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Football News: Liverpool v Red Star Belgrade - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Red Star Belgrade - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda A Liverpool Perspective

 

Finally signs of things coming together as the front three all scored in the same game for the first time this season, even though they were not actually playing as a front three. In essence it was a loose variant of the old school 4-4-2, with Salah up top and Firmino off him, Shaqiri on the right and Mane on the left, but with freedom to roam. It worked, once the early pressure of Red Star eased as they ran out of steam, dominated the game and made it an excellent 4-0 win.

While Red Star are definitely the weakest team in the group, it was still not an easy game, they have a European pedigree to live up to and a lot of desire and will to win. Unfortunately for them they do not have the quality to live with a team like Liverpool when they are firing on all cylinders. It must be said, the system Liverpool used put a lot of pressure on the central midfield to perform well, with Fabinho barely having featured, it was a big boost to his confidence.

 

Klopp - Got his team selection and tactics spot on. The team as a whole were just far too good for Red Star. Even the subs seemed right, Shaqiri was just beginning to fade when he was taken off. Rating: 8.

 

Alisson - not the busiest night of his career, did make one excellent throw out to get an attack started, but he was not being forced to exactly make loads of saves. Rating: 6.5.

 

Alexander-Arnold - came back in and had a really good game. Looked rested and restored after a break. Was a constant danger down the right as Red Star's left side was dragged all over the shop by Shaqiri, giving him acres of space and he used it well. Rating: 7.5.

 

Gomez - caught a couple of times dawdling on the ball but showed a real calmness on the ball, even though they clearly targeted him, he dealt with them well. Looked much happier back in the centre. Just needs to make sure that he does not get caught on the ball. Rating: 7.

 

van Dijk - much better than at the weekend. The casualness was gone and he was striding, rather than strolling. Not troubled by their attempts to attack at all. Rating: 7.

 

Robertson - showed one of the best aspects of him, in that even on those rare occasions he has a poor game, such as last weekend, he just bounces straight back and plays well the next time out. One of the best players on the pitch, breaking up play, pressing, harrying, tackling, driving forward. Excellent performance. Rating: 8.5.

 

Wijnaldum - up there with Wijnaldum's best performances in a Liverpool shirt. He was authoritative, decisive and commanding in midfield. All the things that he so often fails to be when away from home. That is what we need to see from him now, a performance like that in an away game. Rating: 8.

 

Fabinho - started off a bit sluggishly, got caught on the ball early on by a player coming through from behind him and taking it off his toe. That seemed to wake him up and he grew into the game and got better and better and better. Nine tackles and some excellent passing from the deep midfield role made him look like a player who deserves to be first choice. Arguably man of the match. Rating: 9.

 

Shaqiri - another who could be argued to be man of the match with an excellent, all-action, hard-working performance. Popped up all over the pitch and provided plenty of good quality balls for the rest. Only thing missing from his performance was a goal. Rating: 9.

 

Salah - playing a slightly unfamiliar striker role and got two goals, though missed a few chances. Hard to criticise a man who has notched 2 goals for the team, but he did not play particularly well overall. He certainly played his part in a big win though. Rating: 7.

 

Firmino - playing off Salah as a second striker, rather than a 'false 9' and never imposed himself on the game the way you would hope. Not that he played badly, he just was nothing like the great Firmino we saw last season. Got a goal and played well, just not as well as we have come to expect. Rating: 7.5.

 

Mane - back on the left with a heavily strapped thumb and back to causing havoc, though he really needed that goal as he was struggling with the final ball. Missing the penalty was unlucky as he probably hit his as well as Salah and just shows the fine margins that make the difference between success and failure. Rating: 7.

 

Subs:

Lallana - took the place of Shaqiri in the 68th minute, just as Shaqiri looked to be dipping. Unfortunately he took the place of one of the best players on the pitch and so it makes his contribution look worse in comparison. He did not really do anything wrong, but he did not really impose himself on the game either. Rating: 6.

Sturridge - replaced Salah on 73 minutes. Played really well, though he did not play like Salah, looking to get in behind. Instead he was the one dropping off into space and looking to play in others and did it really well. Sturridge seems to be much better coming off the bench these days. Rating: 7.

Moreno - surprisingly replaced Robertson in the 82nd minute but played well, under no defensive pressure it must be said. Was able to charge forward at will and get involved in attacking. Rating: 6

Written by Tris Burke October 26 2018 10:55:59

 

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