Spartak Moscow 1–1 Liverpool: Reds rue missed chances in frustrating draw
The Reds settle for 1–1 draw away to Spartak Moscow after missing a host of chances.
A second successive Champions League draw has left the Reds wondering what could have been, after a result which really felt like a defeat.
Just like Sevilla a fortnight earlier, we were guilty of failing to convert our chances. We enjoyed 60% possession away from home this time, and fashioned 17 attempts on goal to Spartak’s 3, creating several clear-cut chances.
It was always going to be a tough fixture; going to the Otkrytie Arena to face the Russian Champions in front of the crazy Spartak Ultras.
We started brightly and looked to gain control of the game, but we have made a habit of conceding goals against the run of play this season and here was another one for the collection.
Emre Can was guilty of taking too long on the ball, which resulted in a swift Spartak counter. Philippe Coutinho ended up bringing down Aleksandr Samedov 25 yards out.
It was Spartak’s first attempt on goal, but Fernando stepped up to curl it beyond Loris Karius’ despairing dive. It looked like a worldie in real time, but after viewing the replay, Karius was flat-footed and definitely should’ve have reacted better.
With the cards stacked against us, we had to rely on our attack to bail us out yet again.
It was the first time this season that Klopp has been able to start the attacking quartet of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – dubbed the Fab Four – and many, including myself, hoped for a goal rush.
Despite some glimmers of promise, it was always going to take some time for them to fire on all cylinders, and so it proved.
When they did click it prompted Liverpool’s equaliser, Coutinho and Mane combined inside the area before the Brazilian expertly despatched the ball into the roof of the net, beyond Spartak goalkeeper Artem Rebrov.
It was back to square one, and Liverpool should have capitalised on their superiority afterward.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first, with Liverpool bossing both possession and territory but the finishing was never particularly convincing.
Roberto Firmino, substitute Daniel Sturridge and Mohamed Salah all squandered glorious opportunities during a frenetic finale.
This was one of the rare occasions when fingers couldn’t be pointed at Liverpool’s much maligned backline.
Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip were mostly untroubled, but did make some key tackles and interceptions to keep Luiz Adriano quiet throughout. Alberto Moreno and Trent Alexander-Arnold spent more time in the opposition’s half than their own, which is sign of how things played out.
The depleted Russian side, without their top goalscorer Quincy Promes, were average throughout and offered little going forward.
Nonetheless, the Reds were guilty of not taking their chances. Not surprising because after all, their story of failing to turn domination into goals is nothing new to us this season.
In our last six games, we’ve had 121 shots, and netted just six times, securing just one win.
With Sevilla beating Maribor 3–0, we are now two points adrift in Group E. No one can dispute we should be standing top of Group E with six points out of six, but we’re not. Our ruthlessness, or lack of it, has cost us.
The double-header with Maribor is now pivotal, and it is imperative that we get 6 points from the two games. Nothing less.
Liverpool’s wait to truly make their mark back among Europe’s elite goes on, slowly but surely.