Red Star Belgrade

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Pavkov’s early double sinks Liverpool in Serbia

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  • Reds outshoot hosts 23-10
  • Have 72 percent possession
  • Pavkov scores twice

This didn’t go well for Liverpool.

Two goals in the first half hour were enough for hosts Red Star Belgrade, who topped Liverpool 2-0 in UEFA Champions League play at Rajko Mitić Stadium on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Milan Pavkov scored twice in seven minutes including a remarkable rip while being bodied by Georginio Wijnaldum to give Red Star four points on the campaign, two fewer than leaders Liverpool with two matches to play. From the BBC:

“You can’t give teams the start, the crowd is big for them and it’s been a long time since they’ve been in the Champions League,” said James Milner after the game. “Napoli found it tough when they came here and we knew it was going to be a tough place to come.”

The Reds will go beneath PSG or Napoli should one of them win their match in Italy, but will still lead the group if the two draw.

Liverpool travels to PSG on Nov. 28 and is home to Napoli on Dec. 11.

LIVE, Champions League: Red Star Belgrade v. Liverpool

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Liverpool’s trip to face Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday will test the mettle of Jurgen Klopp‘s side as a hostile, raucous stadium awaits them in Serbia’s capital city.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Klopp has already decided against having Xherdan Shaqiri as part of his squad due to political reasons and the Liverpool boss knows a win would be huge as they aim to progress past Napoli and PSG in Group C. Liverpool face that duo in their final two group games, so three points in Belgrade is crucial.

Elsewhere in the early kick offs, Monaco host Club Brugge and Thierry Henry’s side must secure all three points if they’re going to have any chance of making the Round of 16. The Ligue 1 strugglers lost their manager Leonardo Jardim after a poor start to the season and Henry’s first UCL game in charge of his former club only yielded a point at Brugge. If Monaco fail to win and Atletico Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund in the other Group A game, Monaco’s UCL dreams will be over for another year.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while below is the look at the full schedule for the early games on Tuesday with both games kicking off at 12:55 p.m. ET.

Tuesday’s early UCL schedule

Group A
AS Monaco v. Club Brugge

Group C
Red Star Belgrade vs. Liverpool

Liverpool leave Shaqiri out due to political reasons

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Xherdan Shaqiri will not play for Liverpool at Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have decided against Shaqiri traveling with the squad due to the reception he may get in Serbia’s capital city due to his Kosvan-Albanian heritage. Serbia doesn’t recognize its former province Kosovo, where Shaqiri was born, as an independent state.

The situation could also be a little more dangerous due to Shaqiri scoring a late winner for Switzerland against Serbia in the 2018 World Cup and then celebrating by making a fluttering eagle symbol with his hands. That symbol was in reference to ethnic Albanians and Shaqiri was fined by FIFA, along with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichsteiner, for making the gesture.

With reports that Shaqiri would be the subject of protests in Belgrade, it has been decided he will not travel.

“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all,” Klopp said. “We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else.

“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this. Shaq is our player, we love him, and he will play for us a lot of times, but not on Tuesday.”

Liverpool hangs four on Red Star Belgrade

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  • Salah scores twice
  • Firmino, Mane, too
  • Reds 2nd in group
  • Off to Serbia next

Mohamed Salah scored twice to join Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the score sheet as Liverpool eased past Red Star Belgrade 4-0 in the UEFA Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday.

The win coupled with Napoli’s draw with PSG puts Liverpool on top of the group, leading Napoli by a point and sitting two clear of PSG at the midpoint of the group stage.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Red Star had solid possession early, but Liverpool supplied the first truly dangerous chance through Mohamed Salah. Red Star keeper Milan Borjan, the Canadian national teamer, smothered the ball.

And Liverpool gained control of the match by the quarter hour, moments after Red Star defender Srdan Babic missed an unmarked chance to give the visitors a shock lead.

It was Firmino who reaped the benefits of outstanding work by Xherdan Shaqiri who fed Andy Robertson down the right. The Scot then found Firmino, who thumped a shot from past Borjan from inside the penalty spot.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane made a fine combination to spring Mohamed Salah 1v1 with Borjan, but the goalkeeper made the stop as the linesman’s flag raised into the sky.

Robertson flubbed a chance to put an open look on target as the match neared halftime, but Salah made good on his first half promise by finishing a chance to make it 2-0.

The Reds earned a penalty in the 50th minute through Mane, who took embellished a high foul. Salah converted with aplomb to make it 3-0.

A deliberate handball gave the Reds a chance to make it 4-0, but Salah did not take the effort as Mane commandeered it. He was saved, and put the rebound nowhere near the goal.

You’d call it karmic, but the Senegalese star scored in the 79th minute to get his goal.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

WATCH: Firmino puts Liverpool ahead of Red Star Belgrade

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Red Star Belgrade butchered a surprise chance to go ahead at Anfield, and the hosts made them pay within moments.

Roberto Firmino reaped the rewards of a fine set-up by Xherdan Shaqiri and Andy Robertson, and Liverpool opened up a 1-0 lead in their UEFA Champions League match against the Serbian powers.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Shaqiri starts the play with an interceptions, then playing an inch-perfect pass into the box for Robertson.

The Liverpool left back cuts a ball toward the spot, and Firmino takes a touch before his slightly-deflected shot wrong foots Canadian keeper Milan Borjan to put the Reds on top.

A win guarantees Liverpool a spot in Group C’s Top Two at the midpoint of the group stage.