Liverpool came away from their first Champions League group stage fixture with a draw. Sevilla were already tipped to be the strongest opposition in the whole of Group E that Liverpool would have to face and they seem to have lived up to that, without defeating us.
Coutinho had recovered from injury completely, recently being declared fully fit and was ready to play by the time we went up against Manchester City in our last Premier League fixture, but he did not feature in that squad at all, with good reason. It was clear by the time we returned to Anfield for our match with Sevilla that Coutinho had been rested so he could be used in the Champions League. The Brazilian was given an amazingly warm welcome back for a player that has handed in a transfer request and would rather be playing for Barcelona.
Karius would be the first choice goalkeeper, with Mignolet resigned to the substitute bench after our embarrassing defeat by Manchester City which saw him concede five goals.
Joe Gomez would get to start in front of the goalkeeper but the rest of the squad looked as it had done in our most recent fixture.
Liverpool would come out fighting with Emre Can even taking a shot on goal which was saved in the 2nd minute, but were not prepared for Sevilla to take a surprise lead within the first 5 minutes. Sergio Escudero would run down on the left wing and his low cross was completely missed by Liverpool’s defence even as Dejan Lovren attempted a sliding tackle which never saw him connect with the ball and Wissam Ben Yedder would be given the opportunity to strike the ball past Karius and into the net from close range. Liverpool 0-1 Sevilla.
Liverpool’s response from that point onwards was trying to not allow any more goals to be conceded and also to find a goal of our own. Time was on our side at least with plenty of the game left to make a recovery.
The 21st minute saw Firmino race up towards the edge of the penalty area with the ball, only to face a defender blocking him with little to no way past him. The Sevilla defender would clear the ball only to give it to Henderson who ended up working well with Alberto Moreno, cleverly working a couple of passes between each other before Moreno was able to square the ball across the box and to an unmarked Roberto Firmino who’d be able to fire home for Liverpool’s equaliser. Liverpool 1-1 Sevilla.
Liverpool continued to press their attack and would luckily have another goal before the break.
In the 37th minute, Mohamed Salah rushed upfield to dispossess N’Zonzi and then shoots for goal. The shot takes a serious deflection before looping over the already committed Rico who had been diving elsewhere and the ball made it’s way into the net. Liverpool 2-1 Sevilla
This would not be the end of Liverpool’s good fortune for the first half. In the 41st minute, Liverpool were awarded a penalty as Sadio Mané got bundled to the ground inside of the penalty area. Mané wasn’t injured but he had been fouled and the referee would blow his whistle. In the absence of regular set piece taker James Milner who was on the substitute bench, Roberto Firmino would bravely step up to take the penalty.
FIRMINO MISSES! The Brazilian steps up, sends Sevilla goalkeeper Rico the wrong way, but sees his effort smash into and away from the post, with no chance to grab the rebounded ball. The score would remain Liverpool 2-1 Sevilla by half time.
SO, the first half had seen three goals but the second half would only see one goal. There was other interesting things going other than goalscoring though.
In the 61st minute there was a red card… for a manager! EDUARDO BERIZZO IS OFF! The Sevilla manager is sent to the stands for throwing the ball away. He had already been warned about his petulant behaviour during the game and was officially removed from the sidelines by the referee after going too far. You can’t act like that, even if you’re not playing.
Not long after, a Liverpool player had to be cautioned. Emre Can had been pulling and tugging on Correa’s shirt excessively as he raced down the left wing. For this, Can got a yellow card and had to start to be careful or he’d get a second yellow or maybe even a straight red card with further rule-breaking.
From the 69th minute, some substitutions were going to be made. Firstly, Luis Muriel. This player would have an effect on the game that even changed the scoreline.
In the 72nd minute, a throw in would be taken. Luis Muriel fed Correa who ran fast towards our goal, taking some lucky touches on the way to get past our defenders and into a shooting position where he only had to beat Karius for making it Liverpool 2-2 Sevilla.
Liverpool still had 20 minutes including injury time to turn things around, but we could not manage to score again. It seems that the missed penalty taken by Firmino was in fact essential to have scored if wanted to win this game (3-2).
Jurgen Klopp would wait until the 76th minute to bring into the game someone whose return has been highly anticipated. Coutinho is BACK! Unfortunately, he didn’t score but there was Champions League experience for him which he can’t complain about, even if he isn’t playing for Barcelona.
In the 84th minute, Daniel Sturridge would be brought on to replace Sadio Mané for a burst of extra energy and danger in the attack. In the 89th minute, Salah made way for Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain. Unlike Sevilla, whose substitution made a major impact on the game, we couldn’t gather any extra goals from the new players.
In addition to not scoring after Sevilla had equalised, there was to be a red card for Liverpool. Deep into the 4th minute of injury time, Joe Gomez would receive a 2nd yellow card. The suspension for him will likely be only 1 game instead of the standard 3 games that’s given for “straight” red cards. Still, it’s just another set back we don’t really need for the club as we continue in the Champions League Group Stage with only 1 point gained so far.
Man of the Match
Mané and Salah both impressed but Mohamed Salah would be on the scoresheet, credited with a goal that admittedly took a major deflection off a Sevilla defender and could easily have been listed as an own goal. Our attackers do not pull any punches, we’ve been strong this season and Salah is a big part of that strength. Mané may soon have to serve a three game suspension (premier league fixtures only) but I feel we can keep on scoring and even winning in these fixtures with quality players like Salah in the squad.
Liverpool will look to bounce back at Anfield once again on Saturday when they host Burnley at 3pm.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
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