans as a punishment for trouble at August’s qualifier at Salzburg. However, Red Star do not have to look too far for inspiration as they have won both of their previous meetings against Liverpool. Paired together in the last 16 of the 1973/74 European Cup, Red Star prevailed 2-1 in both legs before being eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the next round.