CAN’T help but feel the word “naivety” going round and round my head after that one. A game Liverpool could have won about six times over ends up as a draw, and could very well have been a defeat.
Jürgen Klopp owed Sevilla. As he alluded to in his press conference yesterday, they have been at the scene of some of his most painful nights in European competition. He took Mainz on their first ever journey into Europe in 2005, getting past two qualifying rounds before going out to Sevilla.
Then five years later he found his Borussia Dortmund side unable to beat them in the Europa League group stages, losing 1-0 at home, with a red card to Marcel Schmelzer to boot, and drawing 2-2 in Spain, resulting in elimination. Finally there was of course Basel 2016 and all that night entailed, so revenge will have been on his mind tonight.
His team did more than enough to exact it, but the familiar feeling of what might have been came about again by the end as Liverpool conspired to waste attack after attack and ensure their visitors got all the room they needed at the other end.
The first Champions League proper ratings of the season are:
Loris Karius: 6
There seems to be a growing theme when he plays that he very rarely has to make any saves. Only two shots on target tonight and both went in. Couldn’t do anything about the first, could perhaps have closed down quicker on the second but neither were clangers. Much better on the ball though, no needless heart attack moments and overall distribution was actually pretty good.
Joe Gomez: 6
Largely did pretty well. Wasn’t used as often as he probably should have been when overlapping but still created space for Mo Salah on occasion. Struggled second half and had an annoying habit of giving them the ball when a freekick or throw was given, including for the buildup to the second goal. Gets the Sevilla manager sent off though, which was hilarious. His own red was harsh considering what Alberto Moreno and Gabriel Mercado got away with. Looks like Trent Alexander-Arnold is on his way to Moscow.
Joel Matip: 7
A weird one in that overall you’d have to say the defence was poor, and yet I thought Matip was actually quite good. Made some crucial tackles, albeit had to in one moment because he’d stepped out of position. Made several surging runs, just needed to look up and play a better ball, but then that was also true of most attackers. One bizarre slice in the air near the end, but overall a decent night for him.
Dejan Lovren: 4
Not a decent night for him though. From the unbelievable cock up for the first goal, to putting more than one simple pass to Moreno out for a throw in. He and Ragnar Klavan appear to be doing their best to convince Klopp that his decision not to sign a centre back was the wrong one. Need to see the second goal back but initial instinct was that Lovren was the one who left far too much space for Joaquin Correa to run into.
Alberto Moreno: 7
Being ultra critical you could lay a tiny bit of blame on him for both goals as well, but otherwise was one of Liverpool’s best players. Was sensational at times in the first half, his brilliant one-two with Henderson creates the first for Bobby Firmino, another cross deserved dispatching, he won the header that led to the penalty and could have scored himself just before the break. Was quieter second half, apart from that 10-minute period where he did his best to get sent off, but still a much better performance than the last time he played against his former club.
Jordan Henderson: 5
Can’t help but feel that he’s forcing things a bit too much. There were too many times tonight where he played a long ball over the top when he had about four players showing for a short one. Started very poorly but came into it a bit more as time went on. Is developing a habit of stepping up and committing into tackles when there’s no one behind him. A few occasions he left all kinds of space behind him when he didn’t need to and exposed an already wobbly defence.
Gini Wijnaldum: 8
A significant improvement on his ‘Harry Hou-Gini’ performance at the weekend. As opposed to being nowhere, he was everywhere. Winning possession back, starting attacks and trying to get on the end of a few. Was very unlucky with the shot that Sergio Rico saves with his knee. Deserved to win the game tonight, but the slackness of his teammates denied him.
Emre Can: 5
Similar to Henderson in that he started really badly, and got mildly better as time went on. No idea what he’s doing in the buildup to Sevilla’s first. The ball is there to be won and he saunters over to it like a fat kid being told to get to PE. He is very good at getting involved in attacks and making surging runs, but can’t help but feel that his general midfield basics still need a lot of work.
Sadio Mane: 8
Always seems to be at the centre of everything going forward, despite the large number of Reds who take part in attacks. Terrorised them first half, wins the penalty well and is unlucky not to have troubled the scoresheet himself. Was still an excellent outlet second half, though didn’t get much change out of the full back. Not sure why he’s hooked before Salah though, must be resting him for Moscow in two weeks.
Mohamed Salah: 7
Could almost copy and paste from every other review this season. A big danger, got in loads of times due to his pace and movement, but final ball innit? He still works very well with Firmino and Mane but his best play at Roma came with an Edin Dzeko to feed in the middle. Certainly not saying we should get one of our own but can’t help but feel that he misses that a bit. Does well for his goal though, winning it back and deliberately deflecting his shot off Simon Kjaer’s studs.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Oh Bobby. You had the game there to win, the keeper gave you 95 per cent of the goal to hit, and then you went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like whacking the post. It happens of course, but it was definitely a Sliding Doors moment. That goes in and the game is won, probably by more than 3-1. As with Saturday, the team overall didn’t react well enough to a setback, but Firmino played well up to that point and gets his goal. He went missing at times in the second half but does his bits and, but for the wastefulness of others, could have had more.
Philippe Coutinho: 5
I’ll be honest, I was left a little puzzled at the reception he got. Sure it’s great he’s still here but he doesn’t want to be. He hasn’t shown any remorse or said anything at all in fact. Absolutely don’t boo him as that’s shite, but giving him a better reception than the lads who do want to play for Liverpool is equally strange. Looked very rusty, but that’s to be expected when you’ve decided not to bother playing for a few weeks.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A
May have touched the ball.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
Won a couple of corners but will learn soon that there’s very little point in doing so at Liverpool.
Felt like two points dropped, well, because it was, but it hopefully shouldn’t be too costly. Do the job against Spartak Moscow and Maribor, then get revenge on Sevilla at their place when we can really hit them on the counter attack.
Klopp will get that revenge eventually, and when he does it will taste sweeter than a Seville orange… which are sour, so it will definitely taste sweeter.
Up the citric Reds.