Liverpool’s return to Champions League action ended in frustration as their defensive vulnerability was exposed once again. Sevilla only had three chances but scored from two of them. A draw isn’t the end of the world, though, as Maribor and Spartak Moscow, who draw 1-1 on Wednesday, shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
The first-half performance was excellent as Liverpool overcame the setback of conceding an early goal to hit back in style. Some of the football was thrilling and they were unfortunate not to score more than the two they managed.
The second-half performance failed to match what went before. It started well enough but when the third goal didn’t arrive the Merseysiders quickly ran out of ideas and poor defending once again proved their undoing. They could even have lost in stoppage time when Sevilla missed a glorious opportunity to steal the three points.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Jurgen Klopp selected the same starting XI that hammered Arsenal 4-0 so there can’t be any complaints about that, but these his players are conceding too many goals and he did little — some would say nothing — to address the problem in the summer. Liverpool have conceded 13 goals in just seven games so far this season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 6 — Recalled in place of Simon Mignolet, he had no chance with either goal and had very little else to do. Much improved with his feet at least as, unlike in his last appearance, he didn’t invite any pressure by taking too long on the ball. DF Joe Gomez, 6 — Steady enough for most of the game but began to struggle in the closing stages and his night ended early when he picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time. Seconds before that he’d allowed Luis Muriel to get behind him and was fortunate that the striker missed the target.
DF Joel Matip, 6 — Most of his best work came when bringing the ball out of defence and attacking. That is Liverpool in a nutshell really; even their back four are better going forward than they are at defending.
DF Dejan Lovren, 4 — Recalled to the side after being rested against Man City at the weekend, but his performance may have had some fans pining for Ragnar Klavan. Yes, he was that bad. Completely missed his kick and failed to make a routine clearance that led to Sevilla’s opener and looked nervy and erratic throughout.
DF Alberto Moreno, 7 — Partly to blame for the opening goal as he failed to get goal side, but he made up for that with some blistering play going forward. Moreno was sensational in the first half but sadly it didn’t last. He was also fortunate not to be sent off after the break for a couple of reckless challenges when already on a yellow card.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — The skipper had a fine first half, in which his energy and pressing helped keep Liverpool on the front foot. The deft pass to play in Moreno in the build up to the first goal was lovely, but Henderson’s distribution became uncharacteristically erratic after the break.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — Bounced back from a poor performance at the weekend with a much improved display. His energy and use of the ball caught the eye in the first half but, like everyone else, he faded after the break. He may find himself rested at the weekend as he’s played a lot of football already this season.
MF Emre Can, 6 — Not his best night but had a couple of attempts at goal in the first half that, on another day, could have gone in. Switched off defensively at times, though, not least for Sevilla’s second goal when he allowed his man to just run off him and play a crucial, defence-splitting pass.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 — Liverpool’s best player and Sevilla had no answer to him in the first half. He won the penalty that should have provided breathing room but, after that was missed, he was less influential after the break and eventually substituted late on for Daniel Sturridge.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Worked hard, scored a nice goal and linked play well. Unfortunately his missed penalty proved extremely costly, however.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — A constant threat with his pace and clever movement, he got his name on the scoresheet once again, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances with a wickedly deflected shot.
MF Philippe Coutinho, NR — Given a warmer welcome from The Kop than he probably deserved when replacing Can on 75 minutes, but made little impression and nothing he tried came off. Perhaps he was trying too hard to impress, or maybe he’s just rusty after missing so much training with that “back injury.”
FW Daniel Sturridge, NR — Sent on late to try and provide a spark but barely touched the ball.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, NR — Replaced Salah for the last couple of minutes. Made a couple of positives runs down the line and might be the most suitable candidate to replace the suspended Mane vs. Burnley at the weekend.
Dave Usher is one of ESPN’s Liverpool bloggers and the founder of LFC fanzine and website The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.