Cor­rea’s equaliser leaves Liver­pool and Firmino rue­ing penalty miss

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Firmino 21, Salah 37


Ben Yed­der 5, Cor­rea 72 2 2 Liver­pool re­turned to the Cham­pi­ons League with a per­for­mance that gave cre­dence to what the Premier League has long sus­pected. Jur­gen Klopp has con­structed an ex­hil­a­rat­ing at­tack­ing force on sus­pect foun­da­tions. Weak de­fend­ing came to the fore once again as Sevilla thwarted Liver­pool’s am­bi­tions at An­field.

Klopp’s team dom­i­nated for long spells but a dread­ful er­ror from De­jan Lovren and a col­lec­tive fail­ing that al­lowed Joaquín Cor­rea to equalise late on un­der­mined their im­pres­sive ef­forts in the fi­nal third. It could have been worse for Klopp’s side had Luis Muriel not wasted a gilt­edged chance in the fi­nal minute be­fore Joe Gomez was sent off for a sec­ond book­able of­fence on the out­stand­ing Cor­rea. Klopp was em­broiled in a touch­line row with Sevilla coaches af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle but his ire should have been re­served for his rear­guard.

Sevilla stalled Liver­pool’s Cham­pi­ons League re­turn by one sea­son and Klopp’s side were in­tent on mak­ing up for lost time as they started with the same in­ten­sity that floored Hof­fen­heim in the play-off here three weeks ear­lier. For all the changes in the An­dalu­sian team and dug-out since de­feat­ing Liver­pool in the 2016 Europa League fi­nal, how­ever, they re­main a team with gen­uine Euro­pean pedi­gree. Hav­ing weath­ered the ini­tial storm Ed­uardo Ber­izzo’s visi­tors took the lead from their first mean­ing­ful at­tack. It was to Liver­pool’s im­mense credit how they wres­tled back the ini­tia­tive be­fore the in­ter­val and ig­nored their own part in Sevilla’s opener in the process.

Cor­rea, Sevilla’s left-sided for­ward, posed a threat ev­ery time he took pos­ses­sion but could have been stopped at source had Emre Can won a chal­lenge deep inside the Liver­pool half. The Ger­many mid­fielder lost out, en­abling Sevilla to ex­change a se­ries of slick passes be­fore Cor­rea re­leased the over­lap­ping Ser­gio Escudero on the left. Liver­pool should still have dealt with the dan­ger only for Lovren to suf­fer a se­ri­ous lapse in con­cen­tra­tion as Escudero crossed low into the six-yard box, miss­ing his clear­ance com­pletely and grant­ing Wis­sam Ben Yed­der the free­dom to con­vert un­marked.

Lovren’s er­ror was in­de­fen­si­ble but there was no fault­ing the Liver­pool Spar­tak Moscow face Uefa cen­sure af­ter a flare was fired on to the pitch dur­ing their 1-1 draw at Mari­bor in Slove­nia. The crowd trou­ble comes as con­cerns grow about hooli­gan­ism at next year’s World Cup fi­nals in Rus­sia. re­sponse. Pour­ing for­ward in num­bers, a Liver­pool equaliser seemed in­evitable and it ar­rived cour­tesy of one of the flow­ing team moves that Klopp cher­ishes. Ge­orginio Wijnaldum spun away from his marker and, though there were groans when Henderson squared to the ex­cel­lent Al­berto Moreno the first time, there were no com­plaints when the Liver­pool cap­tain de­liv­ered his sec­ond pass into the path of the for­mer Sevilla left-back as he raced to the by-line. Moreno crossed for Firmino to side-foot home from close range.

Con­tro­versy sur­rounded Liver­pool’s sec­ond when Salah ap­peared to clip Steven N’Zonzi and re­gain pos­ses­sion of the ball in one move­ment 25 yards from the Sevilla goal. Ref­eree Danny Makke­lie put his whis­tle to his lips but elected to play on, much to the visi­tors’ fury as Salah let fly from dis­tance and his shot looped over the stranded Rico off the boot of de­fender Si­mon Kjaer. Ber­izzo’s team should have been fur­ther be­hind mo­ments be­fore the break when cap­tain Ni­co­las Pareja han­dled inside his own area and hauled Sa­dio Mané to the ground to con­cede a clear penalty. Firmino sent Rico the wrong way but his spot-kick bounced off the post.

Liver­pool con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the ball in the sec­ond half, sti­fling Sevilla and fu­elling frus­tra­tion in the vis­it­ing ranks. Ber­izzo was sent to the stands when, hav­ing been warned for a sim­i­lar trans­gres­sion, he stupidly threw the ball away from Gomez as the Liver­pool de­fender at­tempted to take a throw-in. He there­fore had a bet­ter view when Cor­rea brought Sevilla level as the home de­fence was breached far too eas­ily once again.

The visi­tors’ equaliser stemmed from a throw-in to sub­sti­tute Muriel who, un­marked, sent Cor­rea through the cen­tre of a static Liver­pool de­fence. The Ar­gentina in­ter­na­tional lifted a cool fin­ish over the ad­vanc­ing Loris Kar­ius and, de­spite the re­turn of Philippe Coutinho, given a rous­ing re­cep­tion when he re­placed Can with 14 min­utes left, Liver­pool were left to rue fa­mil­iar fail­ings.

Liver­pool 4-3-3

Kar­ius; Gomez■, Matip, Lovren, Moreno■; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can (Coutinho, 76); Salah (OxladeCham­ber­lain, 89) Firmino, Mané (Stur­ridge, 83).

Subs not used

Mig­no­let, Mil­ner, Kla­van, Robert­son. Rico; Mercado■, Pareja■, Kjaer, Escudero; Pizarro (Sara­bia, 45), N’Zonzi; Navas (Corchia, 83), Banega■, Cor­rea; Ben Yed­der (Muriel, 69).

Subs not used So­ria, Car­rico, Krohn-Dehli, Vázquez Ref­eree D Makke­lie (Neth)

Peter Pow­ell/EPA

Sevilla’s Joaquín Cor­rea beats Liver­pool goal­keeper Loris Kar­ius to score the equaliser at An­field last night

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