Merseysiders held by a limited Spartak side on Matchday 2 of the 2017/18 Champions League…
Liverpool endured another hugely frustrating night on Tuesday as their eagerly-awaited return to the Champions League continues to stutter along.
As against Sevilla at Anfield on Matchday 1, the Reds dominated hosts Spartak Moscow but failed to make their superiority tell and were forced to come from behind to earn a point.
Unlike the Spaniards however, Spartak, who were missing several key players, offered very little as an attacking threat and were instead content to frustrate and stifle.
Their game plan received an unlikely boost in the 23rd minute when Fernando’s eminently savable free-kick somehow found its way past virtual spectator Loris Karius in the Liverpool goal.
The lead lasted just eight minutes however as Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané combined well for the former to sweep home an equaliser.
In addition to the duo, Kop boss Jürgen Klopp named both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in a strong, attack-minded line-up.
The exciting quartet, plus second half substitute Daniel Sturridge, were all guilty of not making the most of a host of promising situations and opportunities.
Some fine saves from Artem Rebrov and his injury replacement Aleksandr Selikhove also contributed to the visitors’ failings along the way, not least the latter’s one-handed, reflex stop to repel a point-blank Salah header in stoppage time.
The draw, when included alongside results from Liverpool’s best-forgotten 2014 Champions League campaign, represents a fourth in succession in the competition and extended their winless run in Europe’s top-tier to seven.
Analysing the latest contest at his post-match press conference, Klopp remarked: “We did really well in creating chances against a very defence-orientated team.
“We didn’t give a lot of chances away for them; the free-kick they scored with was not a foul, so it’s difficult to change this. In defending if you win the ball clear and there’s still a whistle it’s difficult, but it was a brilliant free-kick.
“We made our equaliser, we scored and we could have created even more chances, that’s the crazy thing. We did enough and we had four or five 100 per cent chances and that’s then disappointing but it is like it is.
“In the Champions League in the group stage the only target you have is to go through the group to the next round, and that’s still possible for us. We know now more about two teams in the group and both games we could have, or should have, won but we didn’t.
“In the end that’s always our fault, but we will carry on and carry on like this, or even better. I saw a lot of good things tonight, it was not a perfect game, but there were a lot of good things.”
Sevilla’s 3-0 victory over Maribor in the other Group E encounter sees them top the standings on five points from two games, with Liverpool sitting second above Spartak courtesy of goals scored (two points).
Next up for Klopp’s men, after Premier League fixtures against Newcastle United and Manchester United, is a trip to Slovenia to face Maribor on October 17.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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