Liverpool and Sevilla played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Anfield to kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign.
Liverpool were eager to get their UEFA Champions League campaign off on a positive note. The Group C encounter was expected to be an interesting affair. And it turned out so, with both sides going all out for a win in their opening match. Liverpool, though, failed to snatch a win in front of the home crowd, with the tie ending in a 2-2 draw.
The defending on display was not top notch and there were several more takeaways from the result. The Hard Tackle explores a few.
Lovren the culprit
Jurgen Klopp chose to go in with a revamped defence. Three changes were made to the one that let five goals past them at Etihad. Anfield had expected a resilient performance in response.
But, it did not take long for Liverpool to concede. Dejan Lovren’s mistake cost them the first goal and the Croatian was erroneous in Sevilla’s second goal as well.
Great first half, poor second half, Liverpool should have won comfortably. Dejan Lovren really is dreadful sometimes. Terrible tonight.
— Joseph Musker (@JosephMusker) September 13, 2017
Every passing game is showing that Liverpool’s failure to capture Van Dijk was a fatal error.
Dejan Lovren is simply an abomination.
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) September 13, 2017
Lovren did face backlash from the fans on social media platforms. And perhaps, looking at Liverpool’s performances so far, it would not be too far-fetched to say that they are ruing their failure to land a top-notch central defender, like Virgil Van Dijk.
Another night of disappointment for Liverpool as they were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw by Sevilla. It was a typical Liverpool performance, filled with events that have become common in every Reds game in recent history. However, with the current attack they boast, surely they would have thought to be more clinical.
Instead, Liverpool squandered chance after chance and a majority of their shots failed to even hit the target. To have 24 attempts compared to the opposition’s 7 and not win points towards profligacy, something Liverpool cannot afford, given their leaky defence.
No Love Lost for Coutinho
There were murmurs of Liverpool fans turning against Philippe Coutinho for his behaviour in the Barcelona transfer saga. The Brazilian was kept out of the squad against City by Klopp. Anfield, though, allayed all fears of the same as Coutinho came on the pitch.
A warm Anfield reception for Philippe Coutinho who comes on to make his first appearance of the season… pic.twitter.com/1WIUJIl4e0
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) September 13, 2017
The Brazilian was received by the home crowd with a raucous welcome, which shows how much he is valued by the Kop. It will still be interesting to see how Klopp is able to integrate the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Salah and Mane in one starting eleven. But, Coutinho’s availability makes the Liverpool squad even more menacing.
Salah is this year’s Mane for Liverpool
When Mohamed Salah arrived in the summer, there were multiple question marks on whether he would be able to replicate his Serie A form in the Premier League. However, the Egyptian has taken to the life in England with aplomb, notching up 4 goals and 3 assists in 7 matches so far.
Mo Salah for Liverpool this season 🔴
– 4 goals;
– 1 Assist;
– Scored on Premier League debut; and
– Scored on CL debut
Great signing 🇪🇬🔥 pic.twitter.com/h0cgn0nym9
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) September 14, 2017
The player was on the scoresheet against Sevilla as well and it’s starting to look like he will have an influential debut season for Liverpool, similar to what Sadio Mane had last season.
N’Zonzi exudes class
There was a reason why the who’s who of European football were interested in Steven N’Zonzi throughout the summer, before the player signed a new deal at Sevilla. And against Liverpool, the towering midfielder proved just why he was so heavily sought-after by the clubs.
The Frenchman ran the show in the middle of the park. Calm and composed on the ball and domineering off it – the midfielder pulled off a masterclass. N’Zonzi completed the most number of passes on the pitch – the player completed 96.2% of his 82 passes.
And he was just as dominating off the ball, winning the ball back 12 times for his team. If the 28-year-old keeps his level up to a similar threshold in his appearances, he is unlikely to be a Sevilla player for long.