So our return to the Champions League after three years ended in relative disappointment. The first half was all Liverpool but the second half was fairly scrappy and we struggled to fashion clear-cut chances after the break.
Despite the disappointment, we must remember that Sevilla are our main rivals in the group and a point is hardly disastrous. Here’s how I rated the Liverpool players:
LORIS KARIUS 6
Only fair that I give credit to Karius after voicing my discontent over his selection. Couldn’t have done anything about either goal and didn’t have any real saves to make apart from that but he commanded his area well and his distribution was much improved. Hopefully a confidence-builder for the German.
JOE GOMEZ – 6
I thought Gomez had a fairly solid night. Carried the ball forward well from right-back, was generally good in possession and didn’t do much wrong defensively. Disappointing that he was sent off at the end as we could have done with him in Moscow next month.
JOEL MATIP – 7
A calm performance. Gets completely done late on in trying to prevent a corner but overall defended well.
DEJAN LOVREN – 4
Horrendous error for the first goal. No excuse for not making some sort of contact with that cross. I’ve defended Lovren but I’m really starting to struggle – he is not fit often enough to be part of a settled back four and makes too many stupid errors to be first choice anyway. Ragnar Klavan isn’t good enough to replace him either. The centre-half situation looks bleak… If only we had 2 full months to strengthen…
ALBERTO MORENO – 8
My man of the match on the night. Was an unbelievable threat in attack and for once actually backed it up with a good defensive performance. Super involvement in the first goal and put three or four very good balls into the box. Seems to have a great understanding with Sadio Mane on the left hand side.
JORDAN HENDERSON – 6.5
A decent night for the captain. Retained possession well and plays a lovely one-two with Moreno to unlock the Sevilla defence for the first goal. Probably the best of the three midfielders who started the game.
GINI WIJNALDUM – 5.5
Didn’t do much wrong and kept things tidy. I expect a bit more of a threat going forward though, especially given he scored 11 goals for Newcastle the season before joining us. Decision making when on the ball could certainly be improved upon also.
EMRE CAN – 5
Almost as bad as Lovren for the first goal – somehow thinks he has all the time in the world and is completely unaware of the Sevilla player rushing onto the ball in the build-up. Dragged a decent chance just wide on his weaker foot at 1-1. Didn’t perform horrendously but if we’re going to give Lovren pelters for his mistake, we have to be consistent.
SADIO MANE – 7
Had an unbelievable first half, scared the life out of their right-back and won about three penalties in the space of half a second. Tailed off after the break though, perhaps due to tiredness or a tactical ploy from the Spaniards to drop ten yards. After playing every game so far this season and travelling to Africa for the internationals, a couple of weeks off won’t do him any harm. See you in Moscow.
MOHAMED SALAH – 7
Was threatening and wasteful in equal measure. No matter how bad a game he is having, he’ll always frighten the opposition with his raw pace. You wouldn’t mind seeing him change things up every so often to keep the full-back guessing rather than constantly cutting inside onto his left foot. Played well on the whole though and deserved ‘his’ goal.
ROBERTO FIRMINO – 7
I said after the Hoffenheim performance that he would be a joy to watch in the Champions League this season and his first-half performance certainly lived up to expectation. Combined his usual great work dropping deep with a real number nine’s goal to make it 1-1 which is very encouraging. Can’t really say much about the penalty miss other than that is seemed to affect his second half performance.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO: Got a great reception but looked well off the pace. Tried to get on the ball as much as he could but his touch was heavy and nothing really came off for him.
DANIEL STURRIDGE: Had one lovely piece of play when he came on, was smothered out by the Sevilla defence after that.
ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: Didn’t have the time to make any sort of impact on the match. I noticed he seemed very reluctant to cross the ball, even when he had created space for himself out wide.
Disappointment all round but not a disaster by any stretch, now onto Burnley.