Liverpool 2–2 Sevilla: Reds held at Anfield on Champions League return
Liverpool’s first game in the Champions League since 2014 ended in a 2–2 draw to Sevilla at Anfield.
Liverpool’s first game back in the Champions League was the most “Liverpool” performance you’ll ever see. A great display of attacking talent, undone by the inability to kill the game off, and shoddy pieces of defending.
It was an electric night at Anfield, with the crowd crackling with excitement and the iconic “You’ll Never Walk Alone” ringing in the air before kick-off. A lovely feeling it was, to see the 5-time champions being back where belong, in Europe’s elite club competition.
All of that optimism was punctured within five minutes, when Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder tapped in from close range.
It was a terrible miscue from Dejan Lovren while trying to make a routine clearance, which led to Sevilla’s first goal in only the 5th minute.
We were further punished for not adding to our 2–1 advantage when the impressive Argentine midfielder Joaquin Correa cut through the Liverpool defence and curled home a cool finish to clinch a point with 18 minutes remaining.
Funnily enough, we are very good at limiting our opposition’s chances. However, the chances we do concede, lead to goals. Today, we limited Sevilla to only three shots, two of them resulting to goals.
Klopp will no doubt be told once again of the glaring weakness in his squad, his defence. It is not just one problem, but a whole number of problems to look at. And it is something not just one defender (Van Dijk) can fix.
To make matters worse, Joe Gomez was sent off in the dying minutes of the game after a second bookable offence.
Liverpool have conceded eight goals in three league games so far this season, and their problems at the back were in evidence again at Anfield. They have now failed to keep a clean sheet in 11 of their past 12 Champions League contests.
An Elite Attacking Trio
Our attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah once again proved their worth with an attacking display full of speed, running, and creative movement, which had Sevilla on the ropes.
After conceding, we started to impose ourselves on the game and finally made our breakthrough when Roberto Firmino finished off a fine team move from close range in the 21st minute. Alberto Moreno played a slick one-two with Henderson and the Spanish left-back’s cross put the equaliser on a plate for Firmino.
We continued to push forward and were rewarded as Mohamed Salah’s strike looped in via a huge deflection off Simon Kjaer, after knocking Steven Nzonzi off the ball in the 37th minute.
It was a great attacking display, especially in the first half. Even the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Alberto Moreno were exceptional going forward. Our front trio are a constant threat in every game. If we are able to keep them fit, we will be a force this season.
Inability to kill the game
However for all our attacking talent, we failed to take the many chances we created. For failing to kill the game off, we were punished.
Firmino was presented with the chance to give the home side breathing space before half-time, but struck his penalty against the post. Chances for Can, Wijnaldum and Moreno were also spurned. We could’ve easily been 3 or 4 goals ahead, but instead, we had to settle for a 2–2 draw. Not even the arrival of Philippe Coutinho could get us over the line.
I may sound like a broken record but, in order to proceed comfortably into the next round, we have to somehow cut down on our defensive errors and at the same time, take our chances to kill off games. As we saw today, we were clearly the better side for most parts of the game. It was definitely a case of 2 points dropped rather than 1 point gained.