A second-half rally by Sevilla and defensive frailties saw Liverpool squander a three-goal lead against the Spanish team that culminated in a 3-3 draw.
While Sevilla, who won the Europa League trophy over the Reds in 2016 did not dealt the same amount of heartbreak this time around, Liverpool is reminded once more that their defensive frailties remains ever present despite their scintillating attacking form.
Jurgen Klopp’s team looked to be cruising into the knockout stage for the first time since 2009 in the first-half. The first came just after 88 minutes, and was flicked on by Georginio Wijnaldum into the path of the unmarked Roberto Firmino, who swept home for Liverpool’s second fastest goal in the competition.
Brazilian international Firmino then turned provider as he flicked on another corner for Mane to power home with his head for his first goal for the Reds since 27 August, and looked to have sealed the game after tapping home Sadio Mane’s parried shot to make it 3-0 on the half-hour.
But Sevilla did come back, beginning at the 51st minute with Alberto Moreno’s needlessly conceded free-kick against his former club, which Wissam Ben Yedder’s header made it 3-1.
Misery piled on the 25-year-old Moreno as he subsequently conceded a penalty by clipping Ben Yedder, which the French striker converted despite being ordered to retake a successful spot-kick because of encroachment.
Guido Pizarro then struck in the dying moments after the visitors failed to deal with a corner to leave Liverpool with work to do in their Champions League campaign, with Klopp claiming that his team stopped playing in what had been a remarkable Champions League tie.
“It feels like we lost the game,” the German manager said.“The description of the game is easy. Fantastic first half for us, the second half we made a mistake — we didn’t carry on playing football. It’s normal to try to control the game but a team like us has to control the game with the ball.”
“We didn’t play football any more. We became passive, they scored the first, then it was obvious the atmosphere changed immediately. That gave them a big boost. Until the second goal we were reactive. After the second goal it was an open game again but we couldn’t score off the counterattacks. We opened the door for them, didn’t close it, so they could score in the last minute. That’s the story of the game.”