Liverpool's defeat puts them in danger in Group C
By Joe Harker
After a tough test against Arsenal at the weekend Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chose to rest some of his key players in the Champions League game against Red Star Belgrade, it was a decision that backfired as they lost 2-0 and the race to qualify from Group C became very close.
Liverpool and Napoli are tied on six points in their group, though Napoli hold the top spot because they beat Klopp's team earlier in the campaign and thus have a superior head to head record. PSG are one point below them and Red Star at the bottom of the table on four points. Liverpool's final two games are against PSG and Napoli meaning their fate is still in their hands.
If Liverpool beat PSG in their next game all should be well for Liverpool. It will put them on nine points, more than PSG will be able to get. They would only fail to qualify if they lost their final game and Red Star beat both Napoli and PSG, or if Liverpool draw against Napoli and have an inferior goal difference to Red Star. Still keeping up so far?
A defeat to PSG would be a very different prospect for Liverpool. It would most likely leave them needing to beat Napoli in their final game to progress, as most would expect PSG to beat Red Star. If that happens then Liverpool could be headed for the Europa League instead, an ignominious exit for the team that made it to the Champions League final last season.
If they want to turn things around it will require them to break their current duck of losing away games in the Champions League. Liverpool have lost their last three and face a trip to Paris next for a clash with the French champions. Klopp's team won their last meeting, the opening fixture of their Champions League campaign, but will face a tougher test in Paris.
Klopp has warned his players they are staring a Champions League exit in the face and need to improve. They are in a group of death where a big European side are going to be knocked out and have to do everything to ensure it isn't them. He rested a few players but most of the team he picked against Red Star are Liverpool regulars and they have proven that they are better than being knocked out in the group stages.
Red Star Belgrade may have dealt a blow to Liverpool's hopes of qualifying from their Champions League group but the best thing they can do for the Reds is to win again. Ultimately though Liverpool still hold their own fate in their hands. It is a tough ask to go to Paris and win but it is necessary if they want to stay in control of their own destiny.