Mohamed Salah’s 50th goal in English football and the Reds’ 200th victory on the road in the Premier League era were a perfect introduction for the Champions League clash against the Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp might be pleased to be “winning average games” for the first time in his career following his team’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Huddersfield but the Reds will need to up their game in order to remain in the running for major honours this season.
Klopp’s men need to be winning average games with more ease in order to gain mental strength and boost optimism both within the squad and around it.
With another potentially ‘average’ match on the horizon, Liverpool have a chance to hit top gear again, following a string of low key performances and results which have not been up to the standards Jürgen Klopp has introduced at Anfield.
Off the back of a four-match scoreless streak which ended at the weekend, Mohamed Salah has – despite some criticism and scrutiny – once again proved his value for Liverpool.
The Egyptian managed to break free with a diagonal run in the 24th minute when he latched on to Xherdan Shaqiri’s pass to fire a first-time shot into the opposite corner of Huddersfield’s goal and tuck the ball in off the post.
Mohamed Salah ended his goal drought in formidable fashion, earning a total of 2,367 points with Twelve. He put in quite an effort with his runs and dribbles, while also doing his best to recover the ball and contribute to his team’s defensive play against a tough Huddersfield side.
The Egyptian international was one of the most notable performers at the weekend and will be expected to be the one leading the line against Crvena Zvezda in midweek.
The Serbian giants suffered a devastating 6-1 loss in Paris which put them in the spotlight due to alleged match-fixing. The French media outlet L’Equipe accused a Crvena Zvezda official of placing a hefty bet on his team losing by a five-goal margin and the Belgrade behemoths have been desperate to prove their innocence. The Serbs had been unbeaten in 34 matches before their PSG drubbing and should not be taken lightly.
With their international status at stake, Crvena Zvezda will be highly motivated at Anfield. Their willingness to fight could be a card Liverpool should play on in order to get back to the level we want them to be at – playing their trademark high-tempo possession game.
Back to Their Usual Best
With their last four matches in all competitions each seeing under 2.5 goals, Liverpool’s efficiency has shown a worrying decreasing trend. The Huddersfield match was well below the season’s average when it comes to both shot quality and expected goals. The latter in particular has shown a distinctive downward trend across the Reds’ last four Premier League matches.
The main reason for such a low result has arguably been Liverpool’s lack of a proper cutting edge in the final third. The Reds’ poor passing in key areas against Huddersfield was frustrating for Jürgen Klopp – and fans alike – and the final pass is one segment Liverpool will be looking to improve against Crvena Zvezda when they are expected to dominate possession.
The @LFC effective ball possession – as illustrated by @twelve_football – was another worrying aspect of the #Reds‘ play over the past couple of weeks and the forthcoming #ChampionsLeague match against #CrvenaZvezda must be used to get back to the proper #Liverpool way. pic.twitter.com/JoZkAHxaNE
— Miloš Marković (@MilosMarkovic) October 21, 2018
Not only will the forthcoming match be a perfect opportunity for Liverpool to get back on track with their trademark high-tempo football but it will be a great chance for Mohamed Salah to break his Champions League duck this season.