Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade: Fearsome front three all amongst goals as Reds top group
Photo: Getty Images - Richard Martin-Roberts

Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade: Fearsome front three all amongst goals as Reds top group

Another admirable Anfield night for Reds as they hit Serbian champions for four

Adam Washbrook
Liverpool FCAlisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson (Moreno 82’); Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Shaqiri (Lallana 68’); Salah (Sturridge 73'), Firmino, Mane. Unused subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Milner, Origi.
Borjan; Stojkovic, Degenek, Babic, Gobeljic; Krsticic, Jovicic (Causic 75’); Srnic, Ebecilio (Jovancic 65’), Nabouhane (Simic 80’); Boakye. Unused subs: Popovic, Pavkov, Stojilijkovic, Savic.
SCORE1-0, min. 20, Firmino. 2-0, min. 45, Salah. 3-0, min. 51, Salah. 4-0, min. 80, Mane.

Liverpool cruised to a 4-0 victory over Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade at Anfield to send them top of Champions League Group C, as PSG scored late to earn a point in Naples.

Jürgen Klopp was well aware of the importance of the fixture heading into the game, describing it as an important tie for his side who he also claimed were yet to hit top form.

With Red Star scoring goals for fun back in their domestic league, their confidence remained unshaken despite their 6-1 dismantlement at the hands of PSG last time out in Europe.

Strong first-half

The visitors started strong, making their presence known through a number of set pieces in the early minutes. The home side weathered the storm and quickly took control, opening the scoring on the 20 minute mark through Roberto Firmino.

Xherdan Shaqiri was the orchestrator of play deep inside the Belgrade half, slotting a cutting ball between the full back and centre half to find Andrew Robertson in space.

The Scotland captain delivered a typically accurate ball back across the box to the feet of the Brazilian forward, who touched the ball onto his left side and fired home from 12 yards with a slight deflection.

Shaqiri turned provider again for Mo Salah on the stroke of half time, with a ball very similar to that at Huddersfield on Saturday evening.

Cutting his teammate in between the full back and centre back on the right hand side, Salah again went across the keeper with his finish to double the score.

Cruise control

It took only six minutes of the second half for the Egyptian forward to double his own tally, when he slotted home from the penalty spot.

Sadio Mane ran at the Red Star defence only to be stepped across, with the referee taking his time to make a decision before eventually pointing to the spot.

Salah made no mistake from 12 yards, making his final critical contribution of the night as he was subbed off shortly after. Last year’s Golden Boot winner will have been disappointed he wasn’t given a further few minutes on the pitch when the referee awarded a second penalty to the hosts for handball.

Mane stepped up this time, but his effort was tipped onto the bar by the goalkeeper, with his follow up also prevented from crossing the line.

The Senegal forward did manage to get on the scoresheet five minutes later, however, when substitute Daniel Sturridge selflessly slotted in the number 10, who found the back of the net with a two-touch finish.

Missed opportunities

Sturridge nearly got amongst the goals himself with a stunning effort from range, only to be thwarted by a great save.

Fellow substitute Adam Lallana could’ve also grabbed himself a goal when Sturridge played him through on the counter, but Lallana’s lack of pace caught up with him and he felt the pressure one-on-one, firing straight at the keeper.

Despite the early pressure, the visitors couldn't replicate their domestic form and the absence of playmaker Marco Marin was clear. 

Angel Di Maria’s late equaliser in Naples sent the Reds from third to top of the group, leaving Liverpool in the driving seat heading into the second round of group stage fixtures.