Liverpool looked uninspired in their 2-0 defeat to Red Star Belgrade, and the Reds now sit in a precarious position where they may fall down to the Europa League or crash out of Europe altogether.
Liverpool needed a positive result in Serbia to gain momentum into their last two fixtures, but all hope is not lost. Liverpool still sits in second thanks to a draw between Napoli and PSG, their final two opponents of the group.
Liverpool’s next Champions League game will be October 28 when they travel to Paris to face star-studded PSG. Their first meeting was a thrilling 3-2 Liverpool victory at Anfield, but PSG is also fighting for their Champions League life. A lot rides on Champions League success for the French side that is expected to waltz through to their domestic title, so it will not be an easy ask of Liverpool to take points in Paris.
But, several sports betting firms are projecting some sort of result for Jürgen Klopp’s side, and some pundits may even side with Liverpool against the unsettled superstars in Paris. Regardless, Liverpool and Klopp will have to make multiple changes if they hope to turn around their Champions League results.
Klopp was visibly unhappy with his player’s efforts and did not hold back in his criticism during a post-match press conference. When asked to point out where things went wrong, the German manager said, “I only have ten fingers”.
Klopp may have found dozens of errors, but Liverpool supporters should not give up all hope, but the loss does mean it will be a stressful time for the Anfield faithful. In fact, it might all come down to the last match day, a home tie against Italian side Napoli.
In Naples, Napoli defeated Liverpool 1-0 through a late Lorenzo Insigne goal. Liverpool played toe-to-toe with Napoli, but they will likely need to win their last match at home if they want to guarantee a place in the knockout stage of the competition.
When the second Red Star goal rocketed into the back of the net, Liverpool fans may have seen doom, gloom and a Europa League knockout tie, but Liverpool’s destiny is still firmly in their own hands. Wins against PSG and Napoli would guarantee a spot in the first knockout round.
But, if they do slip and lose one of the matches, their fate will likely rest in the hands of Red Star Belgrade. Belgrade will travel to Naples and then host PSG in their final two matches, and they will be gunning for at least a third-place finish after their shock victory over Liverpool. With four points, they still have a shot at qualifying from the group and will be throwing everything into their last two matches.
Liverpool’s Group C is shaping up to be the most entertaining group down the stretch, to the chagrin of favourites Liverpool and PSG. One of the teams will felt hard-done-by a third-place finish and entry into the Europa League.
If Liverpool drops to third place, they will look back on their night in Belgrade as a missed chance to wrest control of the group. Or, it might remain a footnote on another successful European campaign.