Sevilla 3-3 Liverpool: Reds made to wait for Champions League last-16 spot after losing three-goal lead
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 22/11/17 6:53am
Liverpool threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla as a dramatic 3-3 draw ensured both sides must wait to book their spot in the Champions League last 16.
Three goals in the opening 30 minutes - two from Roberto Firmino (2, 30) and another from Sadio Mane (22) - had Liverpool seemingly cruising into the knockouts as Group E winners.
However, a second-half display strewn with defensive errors saw Sevilla peg them back, with Guido Pizarro netting a 93rd-minute equaliser after a Wissam Ben Yedder double (51, 60 pen) brought the hosts back into it.
Liverpool remain top of Group E, one point clear of Sevilla and three ahead of Spartak Moscow, and the Reds know a draw against the Russian side at Anfield on December 6 will seal their place in the last 16.
Champions League Group E with one game to go
It was a perfect start for Liverpool as Philippe Coutinho's corner was glanced across goal by Georginio Wijnaldum, with Firmino popping up to squeeze the ball in at the back post.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico (5), Mercado (5), Geis (6), Lenglet (6), Escudero (6), Pizarro (7), N’Zonzi (4), Banega (7), Sarabia (6), Nolito (6), Ben Yedder (7)
Subs: Vazquez (6), Muriel (6), Correa (6)
Liverpool: Karius (6), Gomez (6), Lovren (5), Klavan (5), Moreno (3), Henderson (6), Wijnaldum (6), Coutinho (7), Mane (7), Salah (6), Firmino (7)
Subs: Milner (6), Can (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A)
Man of the match: Ever Banega
Sevilla should have equalised, but Loris Karius tipped Nolito's effort onto the post before Ben Yedder saw his low strike narrowly evade the far post.
Liverpool punished the hosts with an almost-identical second, as Coutinho's corner was glanced across goal by Firmino, with Mane tucking the ball away with a diving header.
Liverpool brought Loris Karius and Joe Gomez in for Simon Mignolet and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Sevilla made three changes, with Gabriel Mercado, Wissam Ben Yedder and Ever Banega all getting the nod.
The visitors went three clear on the half-hour mark when Firmino tapped into the empty net after Mane's attempt was saved by Sergio Rico.
Six minutes after the break, Sevilla were handed a lifeline when Ben Yedder headed in from Ever Banega's free-kick after Alberto Moreno's needless foul.
Moreno's return to Sevilla then turned into a nightmare as he gave away a penalty when treading on the foot of Ben Yedder, who picked himself up to tuck away the spot-kick after being asked to retake it.
Liverpool appeared to have weathered the storm, but in the third minute of injury time the hosts earned a corner, which saw the ball ricochet into the path of Pizarro, who tucked home to seal a dramatic draw.
- Liverpool let a three-goal lead slip in a competitive match for the first time since May 2014 against Crystal Palace in the Premier League (also 3-3).
- The Reds have scored the same number of goals in their last three Champions League games (13) as they did in their previous 14 matches in the competition combined.
- In the two games between these sides in the Champions League this season, Liverpool have attempted more than twice as many shots as Sevilla (37 v 18) but scored the same number of goals (5).
- This result means that Premier League clubs are now unbeaten in six successive Champions League matches against teams from La Liga (W2 D4 L0).
Man of the match - Ever Banega
A number of Liverpool players, including Firmino and Mane, were man-of-the-match candidates at half-time, but after squandering a three-goal lead, it is difficult to hand it to a visiting player in a game which ultimately feels like a loss.
Dismissing the first-half performance from Sevilla, it was Banega who set-up Ben Yedder perfectly for their first goal, and the midfielder also put in a vital interception late on to deny Mane the chance to tap in from Emre Can's cross.
Banega was at the heart of every Sevilla attack after the break, passing the ball 78 times in the opposition half, more than Firmino (19), Jordan Henderson (18), Mohamed Salah (15) and Mane (15) combined.
Liverpool host Chelsea in Saturday's late Premier League kick-off, while their final Champions League group game - at home to Spartak Moscow - is two weeks away. A draw will be good enough for the Reds, though they will be targeting all three points with second-placed Sevilla away at Maribor.