Almost three decades on, Red Star don't have a household name in their squad and needed to qualify for the group stage through the playoffs.
The 24-year-old, whose career has stalled badly following his £20 million move to Anfield from Benfica in 2014, was caught liking a tweet celebrating Red Star's victory over Liverpool. In his stead, Daniel Sturridge fitted into Liverpool's attacking triumvirate alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Salah and Van Dijk then wasted late chances, as Red Star dug deep to open the door to Napoli or PSG in the hunt for first place.
Milan Pavkov scores a spectacular second goal.
Now, they see themselves second in the table but will undoubtedly need to get results from Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain in their remaining matches.
However, defeat means they can not really afford to lose either of their two final round-robin matches against PSG and Napoli, who are both impressive sides.
"You can't give teams that start", Liverpool midfielder James Milner said.
Liverpool FC have taken six points from their opening three Champions League fixtures and they will be hoping to claim the win on Tuesday night in Serbia to take a step towards reaching the first knockout round of Europe's elite club competition.
They got a hard group stage draw when PSG and Napoli came out of the hat with them but they continued their excellent European form with an opening round win against the Ligue 1 champions to put themselves in pole position.
Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic was delighted with the performance, the first Champions League group stage win for a Serbian side.
"They time-wasted and we lost momentum but to come in 2-0 down wasn't like us and we've got to take full responsibility and make sure that doesn't happen again".
Monaco, a semifinalist in 2017, slumped to a 4-0 home loss to Club Brugge, who registered their first win in Group A.