Liverpool must be at 100% against Red Star: van Dijk

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has warned his teammates not to take Red Star Belgrade lightly, as the Reds aim to supplant Napoli at the top of Group C.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has warned his teammates not to take Red Star Belgrade lightly, as the Reds aim to supplant Napoli at the top of Group C.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has called on his teammates to improve their form as they prepare to host 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League today.

The Reds are aiming to get their European campaign back on track after a late 1-0 defeat by Napoli in their previous Group C encounter.

They head into the clash after a fortunate 1-0 Premier League win at Huddersfield on Saturday.

And while the Serbian outfit - who are competing in European football's top-tier competition for the first time in 26 years - have yet to win this campaign, the Netherlands international is not underestimating the opposition.

"They are in the Champions League, the best competition in Europe apart from the Premier League, and it will be a hard game," he said.

"We will need to be 100 per cent and we will be. Against Huddersfield, we should have done even better. Obviously we kept a clean sheet, which is all good, but we could have made it easier."

Napoli lead the group on four points, ahead of Liverpool and French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who have three points each.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is aware that six points from the double-header with Red Star, who are currently embroiled in a Champions League match-fixing scandal, could be crucial in their bid to qualify for the last 16.

"It's about feeling right. Feeling confident. Game development. To fight in each game until the last minute. We can do a lot of things better than we did so far, but the place we have created is a really good one. Football-wise and point-wise," the German said at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

Klopp also revealed that forward Sadio Mane, who missed the away clash with the Terriers after suffering a thumb injury on international duty with Senegal, was fit to play against Red Star. But he ruled out midfielders Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson.

"Sadio's good in training. He trained normal. If nothing happens, he is in contention (for a place)," he added.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Liverpool must be at 100% against Red Star: van Dijk'. Print Edition | Subscribe