Liverpool dominated their first Champions League fixture of the season against Sevilla, but they didn’t have enough to earn the three points. They fell to an early deficit, as Wissam Ben Yedder opened the scoring with only minutes gone in the match. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah struck to turn it around for the hosts. They missed a great chance to put the result beyond doubt as Firmino hit the post from the penalty spot. This allowed Sevilla to get back on level terms, which they did through Joaquin Correa. Here are three things that we learnt from the contest:
Their defence remains a problem
The Reds were the better team throughout and should have won the game, but they gave up two silly goals. Sevilla had only two shots on target and they both ended up in the back of the net. Liverpool continue to concede clear-cut chances to opposition teams and it is both a fault of the system and the individuals on the pitch. Dejan Lovren was very poor this evening, while Joe Gomez added insult to injury by picking up a silly red card.
Their inability to sign any centre-backs during the summer now looks to be a huge mistake. Although Joel Matip looks to be a good defender, they don’t have anybody to partner him in the back four. Lovren continues to make positional errors and doesn’t look to be good enough for this level. Their poor defence will prevent them from going far in the competition.
Mohamed Salah continues to impress
The overriding feeling of the night will be one of disappointment, but Liverpool will be pleased with the performance of Mohamed Salah. He already looks to be value for money and showed that he could deliver at the highest level with an excellent performance. During the match, he completed two dribbles, two key passes and attempted three shots. Sevilla found him difficult to handle and that is an encouraging sign that he can thrive in the Champions League.
His goal signified everything that Jurgen Klopp demands from his players. He worked hard to win the ball back in the final third, before driving forwards and unleashing a powerful effort on goal. It went in thanks to a heavy deflection, but he deserved that slice of luck. Salah looks to be a huge talent and is now ready to do well in England after an ill-fated stint at Chelsea.
Philippe Coutinho is slowly making his way back
The Brazilian made his first appearance of the season after his move to Barcelona failed to materialise. He will have to work hard to get back into the supporters’ good books after he tried to push for a move away from the club. Coutinho is currently looking in from the outside and he couldn’t make any impact after coming on.
He was only given a matter of minutes on the pitch, but his movement and touch looked rusty. After a stop-start pre-season, it is going to take him some time to get back into his rhythm on the pitch. It was a good sign to see him back in the squad and getting some minutes on the pitch, as he will be important over the coming weeks. The suspension to Sadio Mane means that he may have to come into the starting eleven.