UCL 2018/2019: 5 reasons why Liverpool lost to Red Star Belgrade
The biggest shock of the Champions League campaign so far, and arguably one of the biggest of all time came in Belgrade last night, as the Serbian Champions Red Star Belgrade, or to use their Serbian name, Crvena Zvezda, shocked European heavyweights and English high-fliers Liverpool in a 2-0 defeat.
The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 4-0 victory for Liverpool on matchday 3, while the Serbians also got trounced 6-0 by PSG in Paris on matchday 2, so The Reds were understandably overwhelming favorites to triumph in the match.
Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League, and sit top of the standings in Group C, hence they sought to further strengthen their qualification position by getting a victory in Belgrade, but their hosts had other ideas, as they outplayed their more illustrious visitors to deliver a result which nobody foresaw.
The loss halted Liverpool's momentum, and threw the group wide open, making it live up to its billing as the 'Group of Death'. Here in no particular order, we present five reasons why Liverpool lost the match to Red Star Belgrade.
#5 Jurgen Klopp's questionable tactics
Jurgen Klopp has built a reputation over the years as an astutely sound tactician and has been largely responsible for the transformation undergone at Liverpool since his arrival in October 2015.
The 53-year-old has overseen an overhaul of players at the club and has brought in those who are more suited to his playing pattern, with the result being that the club plays some of the most enthralling and captivating football, winning admiration from all over with their gengenpressing style of play.
His tactics and choice of players have been spot on thus far, but in faraway Belgrade, he made some questionable decisions which cost Liverpool victory in the match.
His decision to leave impact substitute Xerdhan Shaqiri out off the match squad entirely due to political indifferences robbed Liverpool off a genuine attacking threat and width in case things went south.
He also inexplicvably decided to start with Roberto Firmino on the bench, starting with Daniel Sturridge instead, and the result was that Liverpool's normally fluid attack was a bit blunt. The 29-year-old Englishman does not offer the dynamism that the Brazilian offers and this was evident in Liverpool's struggles, with their attack lacked cohesion, and The Reds failing to get a shot on target until the 71st minute.
Klopp also decided to start with Trent Alexander-Arnold, and while the 19-year-old's impressive trajectory cannot be underwritten, it is pertinent to note that he has suffered a dip in form this season, and has struggled in tough away matches, with Klopp preferring to start Joe Gomez in such conditions.
Jurgen Klopp finally attempted to rectify his mistakes at half-time, bringing on Firmino and Gomez for Sturridge and Arnold respectively, and although there was a slight improvement in their display, the damage had already been done.
Klopp deserves immense credit for Liverpool's rise from mediocrity, but on the night in Belgrade, he was largely responsible for the defeat with his questionable tactics and team sheet.