11182017

‘We have to be more clinical – 100%’ – Klopp after Liverpool held by Spartak

Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring against Spartak Moscow

Philippe Coutinho scored the first Champions League goal of his career

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side need to be more “clinical” after the Reds were held to a frustrating Champions League draw despite dominating Spartak Moscow in Russia.

Spartak went ahead against the run of play when Loris Karius was easily beaten by Fernando’s free-kick after Philippe Coutinho’s foul just outside the area.

Klopp fielded forwards Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Coutinho in the same game for the first time, and the latter two combined for Coutinho to equalise with his first Champions League goal.

Firmino, Mane and substitute Daniel Sturridge spurned good chances as Liverpool were forced to settle for a second successive draw in Group E.

“We have to be more clinical – 100%,” said Klopp, whose side are two points behind group leaders Sevilla, who beat Maribor 3-0 in Spain.

“To create all those chances and only score one goal feels average. It was a crazy game.

“What can I say? We created, created and created. Where is the real point for criticism? We tried with all we had. The effort was great.”

Reds not ruthless enough despite ‘Fab Four’

Liverpool were the better side throughout and peppered the Spartak goal with 16 shots, yet they remain without an away victory in Europe’s most prestigious competition since 2009.

For once, their failure to win a game had nothing to do with the defence.

With Mane back from a three-match suspension, Klopp opted to start with his four most potent attacking players and this will surely feel like two points dropped for the manager.

As exciting as the Reds were going forward, they were guilty of spurning chance after chance.

Graphic showing how Spartak Moscow touched the ball just once inside the Liverpool penalty area in the first half, while the Reds were pretty much camped inside the hosts' half<!–

Spartak Moscow (left) touched the ball just once inside the Liverpool penalty area in the first half, while the Reds were pretty much camped inside the Russian team’s half

By the time Sturridge volleyed over from close range in the 90th minute, unmarked Firmino had headed a good chance at Artem Rebrov, while Mane fired another chance straight at the Spartak goalkeeper.

The equaliser was well worked, Coutinho sweeping powerfully home from an angle after Mane had returned his pass to split the Russian defence and silence the home crowd.

Yet even after Sturridge’s miss, Salah was denied by a brilliant, one-handed save by substitute keeper Aleksandr Selikhove in the 96th minute after Rebrov had earlier been injured saving from the Egypt international.

Is Klopp right to change keepers?

Liverpool named their third different goalkeeper in as many matches – yet they still only have two clean sheets in 11 games this season.

After Danny Ward played in the Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester last week, Klopp recalled Karius in Moscow despite Simon Mignolet saving a penalty in Liverpool’s Premier League win over the Foxes on Saturday.

Champions League Group E table<!–

Spartak rarely threatened but Karius could have done better for the goal which put the hosts ahead with their first serious chance.

Emre Can was caught in possession inside his own half, forcing Coutinho to concede a free-kick outside the area, and Fernando curled the set-piece over the wall and beyond Karius – though the effort did not find the corner.

The German did beat away Andrey Yeshchenko’s fierce strike after the interval but the debate will continue over whether Klopp is right to rotate his keepers.

Karius has conceded 19 goals in his 19 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho

Phlippe Coutinho celebrates scoring against Spartak Moscow<!–

Where would Liverpool be without Coutinho? Eighteen-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold had another impressive night at right-back for the Reds, but Coutinho did what his team-mates couldn’t – find the net.

Champions League draw specialists – the stats

  • Liverpool have drawn four consecutive Champions League games for the first time since March 2002.
  • The Reds extended their longest winless run in the Champions League to seven games – losing three – having last won in September 2014 against Ludogorets.
  • Coutinho has now scored nine goals in his past 14 appearances for Liverpool.
  • Liverpool have not kept a clean sheet in the Champions League since November 2009 against Debrecen, conceding in their past nine games.

What’s next?

Liverpool have two big Premier League games before their next Champions League game against Maribor in Slovenia on 17 October (19:45 BST) – Newcastle away on Sunday (16:30) and Manchester United at Anfield on 14 October (12:30).

Spartak’s next Champions League game is at home to Sevilla on 17 October (19:45).

Live Text

Match ends, Spartak Moscow 1, Liverpool 1.

Second Half ends, Spartak Moscow 1, Liverpool 1.

Attempt missed. Mario Pasalic (Spartak Moscow) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Serdar Tasci.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) with an attempt from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross.

Substitution, Spartak Moscow. Pedro Rocha replaces Aleksandr Samedov because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Aleksandr Samedov (Spartak Moscow) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a through ball.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge.

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a headed pass.

Offside, Liverpool. Roberto Firmino tries a through ball, but Daniel Sturridge is caught offside.

Substitution, Spartak Moscow. Lorenzo Melgarejo replaces Ivelin Popov because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ivelin Popov (Spartak Moscow) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Andrey Eshchenko (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Emre Can.

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Salvatore Bocchetti (Spartak Moscow).

Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge replaces Sadio Mané.

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

Andrey Eshchenko (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Spartak Moscow. Alexander Selikhov replaces Artyom Rebrov because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Artyom Rebrov (Spartak Moscow) because of an injury.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Aleksandr Samedov.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Artyom Rebrov (Spartak Moscow) because of an injury.

Corner, Spartak Moscow. Conceded by Loris Karius.

Attempt saved. Andrey Eshchenko (Spartak Moscow) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Luiz Adriano.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Andrey Eshchenko.

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Fernando (Spartak Moscow).

Foul by Emre Can (Liverpool).

Ivelin Popov (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Serdar Tasci (Spartak Moscow).

What Next?

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