Correa leveller spoils Liverpool return | The Daily Star
11:19 AM, September 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:41 AM, September 14, 2017

Correa leveller spoils Liverpool return

Roberto Firmino's first-half penalty miss proved costly for Liverpool as Joaquin Correa scored a dramatic equaliser to grab Sevilla a 2-2 Champions League draw on Wednesday.

Anfield was in jubilant mood as the English club welcomed back Champions League football after a two-year absence, but it took Sevilla just four minutes to dampen the enthusiasm.

After Wissam Ben Yedder had given the Spanish side an early lead, goals from Firmino and Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead, only for Firmino to miss a penalty.

On the hour, Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo was dismissed for throwing the ball away from Liverpool's Joe Gomez as he tried to take a throw-in, but his disappointment was eased, thanks to Correa, on 72 minutes.

All four sides in Group E are level after the opening round of matches, as Maribor played out a 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow in Slovenia.

The opening goal was the product of a poor defensive mistake by Dejan Lovren, who completely miskicked while trying to clear a cross from Sergio Escudero at his near post.

Instead of producing a routine clearance, the defender allowed the ball to run across the face of goal where Ben Yedder had the simple task of sliding the ball into an open net.

Following on from the weekend 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City, it was the worst possible start for Jurgen Klopp's side, although their attacking play was promising.

Emre Can had curled a shot directly at goalkeeper Sergio Rico inside the opening minute and Sadio Mane came closer still as his shot was saved low down by Rico.

- Firmino equaliser -

Firmino struck the important equaliser after 21 minutes following an incisive attack and a Jordan Henderson pass which sent Alberto Moreno away down the left.

He crossed low into the six-yard box, where Firmino lunged ahead of Gabriel Mercado to turn in the equaliser.

Minutes later, the Reds should have been in front after a blistering counter-attack ended with Mane playing Can clean through on goal only for the German international to roll his shot inches beyond the post.

But after 37 minutes, Klopp's side did take a grip of the contest when Salah shot them ahead in fortunate circumstances.

The Egyptian winger's attack into the Sevilla area broke down, but he showed great persistence to win the ball back from Steven N'Zonzi.

Salah's firm, first-time shot from over 20 yards took an unkind deflection off defender Simon Kjaer and looped over goalkeeper Rico and in.

Before the interval, the tie should have been over when defender Guido Pizarro appeared to handle, before hauling down Mane inside the Sevilla area.

Firmino strode up to take the penalty but, having sent Rico the wrong way, saw his effort rebound to safety off the right-hand post.

Liverpool continued to press the visitors after the restart and, after Berizzo's dismissal, a Georginio Wijnaldum shot was well saved by the unsighted Rico through a crowded penalty area.

Sevilla levelled when substitute Luis Muriel was given far too much space in midfield and his through ball was met by Correa, who lifted a superb finish over Loris Karius.

Klopp brought on substitute Philippe Coutinho for the final 15 minutes, his first game for the club since failing to engineer a move to Barcelona, but the Brazilian made little impact.

"Philippe trained the last few days really, really well," said Klopp. "Maybe tonight in one or two situations he was not lucky but that was him without rhythm.

"It helped him that he could play tonight in the long-term, that's for sure."

Muriel might have won the game as he got the better of Gomez and rolled a shot just wide, and the Liverpool youngster compounded his error seconds later with a second yellow card and subsequent dismissal.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino misses the penalty. Photo: Reuters

Klopp at peace after stormy Sevilla conclusion

Jurgen Klopp claimed he had made peace with opposite number Eduardo Berizzo and the Sevilla coaching staff after a stormy conclusion to Liverpool's 2-2 Champions League draw with the Spanish side at Anfield.

Young Liverpool defender Joe Gomez was sent off in the dying seconds of the group game, the second 'dismissal' of the night after Berizzo had been sent to the stands on the hour for throwing the ball away after Gomez hurried to take a throw-in for the home team.

On the final whistle on Liverpool's return to the competition after two years, members of Berizzo's staff appeared to remonstrate with Klopp as the two benches walked down the tunnel.

"It's all fine. I thought they might have been responsible for the red card," explained Klopp.

"But I don't think I had a percentage of influence on his (manager's) position to be honest.

"I was not happy with him throwing the ball away but we're fine. He invited me into the dressing room and we spoke about it.

"But in this situation I was not exceptionally emotional. It was an offensive situation for us, taking a throw-in, and somebody threw the ball away. But I didn't send him to the stand!"

Strangely, the Argentinian manager claimed he was wasting his own team's time to make amends for an incident in the first half when he had been warned by Dutch referee Danny Makkelie for a similar offence.

"In the first half, when we were winning and Liverpool were on the counter attack, I did something that wasn't right, I threw the ball away to waste time," said Berizzo.

"I realised that was a mistake and in the second half, when the ball came to me and we were losing, I decided to throw the ball away to try and make up for what I did in the first half.

"I've had a chat with Klopp and explained exactly that I wanted to put right my initial mistake. He accepted that."

Berizzo could be satisfied with his evening's work after Joaquin Correa grabbed a late equaliser for the visitors.

Liverpool, in contrast, were left counting the cost of a Roberto Firmino penalty miss with the Brazilian hitting the post just before the interval.

Firmino and Mohamed Salah had earlier put the hosts 2-1 in front, cancelling out an early effort from Wissam Ben Yedder.

"Of course I'm not happy with the result but I'm happy with a big part of the game," he said.

"A lot of times when good teams play each other, the games are kind of boring, but this game was the opposite. And that was due to the desire, the passion, the greed of my team.

"Disappointment and frustration are completely normal. We're responsible for the very, very, very good parts in the game and also responsible for the not so good parts. That means you have to take it and use it, you have to feel disappointment."

Klopp had the consolation of seeing Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho return, as a substitute for the final 15 minutes, for his first action since his potential summer move to Barcelona collapsed.

"Philippe trained the last few days really, really well," said Klopp. Maybe tonight in one or two situations he was not lucky but that was him without rhythm.

"It helped him that he could play tonight in the long-term, that's for sure.2

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