Liverpool fans may have misjudged just how difficult their UEFA Champions League group is.
The Reds face Napoli, RB Salzburg and Genk in group E and fans were generally thrilled after the draw. Just check out the reaction on Twitter after the club formally confirmed the group. You can see the same sort of thing here, too.
You’ll see the word easy again, and again, and again. And they weren’t the only ones. ESPN responded to Liverpool’s draw by saying they should ‘coast through’, for one thing.
But after two games, things look a lot trickier.
First, there was defeat to Napoli in Naples in gameweek one. Liverpool didn’t play well and were outplayed at times – Napoli proved they’re a real threat to top the group.
And gameweek two brought its own scares. Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead in just 20 minutes of football, eventually scraping a 4-3 victory at home to Salzburg.
You’ve to to imagine that the return fixture there will be a very tough one – Salzburg look good. They suggested as much with their 6-2 win over Genk and confirmed it at Anfield.
The Reds are yet to face Genk but the Belgians drew 0-0 with Napoli on Wednesday, proving that they won’t give away anything for free. They didn’t simply cling on, either, as they managed 13 attempts against the Italian side.
In all, this group now looks tough. The games against Genk will decide just how tough it is – if Liverpool get six points, they’ll surely qualify with ease.
If they don’t – and Napoli haven’t – then the return games against their first two opponents will be huge. You’d still expect Liverpool to qualify from their Champions League group but they’ll definitely have to work for it.