Liverpool vs Red Star Belgrade Preview: Reds look to return to winning ways in Europe
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Liverpool vs Red Star Belgrade Preview: Reds look to return to winning ways in Europe

Liverpool will be hoping to put three crucial points on the board in Group C as they look to recover from their 1-0 defeat to Napoli in Naples.

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Joshua Kerr

Liverpool will look to return to winning ways in the Champions League on Wednesday night as they host Red Star Belgrade at Anfield.

The Reds have endured a mixed start to proceedings in Group C, earning a memorable 3-2 win against French champions Paris Saint Germain in a memorable European night at Anfield, but, succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Napoli to make life difficult.

However, Jürgen Klopp's side have the perfect opportunity to place themselves in the ascendency for the knockout stages if they take charge of the doubleheader against a struggling Belgrade side in what is becoming one of the tighter groups of the competition.

The two teams have met twice in competitive matches, with Red Star beating Liverpool 4-2 on aggregate in the second round of the 1973-74 European Champions' Club Cup.

Key Battle

Mohamed Salah vs Milan Rodić

When you are drawn against the Champions League runners-up, the Ligue 1 champions and Serie A's runners-up, it's fair to say you're already up against the best and that's been the story for Red Star's defensive ace Milan Rodić.

Having already come across some of Europes most elite forwards in Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lorenzo Insigne. It would be nice to think the task would be slightly easier for the Serbian international in his next affair; however, this is anything far from the case in Rodić's next affair.

The 27-year-old defender will be up against Mohamed Salah who netted his fourth goal of the season over the weekend and will be out to score his first in the Champions League in 2018/19.

The Egyptian superstar scored an impressive ten goals in the competition last year and has been under pressure to match the performances that heroically lead Liverpool all the way to the final.

Denying him of that in this game is a task Rodić will hope to fulfill if the Serbian champions are to have any hopes of qualifying for the last-16 of the competition. 

It won't be the first time Rodić has come across Liverpool as the defender came on as a late sub in the 2012/13 Europa League affair for Zenit St. Petersburg when Luis Suarez scored twice in a 3-1 win at Anfield. 

Wijnaldum: "We want more"

After falling at the final hurdle last term Georginio Wijnaldum has spoken of the teams desire to achieve success this time around and potentially avenge last seasons heartbreak.

“I hope to stay here for a long time and help to make the history of this club even bigger,” said the Netherlands international.

“We’ve qualified for the Champions League two seasons in a row and reached a major final but we want more. Everyone talks about winning something and we have to make sure we take that next step. I hope we can do it. We have the confidence that we can do it.

“You want to be able to look back and feel you were part of Liverpool’s great history – win something here and they will always remember you.

“I want to be remembered as a Liverpool player who was part of something special.”

Team News

Captain  Jordan Henderson will likely be unavailable for the game at Anfield due to a hamstring issue.

The midfielder was substituted during the half-time interval of the Reds 1-0 win away at  Huddersfield and could add to Klopp's injury worries in midfield. 

Naby Keïta also an absentee after Klopp confirmed his return will be longer than first expected following an injury he sustained on international duty.

Sadio Mané has returned to training after missing his side's last match with a hand injury and could feature for the Reds, although an appearance from the bench will be a likely outcome.

Red Star have injury doubts over right-back Filip Stojković, while captain Vujadin Savić could make his return to the lineup after his absence in the club's 6-1 mauling at the hands of PSG.

Predicited Line-ups

Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Shaqiri.

Red Star Belgrade XI: Borjan; Sumaila, Degenek, Babic, Rodic; Ebecilio, Jovicic, Ben, Krsticic, Marin; Boakye.

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