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Jurgen Klopp shoved his hands in his pockets and smiled. He then turned to his bank of assistants and raised an eyebrow.

Liverpool’s manager, as is his way, had been a picture of animation, all waving arms and piercing dog whistles, but this muted response was telling. To this point, his side’s return to the Champions League had been thrilling but, once again, the job would go unfinished.

They should have been out of sight; they had carved out enough chances to win two matches but in the 72nd minute, Liverpool’s midfield dallied, the defence dithered and Joaquin Correa did the rest, his goal securing Sevilla a 2-2 draw against the odds. 

Liverpool got off to the worst possible start when Wissam Ben Yedder slid home at the back post after Dejan Lovren's slip

Liverpool got off to the worst possible start when Wissam Ben Yedder slid home at the back post after Dejan Lovren's slip

Liverpool got off to the worst possible start when Wissam Ben Yedder slid home at the back post after Dejan Lovren’s slip

The French striker wheels away having scored the simplest of goals to silence the Anfield crowd in just the fifth minute

Roberto Firmino taps home the equaliser for the home side after latching on to the end of Alberto Moreno's cut back

Roberto Firmino taps home the equaliser for the home side after latching on to the end of Alberto Moreno's cut back

Roberto Firmino taps home the equaliser for the home side after latching on to the end of Alberto Moreno’s cut back

The Brazilian heads to celebrate in the corner with Giorginio Wijnaldum and Joe Gomez after firing his side back into the game

The Brazilian heads to celebrate in the corner with Giorginio Wijnaldum and Joe Gomez after firing his side back into the game

The Brazilian heads to celebrate in the corner with Giorginio Wijnaldum and Joe Gomez after firing his side back into the game

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead courtesy of a large slice of luck, his shot deflecting off centre back Simon Kjaer

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead courtesy of a large slice of luck, his shot deflecting off centre back Simon Kjaer

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead courtesy of a large slice of luck, his shot deflecting off centre back Simon Kjaer

The Egyptian turns away, finger aloft, after his goal turned the Group E clash on its head during the first half on Merseyside

The Egyptian turns away, finger aloft, after his goal turned the Group E clash on its head during the first half on Merseyside

The Egyptian turns away, finger aloft, after his goal turned the Group E clash on its head during the first half on Merseyside

Referee Danny Makkelie is surrounded by Sevilla players after he failed to give a free kick for a foul on Steven Nzonzi

Referee Danny Makkelie is surrounded by Sevilla players after he failed to give a free kick for a foul on Steven Nzonzi

Referee Danny Makkelie is surrounded by Sevilla players after he failed to give a free kick for a foul on Steven Nzonzi

MATCH FACTS 

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can (Coutinho 76); Salah, Firmino, Mane (Sturridge 83)

Subs not used: Mignolet (GK), Milner, Klavan, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson

Scorers: Firmino 21, Salah 37

Booked: Moreno, Gomez

Sent Off: Gomez 

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

SEVILLA (4-3-3): Rico; Mercado, Pareja, Kjaer, Escudero; N’Zonzi, Banega, Piazarro (Sarabia 45); Navas (Corchia 83), Ben Yedder (Muriel 69), Correa 

Subs not used: Soria (GK), Carrico, Krohn-Dehli, Vazquez

Scorers: Ben Yedder 5, Correa 72

Booked: Mercado, Banega, Pareja

Manager: Eduardo Berizzo

Attendance:

Man of the Match: 

Referee: Danny Makkelie (Holland) 

Klopp rueful grin, then, could not have been more appropriate. Until he can find a remedy for the times when Liverpool malfunction at the back, they will not make the steps he envisages.

The pre-match music can often set the tone for what is about to come at Anfield, so it was curious that the stadium DJ chose to play an Oasis montage, four days after Liverpool had been slayed by the Gallagher Brothers favourite team, that lasted for 10 minutes.

It turns out there was a clue. Some might say they will find a better day? Not if Liverpool defend as they did against Manchester City and not if they continue to be as naïve and passive as they were when Sevilla mounted their first meaningful attack.

Emre Can’s hesitation in going for a tackle on the edge of his own area lead the calamity to unfold; Sevilla, quickly, moved the ball out to the left with Joaquin Correa inviting Sergio Escudero to scurry in behind Joe Gomez, who would end the night being dismissed for two bookable offences, and cross.

Dejan Lovren should have cleared but failed miserably and Wissam Ben Yedder inflicted maximum punishment from four yards; Klopp whacked his assistant Zelkjo Buvac on the shoulder in apparent surprise but isn’t this what Liverpool do more often than not? You all know the answer.

Finding themselves behind so early on could have been the trigger for an evening of toil and you could not help but think back three years to when they were last in this competition and ended up being eliminated in the feeblest manner. 

One thing you can say with certainty, though, is that this Liverpool team is infinitely better equipped to progress on this stage. The defending bewilders you at times but the way they attack can be a joy to behold, a squadron of red arrows darting and diving in unison to cause mayhem. 

Sevilla defender and captain Nicolas Pareja gives away a penalty for a foul on forward Sadio Mane just before the break

Sevilla defender and captain Nicolas Pareja gives away a penalty for a foul on forward Sadio Mane just before the break

Sevilla defender and captain Nicolas Pareja gives away a penalty for a foul on forward Sadio Mane just before the break

Firmino fluffs the chance to put daylight between the two sides as his effort from the spot smacks the outside of the post

Firmino fluffs the chance to put daylight between the two sides as his effort from the spot smacks the outside of the post

Firmino fluffs the chance to put daylight between the two sides as his effort from the spot smacks the outside of the post

Joaquin Correa was left with the freedom of Liverpool penalty area to curl his effort beyond Lois Karius 

Joaquin Correa was left with the freedom of Liverpool penalty area to curl his effort beyond Lois Karius 

Joaquin Correa was left with the freedom of Liverpool penalty area to curl his effort beyond Lois Karius 

Correa heads to celebrate with the away fans, leaving a distraught Karius prone on the ground inside the box

Correa heads to celebrate with the away fans, leaving a distraught Karius prone on the ground inside the box

Correa heads to celebrate with the away fans, leaving a distraught Karius prone on the ground inside the box

The forward is joined by his team-mates to celebrate his 72nd-minute strike in front of a jubilant away end at Anfield 

The forward is joined by his team-mates to celebrate his 72nd-minute strike in front of a jubilant away end at Anfield 

The forward is joined by his team-mates to celebrate his 72nd-minute strike in front of a jubilant away end at Anfield 

From the moment they conceded, Liverpool made it their business not just to get back on level terms but to try and put the game out of sight before half-time. It was thrilling and had Klopp hollering at the towering Main Stand for the crowd to appreciate what they were seeing.

Such was the momentum Liverpool started to build, it became inevitable their weight of pressure would crack Sevilla’s resistance and after Firmino and Mane had gone close, the Brazil striker had a task as simple as Ben Yedder to restore parity in the 21st minute.

Initially it seemed as if the chance had gone when Jordan Henderson failed to take on a shot but the captain’s deliberation had a reason; he exchanged passes with Alberto Moreno, the left-back hurtled into the area and fizzed a ball into Firmino, who instinctively side-footed past Sergio Rico.

This was what Klopp expected. Fast and furious, noisy and intimidating, the football and the stadium came to life; Can should have scored after one breakneck counter-attack but he dragged a shot wide to leave him beating the turf in frustration.

No matter. Soon the lead and arrived and while it may have owned something to good fortune – Salah’s shot from 25 yards took a huge deflection off Simon Kjaer after the Egyptian mugged Steven N’Zonzi – it was deserved for the pressure they applied. 

Philippe Coutinho returned to action in a Liverpool shirt when he replaced Emre Can in the 76th minute of the match

Philippe Coutinho returned to action in a Liverpool shirt when he replaced Emre Can in the 76th minute of the match

Philippe Coutinho returned to action in a Liverpool shirt when he replaced Emre Can in the 76th minute of the match

Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo was sent to the stands by the referee after twice preventing Gomez from taking a quick throw

Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo was sent to the stands by the referee after twice preventing Gomez from taking a quick throw

Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo was sent to the stands by the referee after twice preventing Gomez from taking a quick throw

Alberto Moreno charges into the box in stoppage time at the end of the first half but sees his low effort saved 

Alberto Moreno charges into the box in stoppage time at the end of the first half but sees his low effort saved 

Alberto Moreno charges into the box in stoppage time at the end of the first half but sees his low effort saved 

Former Manchester City winger Jesus Navas looks to control the ball under the attention of Reds captain Jordan Henderson

Former Manchester City winger Jesus Navas looks to control the ball under the attention of Reds captain Jordan Henderson

Former Manchester City winger Jesus Navas looks to control the ball under the attention of Reds captain Jordan Henderson

Ever Banega gets his pass away with the Liverpool midfield duo of Emre Can and Henderson closing in on him 

Ever Banega gets his pass away with the Liverpool midfield duo of Emre Can and Henderson closing in on him 

Ever Banega gets his pass away with the Liverpool midfield duo of Emre Can and Henderson closing in on him 

Two should have been three just before half-time after Nicolas Pareja wrestled Sadio Mane to the floor but Firmino could not convert the resultant penalty in the 41st minute, his shot thudding against the post after he sent Rico the wrong way.

Klopp didn’t want the half to end and those on The Kop would have had similar misgivings about the interval, given what happened in Basel 17 months ago against the same opponents; from a position of strength, the Europa League slithering from their grasp like the most slippery bar of soap.

They ended up being pummelled that night after their second half collapse but here the narrative was completely different; Liverpool kept applying pressure and believing this swashbuckling sense of adventure would be amply rewarded.

Mane looks to bend the ball towards the top corner after creating a yard of space for himself on the edge of the Sevilla area

Mane looks to bend the ball towards the top corner after creating a yard of space for himself on the edge of the Sevilla area

Mane looks to bend the ball towards the top corner after creating a yard of space for himself on the edge of the Sevilla area

Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren sandwich Ben Yedder in an attempt to dispossess the Sevilla striker at Anfield

Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren sandwich Ben Yedder in an attempt to dispossess the Sevilla striker at Anfield

Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren sandwich Ben Yedder in an attempt to dispossess the Sevilla striker at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp watches on as he takes charge of his first ever Champions League group stage tie in charge of Liverpool 

Jurgen Klopp watches on as he takes charge of his first ever Champions League group stage tie in charge of Liverpool 

Jurgen Klopp watches on as he takes charge of his first ever Champions League group stage tie in charge of Liverpool 

If anything, Sevilla seemed most likely to short-circuit and in the 59th minute, Eduardo Berizzo paid the price. The manager had looked on the brink of combustion from the moment Liverpool gained the upper hand and after flung the ball away for a second time, he was sent to the stands.

Yet, somehow, Sevilla summoned a response and Correa took a pin to the occasion, his goal visibly deflating the massed Red ranks. Not even the late substitute appearance of Philippe Coutinho could change the tone.

Things might have got even worse had substitute Luis Muriel shown a little more composure when firing wide. It will always be this way until Liverpool learn how to close the back door. 

Anfield was rocking before kick off, as the Kop unfurled banners paying homage to the club's glittering European history

Anfield was rocking before kick off, as the Kop unfurled banners paying homage to the club's glittering European history

Anfield was rocking before kick off, as the Kop unfurled banners paying homage to the club’s glittering European history

Coutinho was back in the Liverpool squad for the first time since the closing of the summer transfer window

Coutinho was back in the Liverpool squad for the first time since the closing of the summer transfer window

Coutinho was back in the Liverpool squad for the first time since the closing of the summer transfer window

The half and half scarves were out in force as Liverpool returned to the group stages of the Champions League 

The half and half scarves were out in force as Liverpool returned to the group stages of the Champions League 

The half and half scarves were out in force as Liverpool returned to the group stages of the Champions League 

 

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