Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp made a few alterations for the Reds’ Champions League encounter against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday, which ultimately backfired on the German.
His side succumbed to a surprise 2-0 defeat at the hands of their Serbian opposition, which dealt a blow to their tournament aspirations.
Despite the Merseyside outfit sitting at the top of Group C, they face tough reverse fixtures against Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli, who the Reds face on the final match day at Anfield, which could be the decider.
Having won the last encounter against the Serbians by a convincing 4-0 margin at Anfield, one might be able to understand the tactical decision by Klopp to have left out first-choice striker Roberto Firmino and to rest the likes of Fabinho and Naby Keïta.
However, the former Borussia Dortmund manager was reminded that you just can’t afford to make those decisions in Europe as his side trailed by two goals at half-time.
Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge (who missed a sitter) and Joël Matip were the surprise inclusions in the starting lineup for the Anfield club against Red Star, but all three had a torrid night in the Serbian capital and many Liverpool fans didn’t hold back on social media.
With Joe Gomez impressing for the Reds this season, it came as a surprise to many that Matip would be starting in Belgrade, a decision that drew plenty of criticism on Twitter, with some labelling it as ‘moronic’, while suggesting that Lallana shouldn’t have even been signed by the Reds.
Meanwhile others indicated that, despite their admiration for Klopp, they didn’t feel Liverpool would be considered as serious contenders if they started with Lallana and Matip.
The defeat was Liverpool’s third successive loss away in the Champions League, following their defeat to Napoli on match day two at the San Paolo and last season’s drubbing against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, and with below-par performances away from home in the competition, some hinted that the defeat against Red Star came as no surprise.
The Reds were without Xherdan Shaqiri, who didn’t travel with the squad for the encounter. The Swiss international has been bright since joining the Reds in the summer (involved in four goals in ten appearances) and many fans voiced their frustration at his absence, calling for him to be in the starting eleven in the Premier League against Fulham on Sunday.
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