Despite dominating the majority of the game and playing some incredible counterattacking football, Liverpool could only manage a disappointing draw with Sevilla on their return to the Champions League — with poor defensive errors and a lack of clinical finishing yet again proving costly.
Sevilla took the lead within five minutes following an amateurish mistake by Dejan Lovren, with the error-prone Croatian failing to clear a simple ball into the box, which allowed Wissam Ben Yedder an easy finish.
The Reds gradually grew into the game and produced some scintillating football, with Firmino equalising after some lovely team play and movement by Moreno. Liverpool continued to attack and were eventually rewarded when Salah’s strike took a lucky deflection off Kjaer into the net, but Firmino missed the chance for a third with his penalty ricocheting off the post.
The missed penalty ultimately proved to be significant, with Steven N’Zonzi’s ball splitting apart the defence and allowing Joaquin Correa to curl his strike past Karius to help the Spanish side leave Anfield with an undeserved point.
Liverpool had more than enough opportunities to exact revenge on the side responsible for the painful defeat in Basel last year but instead the Reds will be ruing yet another missed opportunity.
Loris Karius: 6 (out of 10)
Karius barely had anything to do — something which seems to have become a common occurrence whenever he plays.
He could do little about either goal, while he also looked noticeably less shaky in possession than he did against Arsenal.
It will be interesting to see how he does when faced with more saves to make as it’s difficult to really judge his progress at this point.
Joe Gomez: 6.5
Gomez did well for the most part and looked more defensively assured than the rest of the back four, while he even offered an attacking outlet at times when creating space for Salah.
He can still be careless at times and give away unnecessary freekicks, and he paid the price for this when he was (harshly) sent off in the final few seconds.
The youngster will be disappointed to pick up a ban but overall had a decent game. The fact he managed to get the Sevilla manager sent off is an added bonus.
Joel Matip: 6.5
Even though the defence was poor in general, Matip did very little wrong and offered a calming presence in the back line.
He made some important interventions and even made a surging run into the box that oozed class on the ball and was reminiscent of his Schalke days.
There was one horrific clearance near the end although this luckily didn’t prove to be consequential. It’s a shame he can’t have a dependable partner alongside him.
Dejan Lovren: 3.5
Lovren sometimes receives too much unwarranted criticism but there was no escaping the fact that he was abysmal yesterday.
His attempt at a clearance for the first goal verged on embarrassing, while he continued his habits of making minor errors and playing slopping passes after that.
He may have been partly culpable for the second goal when he left a hole in the defence, but he wasn’t the only one at fault there.
He just isn’t of the required quality for a club of Liverpool’s calibre and the thought of him being our starting centre-back for the season is a worrying one.
Alberto Moreno: 7.5
It wasn’t a good night the last time Moreno faced his boyhood club but he made amends here and continued his impressive start to the campaign with an occasionally sublime attacking display.
He offered a fantastic outlet down the left, while his speed and vision to get the assist for Firmino’s goal was exceptional. He nearly got himself a goal just before the break but his effort was well saved by Sergio Rico.
He arguably should have done better for both goals and still has the odd lapse of concentration but looks a much better player this season than last. Let’s hope his resurgence continues.
Jordan Henderson: 5
This was a very frustrating night from the skipper and it often felt as if he was trying too hard to be a leading, game-changing presence on the pitch.
He made some good tackles and generally kept N’Zonzi quiet, but he too frequently made passes which were inaccurate and overambitious that caused us to lose possession. He did well for the first goal when linking up with Moreno yet it’s clear his habit of failing to cover the defence and leave space remains.
Questions will be asked about his role in the team as both a starter and the captain and rightly so.
Emre Can: 5
Can seems to get away with a lot of criticism from Liverpool fans (especially when compared to Henderson) although there is no denying that he was very average against Sevilla.
His defensive work was lazy for the first goal and he should have made more of an effort to clear the ball. He managed to get involved in the counterattacking well and missed a golden chance in the first half which he sliced wide.
Can has the potential to be a very good midfielder but there is a glaring need for consistency in his game.
Gini Wijnaldum: 7.5
It’s clear that there’s two types of Gini Wijnaldum’s: the ineffective, invisible one and the lively, influential one. Luckily the Dutchman was the latter on Wednesday and he gave an energetic performance that greatly outshone those of his midfield team mates.
He won the ball back plenty of times, looked calm in possession and was fantastic when starting and getting involved in the counterattacks.
It remains a mystery as to why Wijnaldum can’t replicate his home form in away matches, which is something he needs to do if he wants to go to the next level.
Mohamed Salah: 8 (Man of the Match)
Salah gave what was possibly his best performance in a Liverpool shirt against Sevilla, providing a constant threat down the right with his electric pace and movement.
His linkup play with Firmino and Mane is progressing nicely and it’s refreshing to see his willingness to take the defender on with a more direct style of play. His final ball still requires work, however he’s only going to get better.
He may have got a huge slice of luck with the deflection for the goal but he won’t be complaining.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Firmino oozes classes on the ball and did very well to get the equaliser for the first goal; his instinct for being in the correct positions to score seems to have improved immensely from last season.
He will be very disappointed to miss his penalty, which would likely have sealed all three points, and the miss unfortunately proved to be very costly.
He wasn’t as influential as we know he can be, particularly in the second half, but he led the line well on the whole.
Sadio Mane: 7.5
Mane was unplayable in the first 30 minutes and it seemed that something magical would happen whenever he got on the ball.
The Sevilla defence looked terrified of him all evening and Anfield seems to come to life whenever he’s on the ball, which shows just how important he’s becoming.
He was slightly more subdued in the second half; nevertheless the decision to take him off was still perplexing.
He was clever to win the penalty which Firmino missed and he will definitely be a big loss when unavailable for the next three games.
Phil Coutinho: 5
Coutinho received a standing ovation upon his return to the Liverpool team, which was honestly somewhat surprising considering the manner of his behaviour over the summer.
He looked incredibly rusty when he came on, which was to be expected, although he still seemed a little disheartened and we have to hope his head is truly in we want any chance of being successful this season.
Daniel Sturridge: 6
Sturridge barely touched the ball when he came on, but still looked okay when he had brief spells of possession.
You have to wonder whether 10 minutes of play is really enough time for someone of Sturridge’s calibre to have an impact.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
Oxlade-Chamberlain actually looked very lively in the brief cameo he had and managed to win a few corners, but still had little time to really change the game.
He will be hoping to make his first start against Burnley on the weekend.
Jurgen Klopp: 5.5
Klopp made very few changes to the side which got dismantled by Man City, and although they played very well in the first half, the team looked devoid of ideas as the game wore on and in hindsight, perhaps a few more changes would have been wise.
His insistence on making substitutions late remains frustrating as neither Sturridge or Oxlade-Chamberlain had nearly enough time to make an impact and with Liverpool looking fatigued in the second half, it was bizarre that these changes weren’t made sooner.
Klopp is blameless for individual errors from Lovren but the fact that he’s been here almost two years and the defence still isn’t fixed is a major issue. Wanting to want for Van Dijk alone was admirable, but Liverpool’s failure to sign an upgrade on Lovren this summer already looks like a big mistake.
A draw between Maribor and Spartak doesn’t make it the worst result in the world and the Reds should still progress out of the group, even though it is still a very disheartening result.