SEVILLA 3 - 3 LIVERPOOL
Sevilla stun Liverpool in six-goal Champions League thriller
The Spanish side were trailing their Premier League rivals by three goals as they went in at half-time but came out fighting and earned a deserved point at the death.Champions League Final: Real Madrid - Liverpool
We brought you live coverage of Sevilla hosted Liverpool in the Champions League matchday 5 encounter from the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. And what a game it turned out to be.
Sevilla vs Liverpool: match report
We've heard the phrase countless times before, "it was a game of two halves," and tonight's Premier League visitors were part of one of the most famous of these as they fought back from three nil down in Istanbul to eventually lift the Champions League trophy. Well, tonight it was The Reds who were turned over in the second 45, a result that puts their continuation in Europe's showpiece competition at risk.
Firmino and Mane quieten the Pizjuán
Jürgen Klopp could not have asked for a better start. The clock hadn't ticked much over one minute when Philippe Coutinho delivered a corner which was flicked on at the front post by Georginio Wijnaldum and the deep, late run to the back post of Firmino wasn't picked up allowing him to drill home past Sergio Rico. The red and white sails lost some of their air but after a few minutes it was clear that Sevilla were fired up enough to get back into the game quickly. Chances came, good chances, for Nolito and then Ben Yedder but both were unable to convert. More were surely just around the corner. No. Instead, a corner was to be the undoing of their own defence once again.
If the opening goal was off the training ground - and it certainly looked that way - then Berizzo may forgive his players being caught out with its perfect execution. But to be done with an almost identical move is unforgivable. Maybe the covering defenders were keeping Firmino under watch, however it was Sadio Mane this time making the late run. Firmino managed to turn provider with the flick and the Senegalese forward got low and guided a unsaveable header home. Sevilla were being made to pay for those missed opportunities. That was enphasised further as Mane repaid his Brazilian strike partner, with some good fortune, as his shot was saved by Rico and rolled into the path of Firmino just a few yards out with the goal wide open and waiting. Three up and surely a controlled, conservative performance in the second half to secure top spot in the group. Not so.
Sevilla ignite the crowd and Group E
Whatever Berizzo said at half time worked. Sevilla came out with belief, desire and intent. Their opponents kicked off but were defending a corner inside a couple of minutes. They didn't notch as early as Firmino had in the opening exchanges of the match but it wasn't far from coming. Five minutes in and Sevilla old boy, Alberto Moreno, gave away a free kick with an unnecessary and clumsy foul. Ben Yedder's perfectly timed run towards the front post gave him the opening to glance Banega's delivery goalwards with a flick of the head. It nestled just inside the far post as Karius stared longingly. Still, a two-goal cushion, with a constant threat in the other direction should be enough, no?
But for a few moments to kill off the game, the pressure continued to mount against the visitors and as it did, so did the noise levels around the Pizjuán. The biri-biri fans don't need much invitation to raise the roof and when a penalty was awarded from more poor control and judgement from Moreno, they duly did. Ben Yedder had to retake the spot kick but swapped right for left to send Karius the other way. The game was on.
As Liverpool dropped further back, looking to absorb the pressure and hope to hit on a speedy break time looked to be running out for the hosts, eager to keep a chance to top the group for the final game. Eventually it came, another corner, this one in the 93rd minute, and a now-typical clearance attempt from the Reds' in their area. Pizarro finishing it off in the crowd. The game was drawn, the spoils shared, and it was the fairest result, although some may find that harder to see than others.
Sevilla vs Liverpool: how it happened
Sevilla vs Liverpool: preview
This penultimate MatchDay meeting could well play a big part in determining who finishes top of Group E and avoid a potentially nasty surprise in next month’s knockout round draw. Liverpool, who sit top of the section on eight points, are guests of Sevilla, who are just one point behind in second place. For the leaders, it’s a glorious chance to mathematically guarantee their place in the next round either as group champions or runners-up; while for Toto Berizzo’s side, this represents perhaps their last opportunity to nudge Klopp’s side off top spot and claim it for themselves.
Much has changed since the two teams played out a 2-2 draw at Anfield on MatchDay 1. Both Sevilla and Liverpool are now firmly in their stride and have settled into the rhythm of the respective domestic leagues. And both teams appear to have smoothed out any issues they had at the start of the campaign.
For Liverpool, that has meant their problems at the back. At times in defence, Klopp’s team have looked so haphazard, so all over the place, they’ve seemed more like Norman Wisdom, on a Segway, driving down the Dock Road than a Champions League-level rearguard. Happily for the German, those glitches seem to have been resolved. Whether it’s because the team is now pulling together to defend as one, or perhaps because Simon Mignolet has decided to stop communicating with his centre-backs in Flemish, the Reds’ defence is water-tight once again and have kept clean sheets against Southampton, Maribor (twice), Huddersfield and Manchester United.
Like their guests tonight, Sevilla have also had to address problems in defence. The 5-1 tonking they suffered in Moscow last month, their heaviest defeat in club history, was a massive blow to morale. But they’ve recovered since then, and even got their own back on Spartak with a 2-1 home win in MatchDay 4. Berizzo has been tweaking his team since their visit to Anfield and seems to have finally arrived at the right formula with either Steven N'Zonzi or Éver Banega - sometimes both, getting stuck in to help the back four in the sweeper/destroyer role. The Andalucians' heads have tended to drop whenever they have found themselves trailing but even that has been corrected now – they bounced back to beat Celta at the weekend – the first time they’ve managed to mount a comeback this season to chalk their eighth consecutive win at home this term. Berizzo tends to play a 4-2-3-1 making full use of both wings when the team attacks.
Sevilla will be hoping to keep their enviable home record intact. They were one of three Spanish teams to lose just once at home last season (Real Madrid and Barcelona being the others); only two teams have come away with a win from the Sánchez Pizjuán in a year and a half – Barcelona in Week 11 of last year’s LaLiga campaign and Juventus - curiously, in exactly this matchday fixture in last year’s Champions League...
Liverpool will go through if they win - or if they draw and Spartak lose to Maribor; Sevilla will qualify for the Last 16 if they win tonight.
Sevilla team news
Nolito, who missed the Anfield match with a hamstring injury has since recovered and opened his account for the season with a header against Celta on Saturday. David Soria also played that game to give first choice keeper Sergio Rico a break but Rico will be back in goal this evening. Berizzo also has players returning from injury – full-back Gabriel Mercado and Joaquín Correa are back training as normal. The coach and Pablo Sarabia said that the team’s idea is to go all out for the win from kick-off even if a draw would probably suit both teams.
Sevilla asked fans to turn up to the stadium well in advance as they have some kind of visual event planned 20 minutes before kick-off which all sounds very exciting.
Man to watch: Ben Yedder. He’s the team’s top goal scorer with six in the competition and another two in LaLiga. He opened the scoring at Anfield in Sevilla’s first attack of the game – it was a typical move by the Andalucians, with the ball taken to the by-line the pulled back for one of the forwards - Ben Yedder, Luis Muriel or Correa to finish.
Liverpool team news
Just as his casualty room has cleared out, Jürgen Klopp’s own health has been at the forefront of his mind. The German coach underwent a routine ‘man-check’ last week but was his usual smiley self in Monday’s press conference. Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mané are all back to full fitness but Lallana is unlikely to be rushed back for this game. Centre-back Joel Matip took a knock against West Ham and was rested against Southampton at the weekend. Loris Karius, who has guarded the net in all four of Liverpool’s European engagements to date, will keep his place while Mignolet rests to focus on the Premier League. Alberto Moreno, who looks certain to start, must put sentiments to one side in his first return back to the Pizjuán.
Man to watch: Mohamed Salah. Blink for just one second, and you’ll miss Salah tearing down the wing like the Tokyo-Kyoto shinkansen on the late night service. He was the best player on the pitch when Sevilla visited Anfield in September, making left-back Sergio Escudero earn his crust and scoring the team’s second goal of the night. Since then, the Egyptian just keeps getting better and better. His brace against Southampton at the weekend took his season’s tally to 14 goals in 18 matches, to set a new club record – overtaking Robbie Fowler’s registry for the most prolific start to any campaign. He’s already a Kop idol and you have to go back many years to find a player who has achieved that feat in such a short space of time.
Sevilla have made a habit of winning their games by the minimum and a 1-0 win is priced at 20/1 with the bookmakers, a 2-1 home win is being offered at 9/1 and if it ends 3-2 on the whistle, odds of 22/1 are available. Liverpool are at 14/1 to win the game 0-2 and as for goal scorers, Nolito is at 9/1 to score the first goal of the game; Alberto Moreno is at 33/1 to face being sent to Coventry for a few days if he manages to find the target - against his old club...