Red Star Belgrade maintained their lead at the top of the Serbian SuperLiga with victory over FK Rad ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash at Liverpool.
The Reds welcome their Group C opponents to Anfield for a game already notable due to the absence of the visiting supporters, who are barred from the stadium.
But Vladan Milojevic’s side will still be confident of taking the fight to the Premier League opposition, after an impressive 3-1 win at the weekend.
Red Star entertained Rad in Belgrade on Saturday evening, with Milojevic resting the likes of Vujadin Savic, Milan Rodic, El Fardou Ben and former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin.
It mattered little, as a Richmond Boakye brace and Marko Gobeljic’s third goal of the season was enough to secure the three points.
Nenad Marinkovic scored a consolation effort on 78 minutes, but it was too late to claw back into the game.
Milojevic was forced to withdraw both Filip Stojkovic and Branko Jovicic, but according to Serbian outlet Mondo these were precautionary substitutions.
With this victory, Crvena Zvezda kept up their lead at the top of the SuperLiga, where they sit seven points clear of second-placed Radnicki Nis despite their own 2-0 win over FK Zemun.
Remarkably, Red Star have lost just once this season so far, stretching back to their first Champions League qualifier against Spartaks Jurmala in July.
That came against Paris Saint-Germain, and before that they had gone 19 games unbeaten, including 13 victories, and since that 6-1 thrashing in France they have won both of their games.
Comorian forward Ben is their top scorer with nine goals in 15 games, with Boakye behind him with five and winger Nemanja Radonjic scoring four.
Red Star held Napoli to a frustrating 0-0 draw back in September, with Carlo Ancelotti describing them in the aftermath as “professionals at time-wasting and diving.”
It is likely they will take a similarly pessimistic approach on Merseyside, but Jurgen Klopp certainly cannot underestimate Wednesday’s opponents as their fine form continues.
Red Star Belgrade XI vs. FK Rad: Borjan; Stojkovic, Degenek, Babic, Gobeljic; Krsticic, Jovicic; Srnic, Ebecilio, Simic; Boakye