The Nigerian Online Newspaper

UCL: Sevilla holds wasteful Liverpool 

Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Sevilla in their Champions League Group E opener at Anfield on Wednesday.
The Reds’ first outing in the competition since 2014 got off to a nightmare start when they fell behind to a Wissam Ben Yedder strike after just five minutes, but goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah turned the game around before half time and ensured that the hosts went into the break ahead.
It was the visitors who made the early breakthrough, though, as Liverpool’s defensive frailties came back to haunt them again after just five minutes when Ben Yedder continued his fine goalscoring form with a simple tap-in following a move littered with Liverpool errors.
Emre Can, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren were all guilty of failing to deal with the danger, with the latter allowing a low cross from the left to squirm under his boot and reach Ben Yedder, who was left with an easy finish to make it four goals in his last five appearances.
Liverpool were quick to respond to the early setback, though, with Can seeing one drive deflect narrowly wide before Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane teamed up to force Rico into a smart reaction stop down to his left.
Firmino rippled the top of the netting with a head from a corner moments later as Liverpool continued to apply the pressure, and it was the Brazilian who levelled things up for Klopp’s side midway through the first half.
The hosts continued to look the more likely of the two teams as Sevilla struggled to deal with their attacking pace, but Liverpool’s second came via fortuitous means when Salah robbed Steven N’Zonzi of possession before seeing a long-range drive deflect off Simon Kjaer and loop past the helpless keeper.
It should have been 3-1 with just a couple of minutes to go until half time when Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Nicolas Pareja first handled the ball in the area before dragging Mane to ground after the winger had skipped away from him. Firmino stepped up to take the spot kick, but he saw his effort come back off the post having sent Rico the wrong way.
Mane then curled one of his own just over the crossbar before Georginio Wijnaldum tested Rico from outside the area, but Liverpool were made to rue their missed opportunities when Sevilla scored the equaliser against the run of play with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Luis Muriel rolled the ball into the path of Correa, who burst through a gaping hole in the Liverpool defence on his way into the box before finishing past Loris Karius with aplomb.
Klopp quickly turned to Coutinho off the bench in search of a winner as the Brazilian playmaker made his first club appearance of the season having seen his desired summer switch to Barcelona denied by Liverpool.
Neither Coutinho nor fellow subs Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could make the difference late on, though, and it was Sevilla who came closest to winning it in stoppage time when Muriel shrugged off Gomez only to slide his finish wide of the target.