Football: Wasteful reds pay the penalty

Roberto Firmino attempting to put Liverpool 3-1 up from a penalty just before half-time but his shot struck the post. It proved costly as Sevilla equalised late to rescue a point.
Roberto Firmino attempting to put Liverpool 3-1 up from a penalty just before half-time but his shot struck the post. It proved costly as Sevilla equalised late to rescue a point.PHOTO: REUTERS

Defensive woes still evident against Sevilla as wayward spot kick a major factor in 2-2 draw

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp put on a brave face after watching his side throw away a lead with another poor defensive display in their Champions League encounter with Sevilla at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Premier League side, competing in only their second Champions League group stage in eight years, had plenty of chances to win the Group E opener after coming from behind, but defensive lapses - and a penalty miss from Roberto Firmino - cost them two points as Sevilla salvaged a 2-2 draw.

Both the LaLiga side's goals came from defensive mistakes. Klopp, whose side lost 0-5 at Manchester City last Saturday, said he was happy with most of what he saw but rued the two goals conceded.

"It was pretty much a winning performance for 85, 86 minutes, and the team played well against a side who play well," the German said.

"We had answers for everything apart from the goals. It is a draw, it does not feel too good but I am fine with big parts of the performance."

Firmino and Mohamed Salah had earlier put the hosts 2-1 in front, cancelling out an early effort from Wissam Ben Yedder.

Joaquin Correa then grabbed a late equaliser for the visitors.

 

  • 1  Roberto Firmino is the first Liverpool player to miss a penalty in the Champions League during regulation time since Steven Gerrard against Marseille in 2007. Gerrard did score from the rebound, however.

Liverpool fans could be forgiven for seething with frustration because of unaddressed problems at the back, which have contributed to the side conceding 13 goals in seven games this season.

And the flaws were glaring. Dejan Lovren, a shadow of the centre-back he was at Southampton, made a mistake for Sevilla's first goal that would shame a schoolboy, lifting his foot as a cross came in, and letting the ball speed on to Ben Yedder.

Liverpool's midfield, particularly Jordan Henderson, failed to track Luis Muriel, who set up Correa for the Spanish club's second strike.

 

  • 2  Sevilla scored with both of their shots on target.

Correa had darted between Lovren and Joel Matip, who failed to react quickly enough. It was again poor decision-making and concentration.

The focus from now will be on Liverpool's defending but they also needed to be more ruthless in front of goal, finishing off only two of their 25 attempts.

Comparatively, Sevilla scored from both their shots on target.

Klopp also said he had made peace with opposite number Eduardo Berizzo and the Sevilla coaching staff after a stormy conclusion to the clash.

Young Liverpool defender Joe Gomez was sent off in the dying seconds, the second dismissal of the night after Berizzo had been sent to the stands on the hour for throwing the ball away after Gomez hurried to take a throw-in.

On the final whistle, members of Berizzo's staff appeared to remonstrate with Klopp as the two benches walked down the tunnel.

"I was not happy with him throwing the ball away but we're fine. He invited me into the dressing room and we spoke about it," Klopp said.

Berizzo also regretted his actions and clarified that he had apologised to the Liverpool manager.

The Argentinian added that Firmino's penalty miss just before half-time had given his side hope, saying: "Even though we went ahead in the first half, it was really hard to contain their pace, especially wide."

One good takeaway for Liverpool was that star Brazilian forward Philippe Coutinho played as a substitute for the final 15 minutes, in his first appearance since a potential summer move to Barcelona collapsed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'Wasteful reds pay the penalty'. Print Edition | Subscribe