Dominant Liverpool Made to Rue Missed Chances as Sevilla Grab Point
Liverpool looked to get back underway in the Champions League on Wednesday night, but unlike the rest of the English teams in the competition, they weren't able to make the most of their many chances against a cagey Sevilla side.
Mohamed Salah went home early from training on Tuesday, but returned to face Sevilla. Another notable inclusion was that of Philippe Coutinho, though only on the bench after a summer of transfer bedlam. Loris Karius also returned for the Reds in goal, with many believing him to be Klopp's choice between the sticks for Champions League games.
Despite his (totally not) controversial red card against Manchester City on Saturday, Sadio Mane returned on Liverpool's left wing, and in the early exchanges looked to stretch Sevilla's back line with his fearsome pace and trickery.
There were questions over the Sevilla that Liverpool were facing would be closer to the side that beat Klopp's men in the 2016 Europa League final, or the side that capitulated against Leicester City in the 2017 Champions League round of 16.
Fans got their answer within five minutes, as Wissam Ben Yedder was given a tap-in, after a litany of errors from Liverpool's midfield and defenders alike.
It was literally the worst possible start, as the visiting side instantly were given something to protect, and could look for the counter.
The Reds looked to strike back quickly, however, and Roberto Firmino headed narrowly over from a corner several minutes later; the potency of Liverpool's attack wasn't raising any questions, at least.
Despite Sevilla's efforts to inject the game with lethargy, Liverpool grew in confidence. Alberto Moreno - who's played in a very un-Alberto Moreno-esque way so far this season - surged forward, played a great one-two with Jordan Henderson, and squared the ball for a simple finish for Firmino to make it 1-1.
Deep-lying defences were so often Liverpool's downfall last year, but Klopp's side had broken the game open again, and had done so with a lot of the game still to be played.
Sevilla upped their game however, after initially looking a little shaken by Liverpool's response. The Spaniards were left cursing their luck however, after Salah somehow pressed and tackled the hulking Steven N'Zonzi. The Egyptian the saw his speculative (if on target) effort take a huge deflection and spiral past Sergio Rico. Undoubtedly lucky, but undoubtedly deserved for Klopp's side.
Without giving Sevilla a window to get back into the game, Liverpool had the chance to strike again, with Nicolas Pareja hand-balling Sadio Mane's flick, before then trying to vertically spoon the Senegal man, with both arms around his waist when the whistle was blown for the penalty.
Firmino was unable to convert, however, and after a stuttered run-up, the Brazilian whacked Rico's left post, having fooled the Spanish stopper.
It was the visitors that started the second half stronger, with several dangerous balls into the Liverpool box being narrowly missed by the dangerous Ben Yedder.
The threat of the Liverpool counter began to hang in the air over Anfield, however, and Sevilla seemed cautious to throw men forward, lest the red army descend on them. As a result, the reds looked more comfortable, keeping the ball more than you might expect for such a pacy side.
Sevilla then suffered the embarrassment of having their manager sent to the stands, as for the second(!) time in 12 minutes, Eduardo Berizzo threw the ball away before a Liverpool throw. He's a grown man, and Sevilla now had to play the last half an hour of (probably) their hardest Champions League group fixture without their manager in the dugout.
Kop chanting "adios" as Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo sent to the stands for throwing the ball away (having been warned earlier)— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) September 13, 2017
Sevilla were now well and truly pegged back, at times being forced to sit deeper than they did when they were defending the early lead, which seemed like a long, long time ago at this point.
Klopp's side were made to rue their missed chances on 72 minutes thought, and after some nice interplay with impact substitute Luis Muriel, Joaquin Correa - the visitor's best player on the night - equalised for Sevilla.
Emre Can was then withdrawn for a returning Coutinho, to a politer welcome than might've been expected, even a few weeks ago.
If you thought Sevilla sat deep at 1-0 up, you should have seen them at 2-2. The Spaniards also carried a greater threat on the counter, with Muriel's pace presenting a very real danger to Liverpool's centre backs.
After creating so many chances all game, Liverpool suddenly appeared aimless; the fluid passes that had served them so well for the majority of the game were no longer coming off for them, and Sevilla's midfield began to impose their physicality on the game.
With 90 seconds left on the clock, a hopeful ball into Liverpool's half suddenly saw Muriel through, but he dragged his effort wide of Karius' near post. Liverpool's lack of composure was then further exemplified by Joe Gomez - who'd had a solid match in truth - picking up his second yellow card.
Liverpool will lament not killing the game off when they had a lot of chances to do so, and frustration looked to continued after the final whistle, with Klopp both giving and receiving an earful to and from the Sevilla bench.