Well…that wasn’t enjoyable.
Liverpool gave up a chance at qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League (as group winner no less!) after a shambolic second half performance that saw them throw away a 3-0 lead and allow Sevilla to comeback and draw the game. Goals from Roberto Firmino (x2) and Sadio Mane were not enough to cover up glaring defensive errors in an extremely disappointing night in Spain.
The game could not have gotten off to a better start as within the first 90 seconds we had a corner that was flicked on at the front post by Georgino Wijnaldum to Firmino at the back post who finished superbly. It was exactly the start needed in order to quiet the loud home support and put some doubt into the minds of a team that hadn’t lost at home in just shy of a year (25 matches!).
This goal was followed by some early signs that all was not quite as it should be in our defensive areas as there were multiple opportunities for Sevilla to get on the shortlist. These worries were seemingly washed away however when we scored the second. It was almost a carbon copy of the first goal except this time it was Firmino assisting and Mane at the back post ready to head the ball past Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico. 2-0 inside 25 minutes. A dream start.
It got even better soon after as in the 30th minute Mane picked up a good ball down the line to run through on goal and although Rico managed to stop his initial effort the ball fell to Firmino who performed a Ronaldinho-esque ‘no-look’ finish into an empty net. Cruising.
Half time came and all we needed to do was maintain some form of defensive cohesion in order to see out the game and book our place in the last 16 for the first time in 9 years.
That’s all we had to do…
The first Sevilla goal was entirely preventable. Alberto Moreno brought their player down in a dangerous position (unnecessarily) and the resulting cross completely unarmed the Liverpool defence and allowed Wissam Ben Yedder to head past Loris Karius. I knew what was coming, everyone else on Twitter knew what was coming, I would even go as far as to say that most of the Liverpool players knew what was coming with the way they capitulated.
The second Sevilla goal can again be laid at the feet of Alberto Moreno as he miscontrolled the ball and in attempting to rectify this brought down their player in the penalty area. Penalty was scored by Ben Yedder. Retaken by Ben Yedder. Scored again by Ben Yedder. 2-3 in the 60th minute.
The last half an hour was horrible to watch, there was a sense of inevitability that was inescapable. Not even sure what happened with the third goal, which was scored by Guido Pizzaro, because I was too resigned to even care that much.
These issues absolutely must be addressed in January. The Spartak Moscow game at home has become one that simply cannot afford to be lost. We lose and we’re out.
On to next weekend…oh look, it’s Chelsea. Wonderful. See you later Reds…