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Dublin: 6°C Friday 25 September 2020


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Hello! And welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this evening’s early kick-off in the Champions League which sees last year’s beaten finalists and five-times European Cup winners Liverpool make the long journey to Belgrade to face 1991 champions Red Star.

Jurgen Klopp’s men currently sit top of Group C with two wins and one defeat from their opening round of fixtures. The Reds dramatically beat PSG with a late Roberto Firmino winner at Anfield, before losing to Napoli and hammering tonight’s opponents 4-0 on Merseyside.

It’s been a confident and impressive start to the season for Klopp’s men, who also sit third in the Premier League following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates against Unai Emery’s Arsenal.

Tonight they will try and take another big step towards securing their place in the knockout stages at the 55,000-seater capacity Rajko Mitić Stadium. Kick-off is coming up at 5.55pm!

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Red Star: Borjan, Stojkovic, Savic, Degenek, Rodic, Krsticic, Jovancic, Srnic, Marin, Ben, Pavkov.

Subs: Popovic, Jovicic, Babic, Stojiljkovic, Causic, Simic, Gobeljic.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, 

Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Salah, Sturridge, Mane.

Subs: Mignolet, Fabinho, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Moreno, Origi.

A big piece of team news came before today, in fact, with the news that Cork-born goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher would be travelling with the Liverpool squad to Belgrade for this evening’s game.

Unfortunately the teenager has not make the cut, with Simon Mignolet named on the bench instead. It hasn’t been all bad news for the goalkeeper, however. Kelleher was today named in Martin O’Neill’s Ireland squad for the upcoming games against Northern Ireland and Denmark.

Right, with just under half an hour to go before we get up and running, how we see this evening’s game unfolding? Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Liverpool win (294)
Red Star Belgrade win (66)
Draw (31)

Ten minutes to go as Liverpool finish up their warm-up routine.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic

Serbia Soccer Champions League

Serbia Soccer Champions League

Liverpool with a promising early break almost straight from the tip-off. Mohamed Salah races free into oceans of space, but the delivery into the box is hoofed clear by Vujadin Savic back-peddling into the penalty area. It’s a big, big pitch out there.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Marko Drobnjakovic


A few worrying signs now as Daniel Sturridge goes down. He appeared to take a hit to the body after competing for a high ball. Although the England striker did go down hunched over, he seems okay to continue. He replaces Roberto Firmino in the starting XI this evening up front for the Reds.


Former Chelsea man Marko Marin picks up the game’s first yellow card for sliding in rashly on Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was booting the ball into touch for a throw-in.

Shot! Some really brilliant work by Sadio Mane down the left wing sees the forward pump a powerful cross into the box. He curls it backwards slightly, right into the path of James Milner, but the midfielder’s strike flies well and truly over the crossbar. It’s in Row Z now.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


The perfect response from Red Star at the other end. Marin cuts inside smartly, easily beating the challenge of Alexander-Arnold, but the winger’s effort is ineffective, weak and right at Alisson. Great work all along, but the finish let Marin down there.


It’s really end-to-end at the minute. More success down the left wing sees Mohamed Salah whip the ball back into the box towards Daniel Sturridge. The striker does really well to get his head to the cross, but Salah’s pass was well too high and the ball drifts high and over the crossbar from Sturridge’s header.


What an atmosphere! Red Star normally get crowds of just 5,000 and 6,000 for league games, but tonight the Marakana is completely sold out.


Chance! Vujadin Savic snatches a close-range effort just over Alisson’s crossbar. Marko Marin’s corner into the box caused panic, with the Red Star captain Savic the first to react. The defender did well to twist his body around in order to get a shot off, but he just couldn’t keep it down.


Daniel Sturridge with an absolute sitter five yards out from goal. Once again Sadio Mane causes issues down that left flank, he delivers a cross into the box which eventually fell right in front of Sturridge. With a free shot at goal, however, the striker could only power a half-volley well over the crossbar. He will not want to see that again and really ought to have put it away.


Sturridge with another chance in quick succession. He tales the ball with his back to goal and turns his maker sweetly, but his shot is deflected wide for a corner. It wasn’t an easy chance that, but Sturridge did well to make the most of it.

GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Red Star take the lead in Belgrade! Standing all of 1.93m tall, Milan Pavkov rises high to meet Marko Marin’s corner swung deep into the box and steers a brilliant header low into Alisson’s bottom corner. His side lead!

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


That goal has really rocked Liverpool. Just before Pavkov’s goal, Alisson was forced into a heroic low diving save to deny El Fardou Ben Nabouhane. And right after scoring, the hosts have another sight at goal again – Filip Stojkovic causing all sorts of problems with a tricky ball into the box. What a start to this game!

GOOOOOOOOALLLL!!! Can you believe it? That man Milan Pavkov has done it again, and what a goal it is! The big striker had not started a single Champions League group-stage game before tonight, but now has a double inside half an hour. He peels away just outside the box and fires a sublime effort which rockets into Alisson’s top corner. An unstoppable strike and Liverpool trail 2-0.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


Liverpool almost halve the deficit at the other end, as Jurgen Klopp’s men try and eek out a response before half-time. The returning Adam Lallana has a free diving header at goal, but right-back Filip Stojkovic does well to get in the way and deflect the effort off the line.


Adam Lallana picks up Liverpool’s first yellow card of the evening. The England midfielder lunges rashly at the feet of Marko Marin and finds himself in referee Antonio Mateu’s book accordingly. A challenge born of frustration more than anything — it’s just not been Liverpool’s game so far at all.


Here’s the two goals. Remember the name: Milan Pavkov


For the umpteenth time this evening Sadio Mane beats his marker Stojkovic down the right wing. Mane chips an inviting ball into the box, but goalkeeper Milan Borjan does well to catch it good and early. Stojkovic is having an absouliute nightmare out there at the moment, though. The left-back is losing every single one-on-one battle.


There will be one minute of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.



Half-time already, that 45 minutes flew by! What a game it’s been though, you have to admit. Red Star would not have expected to get much out of this game having lost two and drawn one of their opening round of fixtures in Group C. Milan Pavkov was an unknown before kick-off this evening, but his brilliant double has brought this game alive and ensured his name is known the world over — for one night, at least. His brace is the difference between the sides, with Red Star very, very impressive all throughout. More action to come shortly!


Two changes at the break from Jurgen Klopp. Joe Gomez is on in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Daniel Sturridge is replaced by Roberto Firmino off the bench too.


Close! Sadio Mane almost, almost halves the deficit from close range. The 26-year-old runs free into the box to try and get on the end of Georginio Wijnaldum’s cross, but his effort is blocked down by Vujadin Savic at the last possible second. Liverpool knocking on the door already here.

Another accurate move forward by Klopp’s men. James Milner plays a neat through ball which finds Adam Lallana, but his cross is hoofed clear at the first hurdle. A lot of space opening up behind enemy lines as Red Star continue to sit back and rest on their two goal lead.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Marko Drobnjakovic


Two chances in quick succession on Milan Borjan’s goal — the first from Andy Robertson bombing forward and the second from Sadio Mane, who is seeing a lot of the ball in the final third this evening. Neither yield a goal, however.

Even though Red Star do look quite vulnerable and all over the place at the back, at the same time they are a tough outfit to break down. Goalkeeper Borjan’s clean sheet is fully in tact with a little over half an hour to go.

Liverpool v Red Star Belgrade - UEFA Champions League - Group C - Anfield Source: PA Archive/PA Images


Close! Andy Robertson causing panic again along that left flank. The left-back’s cross is deflected high and smacks off the top of the Red Star crossbar before being booted clear last-ditch. Very nearly for Liverpool, but they still trail by two.


Another chance for a quick break for Liverpool as Mohamed Salah races through on goal woth oceans of space in front of him. He is forced onto his weaker right foot and tries to pick out the run of Roberto Firmino as a last resort, but a mass of bodies in red and white stripes get in Salah’s way to end the danger. 

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


Save! Time and space opens up for Salah on the edge of the box. He eyes the top corner, but can only watch as goalkeeper Borjan springs from his line and produces a fine, athletic save to push the ball out for a corner. A few cracks opening up in the Red Star backline now as Savic and Degenek really begin to struggle.


Klopp’s men are throwing everything forward bar the kitchen sink at this stage. Another decent chance looks on the cards as Roberto Firmino takes possession inside the box, but not for the first time a swarm of Red Star defenders snuffs out the danger. There doesn’t appear to be a way through at the minute with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


Chance! Red Star are all over the place at the back. Mohamed Salah is inches out from goal, but just can’t stab the ball in from close range. 

Everyone is lining up for a go at goal at this stage. Joel Matip leaps high to get on the end of Joe Gomez’s Rory Delap-esque throw-in into the penalty area. He heads the ball on towards Mohamed Salah, but the forward can’t get a touch at the far post. It’s a real scramble at the moment, with Red Star barely hanging on.

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic


It’s been complete Liverpool domination in the second half, but still no goals to show for it. Red Star have not been completely solid at the back, but have somehow navigated this game unscathed. Just stoppage time to come, as Liverpool face into a second Champions League defeat in four games.


There will be five minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.


Well, there we have it. Red Star cause the upset of upsets to hand Liverpool a 2-0 defeat in Group C. It was a frustrating night in Belgrade for Jurgen Klopp’s men, with a quite brilliant first-half double from Milan Pavkov the difference on the night. Thanks a million for joining us — you can read our full match report here.  Cya!

Serbia Soccer Champions League Source: Darko Vojinovic

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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