Too early to expect a runaway Reds win

LONDON • Liverpool are not taking anything for granted today when they welcome Maribor to Anfield a fortnight after thrashing the Slovenian minnows 7-0 away.

The Reds are in prime position to qualify for the last 16 after taking five points from their opening three games.

They are top of Group E with five points, ahead of Spartak Moscow on goal difference.

But with Sevilla on four points, Liverpool midfielder James Milner believes qualification could go down to the wire.

"It's not going to be easy," he said at a press conference yesterday. "They will defend in numbers and hit us on the break. The group could go down to goal difference."

The 31-year-old admitted Liverpool have not been consistent this season and insisted Maribor cannot be underestimated.

"They will want to put things right after our 7-0 win. We have to be at the top of our game," he added.

Said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "Last time (against Maribor), things went very well. We got the second, third and fourth goals very quickly.

"But then everything was bad after our performance against Tottenham. I never ignore performances, the good or bad ones. We have to prove ourselves on the pitch all the time."

Liverpool lost 1-4 to Spurs in the league at Wembley before returning to winning ways at home against Huddersfield.

Klopp suggested that defender Dejan Lovren and playmaker Philippe Coutinho are unlikely to feature while he will not take any risks, with forward Roberto Firmino suffering from cramp after the 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is eager to make a big impact if he gets his first start in the competition. He has made three substitute appearances but has yet to score.

"You want to be playing at this level. I am ready for when the opportunity comes," he said.

REUTERS

LIVERPOOL V MARIBOR

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Too early to expect a runaway Reds win'. Print Edition | Subscribe