Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Liverpool lose their mojo to make Champions League last 16 a struggle

Liverpool lose their mojo to make Champions League last 16 a struggle

Red Star Belgrade blew Champions League Group C wide open and loosened Liverpool's grip on top spot after Milan Pavkov scored a first-half brace in a 2-0 win.

"The start was intense, that was clear", Klopp said.

Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren will be the most likely albeit very late cameos coming off the Liverpool bench, barring any ill-timed injury situations.

But the introduction of Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez did little to galvanise the Reds and Red Star held on to claim a famous victory. Last season's Champions League finalists must now attempt to pick up points from their upcoming fixtures against Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli to avoid an embarrassing group-stage exit.

Two weeks later, Red Star - playing in front of a loud and passionate home crowd - kept Liverpool's fearsome attacking unit quiet and, in Pavkov, had their own star striker.

A loss to French champions PSG would leave them facing a nail-biting shoot-out with Napoli and Liverpool midfielder Lallana knows his team have no excuses for their predicament.

"Red Star wanted to strike back, which they did". We had moments, we had kind of nearly-chances, the biggest in the last two three minutes and before that not enough.

"These games are always tough to start off with and Red Star Belgrade will give Liverpool plenty to deal with in the opening stages but once they get over that then they've got the skill to get a couple of goals".

"We were not surprised by Red Star's tactics".

Liverpool FC head into the game fresh from their 1-1 Premier League draw at Arsenal on Saturday night. Then more or less straight away they score the second one and then the atmosphere was completely different, you could feel it.

"We have to make sure it doesn't happen again".

But It was Red Star marksmen Pavkov who would catch the eye in the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

"We need to win our games, it's on our's in our hands but we will have to play better than we did tonight". Three other English teams have failed in Europe during this period yet managed to finish the season in a higher league position than the previous year, with Spurs in 2016/17 being the only one of those who could be said to have made progress that season, finishing with 86 points in second place.

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