Red Star Belgrade maybe little known and be underdogs, but on Tuesday night when they hosted Liverpool at Rajko Mitic Stadium, they won the battle of the Reds.
The Serbian club. in the words of Andy Robertson, were beasts in their own stadium and overran Liverpool 2-0.
Liverpool endured what can only be described as a mechanical and mental breakdown in the Rajko Mitic Stadium.
Following the defeat, Klopp’s side are in serious risk of elimination. A defeat when they visit Paris Saint Germaine later this month would put them on the brink.
Red Star looked a limited side when they were defeated 4-0 at Anfield. They were two up before the half-hour this time, Milan Pavkov inflicting the damage.
He headed the first from a corner, sparking the kind of pitch invasion usually greeting last-minute winners. It betrayed the pre-match emotions of the host, who believed the throaty roars were needed to repel one of Europe’s best teams.
They nearly combusted with excitement when Pavkov pounced on Milner’s wayward pass and slammed in the second on 29 minutes – Alisson looking suspiciously Kariuse-sque in his failure to deal with an ambitious strike.
There were some first half chances. Daniel Sturridge and Mohamed Salah volley over from close range, but there was a lack of purpose as much as poise.
Inevitable half-time changes helped, as did what must presume was the volcanic eruption in the visitors’ dressing room. The reality is Red Star invited more pressure in the second half and there was little penetrative threat.
Salah went close a few times, but there would be no rightback.
All the conviction and confidence on parade by Liverpool’s front three in Europe a year was absent – and in truth has been for a while.