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Champions League round-up: Liverpool top Group of Death after beating Red Star

TAGs: champions league, liverpool

Matchday three of the Champions League ends with Liverpool leading the tightest group in the competition after a stunning home win against Red Star Belgrade. 

Champions League Round-Up: Liverpool top Group of Death after beating Red StarWhen it comes to European clubs that have the Champions League /European Cup sewn into their DNA, Liverpool is amongst them. There was a time when the Merseysiders took their ferry all over Europe, annihilating everyone in their path, and while they may not be the dominant side they once were, they still come alive when Tony Britten’s classic anthem bursts through the tannoy.

Anfield was buzzing, as Anfield does on a Champions League night.

After Jürgen Klopp’s side beat Huddersfield 1-0, the German said he was winning ‘average’ matches for the first time in his career. He would have taken one of those after the disappointment in Naples. He got something else.

Liverpool stuffed the Serbians by four goals to nil.

The Liverpool partisans controlled the stands after UEFA banned the Serbian club from selling tickets for this one due to crowd trouble during their Play-Off victory over Salzburg. And the 11 in red controlled the action on the pitch.

The first goal came on the 20-minute mark. The outstanding Xherdan Shaqiri – a steal at £12m – sent Andrew Robertson scurrying into the left-hand side of the box, his cut back found Firmino, standing on the penalty circle, the Brazilian controlled the ball, feinted one way, went the other, and finished with his typical assuredness. It was the Brazilian’s 13th goal in 18 Champions League games, and his tenth goal in eight Anfield appearances.

The tie ended on 45-minutes.

Georgino Wijnaldum found Shaqiri, who found Mohamed Salah, who found the back of the net with a confident drive. And the Egyptian scored his 50th goal for the club in 65-appearances six minutes after the break.

Sadio Mané seemed to be running up a cul-de-sac when the Red Star captain elbowed him in the face while ushering the ball out for a corner. The referee pointed to the penalty spot. It was soft. The shot by Salah was anything but, and Liverpool was three to the good.

Liverpool was handed another dodgy penalty when the ref adjudged El Fardou Ben to have handled the ball in the box when it clearly struck him by accident. With Salah sitting on the bench by this point, Mané stepped up only to see his shot saved by the Red Star keeper.

Mané did get his goal with ten minutes remaining. Daniel Sturridge found the Senegalese star in the box, and he stretched his hamstring to full effect to poke the ball home.

It was another comprehensive win in Europe for Liverpool who has now scored 48 goals since the start of the 2017/18 season, ten more than their nearest rival, Champions Real Madrid, and I think they are a steal at 9/1.

In the group’s other game Paris Saint Germain (PSG) snatched an injury-time equaliser at the Parc des Princes against Napoli. The Italians had taken the lead in the 29th minute after Lorenzo Insigne had delightfully chipped the ball over the PSG keeper after a lovely through ball from the right from Jose Callejon.

It stayed that way until the 61st minute when Mario Rui deflected a Thomas Meunier cross into his own net, but Napoli retook the lead thanks to a close-range effort from Dries Mertens after some horror show defending from the French champions.

Then with time ticking away, Neymar picked the ball up on the centre circle and drove at the heart of the Napoli defence. The ball made it’s way to Ángel Di María on the right, and the man who was largely ineffective throughout the match curled a stunning equaliser into the back of the net, his sixth in six starts in the Champions League.

The draw means Liverpool top the Group of Death, a point clear of Napoli and two adrift from PSG.

Here are Wednesday night’s results, groups, and odds.

Results

PSG 2 v 2 Napoli
Dortmund 4 v 0 Atletico Madrid
Lokomotiv Moscow 1 v 3 Porto
Galatasaray 0 v 0 Schalke
Barcelona 2 v 0 Inter Milan
Liverpool 4 v 0 Red Star Belgrade
PSV 2 v 2 Spurs
Club Brugge 1 v1 Monaco

Group A

1. Dortmund – 9
2. Atletico – 6
3. Monaco – 1
4. Club Brugge – 1

Group Winner Odds

Dortmund – 2/5
Atletico – 2/1

Group B

1. Barcelona – 9
2. Inter Milan – 6
3. Spurs – 1
4. PSV – 1

Group Winner Odds

Barcelona – 1/20
Inter – 8/1

Group C

1. Liverpool – 6
2. Napoli – 5
3. PSG – 4
4. Red Star – 1

Group Winner Odds

Liverpool 8/11
PSG 5/2
Napoli 7/2

Group D

1. Porto – 7
2. Schalke – 5
3. Galatasaray – 4
4. Lokomotive – 0

Group Winner Odds

Porto 2/5
Schalke 5/2

Champions League Winning Odds

Man City – 9/2
Barcelona – 5/1
Juventus – 6/1
Bayern Munich – 9/1
Liverpool – 9/1
PSG – 10/1

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