Liverpool Stunned by Red Star Belgrade in 2-0 Champions League Loss

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2018

Red Star Belgrade's Serbian forward Milan Pavkov (C) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Cameroonian defender Joel Matip   during the UEFA Champions League Group C second-leg football match between Red Star Belgrade and Liverpool FC at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade on November 6, 2018. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool slipped to a surprising 2-0 defeat away to Red Star Belgrade in Group C of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.  

The hosts took all three points at the Marakana thanks to a pair of goals from Milan Pavkov. It means Liverpool are now at risk of not qualifying from a group that also features Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain.


Alisson Becoming Liability for Jurgen Klopp

After a fast start, Alisson Becker is in danger of becoming yet another liability between the posts for manager Jurgen Klopp. The goalkeeper who cost the Reds £66.9 million began brilliantly in a Liverpool shirt, keeping six clean sheets in his first nine games in the Premier League.

Lately, though, there have been reasons to worry about the Brazil international stopper. He was at fault for Pavkov's second goal, taking an awkward dive and appearing to use the wrong hand when attempting to stop the striker's long-range drive.

Alisson was at fault for Red Star's second goal as part of shaky display between the posts.
Alisson was at fault for Red Star's second goal as part of shaky display between the posts.Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Aside from the specifics of the dive, Alisson's timing appeared off, as both he and centre-back Virgil van Dijk seemed surprised by the shot. Questions also have to be asked about Alisson's footwork after he wasn't set right to shift enough of his body weight the right way, and was also far enough off line to invite an effort from distance.

The bigger concern for Klopp is this isn't Alisson's only error recently. He began the match looking jittery when dealing with deliveries into the box, particularly from set-pieces.

Alisson hesitated about coming off his line to contest Marko Marin's corner, helping to leave Pavkov with a free header for the opener.

Issues in Belgrade could be part of a troubling emerging pattern for Liverpool's club-record signing.

The South American made a reckless charge off his line during Saturday's 1-1 draw away to Arsenal in the Premier League. His erratic positional sense allowed Alexandre Lacazette to strike into an empty net on the turn.

Mistakes are becoming more frequent from Liverpool's record-summer signing.
Mistakes are becoming more frequent from Liverpool's record-summer signing.IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

A few recent errors don't quite condemn Alisson to the status of accident-prone keepers like the men he's replaced in the Liverpool goal, Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. Yet costly gaffes like these have to concern a manager who saw his team undone in last season's Champions League final thanks to mistakes between the sticks.


What's Next?

Liverpool host Fulham at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday before a return to Champions League action away to PSG on Wednesday, November 28.

Red Star return to domestic action in the Serbian SuperLiga, with fixtures against Dinamo Vranje and Radnicki Nis, before facing Napoli away in this competition on the 28th.