Today’s national media finds lots of negatives & one positive!

Today’s national media finds lots of negatives & one positive!

 The national media didn’t hold back in their condemnation of Liverpool’s, and the Liverpool manager’s, performances in Belgrade last night  But if you looked hard enough there was one positive analysis. Yes really.  We’ve plucked the salient messages from each of today’s morning newspapers  It makes from grim reading – but if you get through to the end there IS one uplifting report The Times – Paul Joyce: “Another insipid, abject display on their Champions League travels”  By the end, the focus had long since shifted from Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence and instead fell on those Liverpool players who had no such mitigation for going missing  Jürgen Klopp had said that he did not want any distractions for his side here and so all that was left to see was the paucity of another insipid, abject display on their Champions League travels  More worrying for Klopp should be the reality that a theme is emerging with his midfield powder-puff and unable to take control in away games when it matters, regardless of the personnel  It was depressingly familiar in Naples last month when losing 1-0 and while such limitations are not always punished domestically, Liverpool have not truly convinced outside of their home comforts in the Premier League either Daily Mail – Dominic King: “Liverpool have now lost three consecutive away games in Europe for the first time since 1979 ”  Don’t be kidded by the fact they dominated possession in the second period and spent the last 15 minutes launching balls towards Van Dijk, who became a fifth striker at times  Red Star were never at their wits’ end, remaining disciplined and tenacious to the last  If one moment summed up this abject Liverpool display, it came when the out-of-sorts Mane somehow passed the ball straight out of play, rather than down the touchline, while barely two yards from Klopp  The manner in which heads dropped at that point was telling and Liverpool have now lost three consecutive away games in Europe for the first time since 1979 Chris Bascombe – Daily Telegraph: “Alisson looked suspiciously Karius-esque .”  This was Jurgen Klopp’s side suffering what they inflicted on others last season – surrendering to the sound The 2-0 defeat means they are in serious risk of Champions League elimination. Defeat in Paris later this month would put them on the brink  There is no room for error in the group now. It was a shocking performance, probably the most timid of Klopp’s reign in a rowdy, unnerving arena where they had to be at their most resilient  Hype about intimidation levels was not overcooked. The home fans nearly combusted with excitement when Pavkov pounced on Milner’s wayward pass and slammed in the second on 29 minutes – Alisson looking suspiciously Karius-esque in his failure to deal with an ambitious strike from distance Andy Hunter – The Guardian: “Klopp’s selection looked questionable and complacent”  Klopp’s selection, having omitted Xherdan Shaqiri to avoid any political distractions, looked questionable and complacent from the start  Roberto Firmino’s rare absence from the starting line-up was understandable, with the Brazilian fatigued of late, but the introduction of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Joël Matip added to their disjointed approach Mark Jones – Mirror: “Hapless Fulham might have been better suited to the rusty talents of Adam Lallana and Sturridge ”  We all know that there are squad players, but there are also squad games for those squad players to play in  And while this could easily come across as trying to be wise after the event, an away game in a hostile Belgrade environment might not be one of those when it is compared to say a home game against the side bottom of the Premier League on Sunday.  Because that’s when the Reds host a currently hapless Fulham in a fixture that might have been better suited to the rusty talents of Adam Lallana and Sturridge  At least judging by what we saw here during a first half Sturridge didn’t resume from And finally, the positive outlook from The Independent’s Mark Critchley  This was quite simply the most disjointed, incoherent and error-strewn performance of Liverpool’s season so far It produced this campaign’s first truly poor result and a fully deserved defeat.  The statistic passed around the Rajko Midic Stadium’s press room most on Tuesday night was that, though the perception of this team remains a positive one, Liverpool have now only won three of their last nine outings, suffering just as many defeats  Should that be a worry? In short, no.  Though it would be easy to overreact to such form, it must be placed in context  As soon as the Champions League draw was made in August, there was an acknowledgement that Liverpool’s group was among the most challenging and that the weeks between late September and mid-October would make for an intimidating schedule  Klopp’s side emerged from that long period of games against the likes of Paris St-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City having only been beaten in a low-key cup tie and on the trip to Napoli  When asking why Liverpool might have “lost their mojo”, as Klopp put it in Belgrade, their recent run of opponents must be taken into account The ‘three wins in nine’ statistic may sound poor but it essentially equates three credible draws against Chelsea, City and Arsenal with defeats Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8Cancel Play now  This time last year, statistical sleights of hand were not needed to question Liverpool’s form By first week of November, Klopp had already watched his side suffer severe beatings at City and Tottenham They were also held to frustrating draws by Watford, Spartak Moscow, Newcastle United and Manchester United  A year on, however, Liverpool have made a habit of turning those frustrating draws against lesser opposition into ugly victories, as they did at Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Huddersfield Town already At the same time, a better-equipped defence has eradicated heavy losses to top clubs  The most encouraging news, though, should be that Liverpool’s path into the knock-out stages remains wide open, despite the surprise defeat in Belgrade  The draw between Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain in Group C’s other Tuesday match means winning in Paris and any sort of Napoli result when they entertain Red Star would guarantee Liverpool’s place in the round of 16

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