The Champions League reaches and starts the second round of group stage matches. Liverpool welcomes a team they bullied in their own backyard before the break from European football. Maribor was on the receiving end of an under fire Liverpool team, who needed to show up after some disappointing results leading up to the Slovakian tie.
Since the record-breaking humiliation, the Reds have seen an unspeakable showing against title contenders, Spurs and then the boys bounce back with a marvellous second half display at Anfield against Huddersfield. The first 45 minutes, some of the abrasions left by the Wembley clash the week before, were still visible. After the halftime break a much healthy Liverpool team took to the pitch.
Defensive problems took a leave from the Anfield side and was not on display in their home encounter. Klopp’s men looked a solid unit. One can go onto say, Liverpool was organised and compact at protecting their goalmouth. After failing for 45 minutes, the Reds’ frontline got to business and started putting the game away. This was enough evidence the Wembley misery was put to bed and they could now start building on a better run of games.
Despite all the horror surrounding the Reds during Halloween, the Reds sit on top of their Champions League Group E, but sit there on a stiff and uncomfortable chair. Any slip up by Liverpool, Spartak Moscow or Sevilla, will be costly with the group so tightly knitted.
Another win will put the Reds in a peaceful seat and help them dictate their own journey towards the round of 16. Maribor at Anfield should be a team and game where Liverpool takes all the points and nothing less. No matter the team, defensive line, or who’s in the poles, the Anfield side should be recording their second victory over the Slovakian outfit.
Group E standings with Liverpool leading the way:
Klopp words during the Maribor press conference:
The manager spoke of all the players missing from action, and that we could and should expect Liverpool to field a strong eleven at the same time. He also mentioned, the team’s facing few problems at the back with Gomez feeling a bit fatigued after Saturday’s clash and Moreno was suffering with some minor cramps.
Philippe Coutinho will be 100% missing from tonight’s fixture after the manager admitted, it’s not worth the risk to play players not fully fit. So we can forget about a return to football for the little magician. Lovren has been hit with a series of bad events after being the reason Liverpool was the bad event, when they visited Spurs.
He was unfortunate to fall victim to a host of incidents off the pitch, because of some despicable and appalling behaviour by incompetent football fans. That plus missing the starting line up just before kick off on Saturday afternoon has made him a major concern for later this evening. He was to be assessed today ahead of the clash to determine if he will feature or not.
Klopp went on to say, if the match was not that important because of how close the teams are in Group E, he could maybe think of rotating the starting eleven. However, if those who are feeling the effects of too many matches sit out, there is capable cover on the bench to fill up the space on the pitch.
The hurricane that has swept the Klopp army over still appears in certain areas, on and off the pitch. Klopp knows and emphasised the importance of Anfield remaining a fortress and that we do one better than our first European fixture, where we drew to a tough Sevilla side.
Liverpool’s last three European fixtures:
Maribor’s last three European fixtures:
Liverpool players missing for Champions League clash:
- Nathaniel Clyne [Back injury]
- Sadio Mane [Hamstring injury]
- Adam Lallana [Hamstring injury]
- Philippe Coutinho [Muscle strain]
- Dejan Lovren [Doubtful]
Maribor players missing for Champions League clash:
- Denis Sme [Operation]
- Luka Zahovic [Foot injury]
Liverpool’s predicted starting eleven:
Goalkeeper: Loris Karius
Defenders: RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold; CB – Joel Matip; CB – Ragnar Klavan; LB – Andrew Robertson
Midfielders: CM – James Milner [C]; CM – Emre Can; CM – Georginio Wijnaldum
Wingers: RW – Mohamed Salah; LW – Roberto Firmino
Striker: ST — Daniel Sturridge