The rehabilitation of Philippe Coutinho has begun in earnest, although the Brazilian’s return to Anfield came mid-emergency with him called upon to win for his manager a Champions League game that Liverpool should really never have allowed their Spanish opponents back into.
The little maestro who had his heart set on Barcelona for much of the summer dusted himself down and attempted to cast a little of his own match-winning influence over the game although it turned out to be a challenge too far so early in his return.
Somehow Jurgen Klopp’s team conspired to draw a game that they had dominated from the moment they conceded the first from Wassim Ben Yedder and, along the way even missed a penalty, when the game was at their mercy.
Roberto Firmino was guilty of that, having scored the first before Mohamed Salah notched the second, but having edged Seville to the exit they could not quite nudge them over the threshold.
When the striker Joaquin Correa scored a brilliant equaliser with 18 minutes left his coach Eduardo Berizzo had already been sent to the stands by the Dutch referee and without him, Sevilla held their nerve.
In the closing stages, Liverpool could not put together the move that would win the game and, when they lost Joe Gomez to a second yellow card before the final whistle, it ended up a much worse night than it should have been.
They went off at half-time to a raucous and spontaneous round of applause from the home fans, one bad Alberto Moreno decision in the preceding passage of play from a third goal – although the little Spanish full-back, had, like many of his Liverpool team-mates, enjoyed a fine first half.
This Anfied team for 2017-2018 is already settling into a pattern. Emre Can and Jordan Henderson operate the roadblock in midfield, Georginio Wijnaldum gets himself from box to box and Firmino, is the strong targetman. No denying the stars of the show, however, those wide men Salah and Sadio Mane.
The mistake that undid them in the fifth minute was a throwback to the days when Klopp’s team could not help but undermine their work going forward and so it proved that they had to spent the rest of the half scrambling to get back on top.
Sevilla created very little in attack for the rest of the half but they were ruthless when Liverpool’s right side opened up so early on in the game. Correa played in the overlapping full-back Sergio Escudero who cut the ball back to the near post where Dejan Lovren had plenty of time to concentrate on clearing a cross that was straight at him.
For no good reason the ball disappeared under his feet and behind him in goal Loris Karius had no time to adjust his move to cover the cross that Ben Yedder squeezed in from close range.
For all Klopp’s bemusement on the touchline it never felt like this would be a problem for Liverpool and their equaliser arrived on 21 minutes. Moreno fed the ball to Henderson and then pursued the captain’s perfectly weighted ball down to the byeline to cut the ball back for Firmino. Two minutes later and the Mane’s break created a chance for Can who never looked confident of placing his left-footed shot inside the far post.
The equaliser was fortunate, Salah, retrieving possession from Steven N’Zonzi and clearly fouling the former Blackburn and Stoke midfielder while doing so, before his shot took an outrageous deflection off defender Simon Kjaer and deceived goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Mane won a penalty minutes later when Sevilla’s helpless captain Nicolas Pareja first handled the ball, and when that did not work, wrapped an arm around the winger’s waist and brought him down.
From the spot, Fimino beat Rico with ease but his shot clipped the post and came out. That was the opportunity to open up a gap that Sevilla would never be able to breach and instead Liverpool were left to pursue it all second half, by far the better, more adventurous team but nowhere near as clinical as they needed to be.
Their dominance showed in the frustration of Sevilla’s manager Berizzo who was dismissed just before the hour when he proffered a ball kicked into touch to Gomez and then threw it away as the full-back reached out.
That was the final straw for referee Danny Makkelie who had seen the Argentinian coach do it before and this time sent him to the stands. Berizzo’s reaction was more embarrassment at an unfortunate touchline habit that had got the better of him, than anger at the decision. There had been many chances for Liverpool to score a third before Sevilla’s equaliser, and they numbered 22 attempts on the away goal as the game went into its final 15 minutes.
Such was the levels of anxiety at Mane and Salah that at one point Firmino was allowed to carry the ball further than he had imagined possible and have a shot at goal.
Then, with one chance presented to them, Sevilla scored and it was a magnificent finish from Correa who controlled a throughball played slightly behind him by substitute Luis Muriel with one touch and stroked it past Karius with the second. Muriel had a late chance to win the game and, with Gomez dismissed and Klopp at war with Sevilla’s bench, this was an untidy end to the night for Liverpool.
Right. Let's hand it over to
Sam Wallace for the match report. I'll stick Der Klopper's quotes under here in a sec.
"Came back well after the weekend, unlucky. We try to do the next time better and we take the good things from today."
"Could have taken the three points with the chances we created. Disappointed. Reacted well after the weekend. Looked exciting going forward.
"Wanted to win the ball back quickly, get the crowd behind us. The lads reacted brilliantly, still a lot of positives."
"We needed to be more ruthless, we got done a little bit."
Average touch positions (full time)
Time on ball (at full time)
Red card! Joseph Gomez sent off for Liverpool
Danny Makkelie shows Joseph Gomez a second yellow card - he's off.
FULL TIME: Liverpool 2 Sevilla 2
What a match! And Klopp is involved in some bad feeling with the Sevilla bench at the end.
Gomez gets a second yellow. He's off for fouling Muriel!
That's the last incident of note, a fittingly madcap end to a hectic game.
Liverpool threw away a win. There's an imbalance between attacking play and suspect defending. Plus - inability to close games down? 2-2.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) September 13, 2017
But it's actually Sevilla who have a great chance! Ball is played forward, Liverpool are appealing for offside but the left back is playing Muriel on.... Muriel breaks through, and shoots only a foot wide under extreme pressure from Gomez.
Liverpool with a last roll of the dice. Gomez long throw down the right... Sevilla cannot clear. The Ox wins a corner down the right.
Given that it has been such a harum-scarum game, it's curious that there haven't been many chances since the fourth goal.
So long, Salah, here's the Ox.
Maribor Stork Nightmare have equalised against Spartak Moscow in the other match in this group.
The Ox is coming on.
Corchia down the right. Moreno launches himself into a wild challenge that would either have ended Corchia or got Moreno sent off. As it is, he misses. Everyone has sort of assumed that he's knocked it out of play, but in fact he keeps it in. Corchia has a chance to cross, but there's nobody in the box.
Sturridge is coming on. Sadio Mane shakes his hand. Danny's first appearance for Liverpool in the CL.
Corchia is coming on for Sevilla. Navas the man to make way.
Coutinho showing some fight as he battles for the ball, but he fouls his man.
Sevilla fans making the noise at the moment. They are now slowing the game down. Liverpool have it down the left, looking to build.
Liverpool attacked so brilliantly at times, but here they are.
intensity can't be maintained - a drop off in midfield & we are caught. Sevilla's more studied approach may leave them stronger at finish— Paul Little (@little_football) September 13, 2017
Can comes off. Coutinho comes on. He owes these fans and his manager.
No ambivalence in the greeting for Coutinho at Anfield. Roared him on. Liverpool have paid a price for not being further ahead. 2-2, 77mins.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) September 13, 2017
Coutinho coming on. What odds a late winner in front of the Kop, followed by a badge kiss?— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) September 13, 2017
Mercado, who has already been booked, with a clear block on Mane. Could have been a second yellow.
By the same token, Moreno had done a cynical block a minute or two before, so...
Time on ball (59 - 74 min)
Sevilla level it up with a goal from Joaquín Correa: it's 2-2.
It's Correa. Best player on the pitch . Quick throw from Escuerdo. To Muriel, he brings it, nice diagonal. Through to Correa, who slots it. Lovely slick clever goal.
Sevilla keep coming. Two fun teams.
Ben Yedder's run his race. Muriel's on.
That freekick drops to Wijnaldum, who lashes it at goal. Repelled.
Liverpool again. Out to Moreno on the left, they look to have so many options. Moreno crosses, Navas with a stupid handball, lucky not to be booked.
Gomez has fouled Correa, who ghosted past him. Gomez tugged him back. He's a talented blighter that Correa.
Firmino with a nice run and a shot that's not far wide at all.
Time on ball (45 - 60 min)
This game now officially has everything!
Ref's sent the Sevilla gaffer to the stands!
Liverpool are mad quick and fun to watch. Here they come again, it's Wijnaldum, slips it to Salah who shoots miles over.
Another raking move from Liverpool, it's pulled back for Can who cracks it like a whip. lovely strike, but it hits Firmino! Keeper would have had no chance if that was on target, I dunno.
Matip sets off on an awesome run from centre half, shades of Sol Campbell v Argentina in France 98, and he's eventually stopped by Kjaer in the nick of time! Bring him down Legolas style.
Mane's had an effort after a quick run but Sevilla have threatened several times already this half. Sarabia down the right for the Spanish side, cross, Ben Yedder denied.
Liverpool are trying to take a quick throw, the Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo chucks the ball away. Heh.
Second half is underway and it's Sevilla who are the first to show.
One-way traffic at Anfield
It's been all Liverpool, with the hosts racking up 15 shots so far - Sevilla have managed just two in reply.
Good star from Sir Gary
28 goals last night and already 16 tonight. God knows what's happened to defending. Both of these sides cases in point.
The home side needing no invitation to shoot so far
Liverpool have frequently threatened the Sevilla goal - 14 shots have been attempted, with five of them on target.
Half time: Liverpool 2 Sevilla 1
Wow. That was some half! I could hardly keep up, and I didn't have time to tell you that Pablo Sarabia replaced Guido Pizarro, who'd picked up a knock.
A lovely flowing move brings the half to the end. ball into the Liverpool box, Karius punches clear (and ENglish goalie would probably have tried to catch that). Just one further development to think about post-Brexit. Anyway, the punch launches a counter attack. Salah runs quick and hard. It's fed to Firmino, who then sends it on to the overlapping Moreno, who drills a hard shot at the keeper. Good save. Hacked away, with Salah and Firmino lurking. Half time.
Time on ball (first half)
Average touch positions (half time)
But Firminho has whacked it against the post. He sent the keeper the wrong way, alright, but struck the woodwork.
Liverpool are awarded a penalty. Pareja clipped Mane from behind and he went down. Moreno had sent him through, he's a proper handful tonight. Clear pen.
Pareja managed to handle the ball, then rugby tackle Mane, and when that didn't work, he tripped him up. A magnificent triple penalty.
Moreno booked for a clear, hard foul on Navas. Absolutely cleaned him out.
A goal from Mohamed Salah for Liverpool makes the score 2-1.
Gomez played it in to Salah, it was a good position but not a very good ball. Salah loses the ball in the area, chases after it, and wins it off N'Zonzi. Some would call that a foul on the Sevilla man. Salah has a shot, it takes a huge deflection off poor Kjaer, gives the goalie no chance.
I tell you who would call it a foul on the Sevilla man: about eight Sevilla players, who surround the ref and protest bitterly. REf could have booked several but in the end singles out Baneja.
Gomez wins the ball with some good old fashioned elbow grease, slips to Can. Shoots. Nah.
Time on ball (15 - 30 min)
Neither side able to dictate the game so far
Liverpool having more of the ball so far, with 236 touches to 227 from Sevilla.
After a very enjoyable first quarter, with both teams attacking very well and defending very badly, the game has settled.
Henderson sprays a ball that very nearly sets Salah clear, but not quite the right power on the pass. N'Zonzi with a foul. That's my boy.
And Liverpool nearly have another. A superb pacy counter-attack, this is what Klopp is trying to do.
It's fed out to Can on the left. Liverpool should score here... Can shoots... but he drags it wide.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! Firmino 1-1
A superb team goal. Henderson, Moreno, one two. A neat cross, low, from Moreno, and there's Firmino to tap it in. Well played.
Excellent stuff, that. Firmino had it on a plate.
Poor old Qarabag
but Navas has fouled Mane now, and it's a handily placed freekick. Sevilla clear. Neither side looks at all convincing in defence.
Time on ball (0 - 15 min)
Navas with some nice work, looking quick and hungry, dinks it through to Ben Yedder, who bundles through a challenge and nearly smuggles the ball into the net! Karius sorts it out.
JO is right. A true shocker.
If you’d seen Lovren’s mistake in non-league, rather than Champions League, you still couldn’t explain it….— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) September 13, 2017
Another good move from Liverpool, they are not sulking about that goal at least.
Salah good work down the right, centres, Mane shoots. Keeper makes a meal of it and they have to clear behind.
From the resulting corner, Firmino heads onto the roof of the net. Should have done better maybe, was unmarked.
Liverpool's mood is not improved a minute or two later when Mane races towards the box and is clearly blocked by Pareja. Blatant foul, what more does the ref want?
Wijnaldum has an effort.
Wissam Ben Yedder strikes early to open the scoring - it's 0-1 to Sevilla.
Down the left, they cross. Lovren's had a shocker! Just get it clear, man. Anywhere! He misses his clearance, and it's a tap in.
That is not to say that Dejan Lovren is alone in his shame here. Can and Gomez both had the chance to clear or get a foot in.
SEVILLA score with their 1st attack
Liverpool have come out firing. Here is Salah now, excellent run down the right, this is really nice play from Liverpool. Cut inside to Henderson, whose shot is charged down.
And Rico's in action again, as Mane now gets to the byline and crosses low. Keeper dives to gather. Bright start from the Senegalese
Mane with a nice move down the left, drives into the box, cut back... Can! hits the target with an early shot but always going to get saved by Sergio Rico.
Liverpool will kick off
Sevilla line up
Liverpool line up
Anfield is ready
"Big defeat, it is hard to get the right information out of big defeats. I don't think it would be right if I spoke only about the bad game, when we have had so many good games."
"But that is how it is in life, if you get a big knock you have to respond."
Excellent from Klopp when he's fed one of those leading questions that football reporters favour, the BT guy says something like "you've got Coutinho on the bench is that so you can call on him if you need him?" Klopp: "yes. that is why he is on the bench." [LAUGHS]
Sounds like Coutinho has been forgiven...— Kristian Walsh (@Kristian_Walsh) September 13, 2017
It's an Oasis megamix at Anfield, four days removed from a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.— Kristian Walsh (@Kristian_Walsh) September 13, 2017
Players warming up
Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Coutinho, Sturridge, Klavan, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Mercado, Pareja, Kjaer, Escudero, Nzonzi, Banega, Pizarro, Jesus Navas, Ben Yedder, Correa. Subs: Soria, Corchia, Carrico, Krohn-Dehli, Sarabia, Muriel, Vazquez.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Holland)
As for Liverpool
Mane's karate skills are not relevant to this match, so he will play in a trio with Firmino and Salah
From the team that were battered by City: Mignolet replaces Karius. Klavan drops to the bench in favour of Lovren. Alex-Arnold is not in the matchday squad. Joe Gomez starts.
This means tonight's team is the XI that walloped Arsenal so amusingly the other week, so that's a positive omen.
Who are we looking out for in the Seville side, then?
Well, I am hearing rumours - Sky Sauces - that Jesus Navas (yeah, the one from Man City) has actually been some use to man or beast this season and has even completed a cross or two! Whomever would a thunk it?
In addition, Steven N'Zonzi has started actually passing it rather than just getting booked every game. Lad Simon Kjaer at the back was a perennial Champ Manager wonderkid. Centre forward Wissam Ben Yedder has been attracting some positive notices.
In the manner of an X-Factor contestant
they really made that competition their own, didn't they? Winners in:
2005–06, 2006–07, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Amazing record. And here they are at the continent's top table.
And their opponents
The men from the land of oranges and, er.... barbers? Always in the Europa League, wasn't it? Mmmm? Small Spanish men, Moorish architecture for goalposts.
And in the old "text" format here
In case you're reading this with like your granddad or something.
Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Wijnaldum, Can, Henderson, Salah, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Coutinho, Sturridge, Klavan, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson.
Evening football fans!
Tyers here, Liverpool coming up, and the team news is in.
What is it?
It's the Group E opening game of the Champions League between five-time European Cup winners Liverpool and Sevilla who happened to beat Jürgen Klopp's side in their previous meeting in the 2016 Europa League final.
When is it?
Tonight, so Wednesday Sept 13, 2017.
What time is kick-off?
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie will get the match at Anfield under way at 7.45pm (BST).
What TV channel is it on?
BT Sport 2 will be broadcasting the match with their programme starting at 7pm. Alternatively, you can bookmark this here page and follow our live blog with Alan Tyers at the controls with all the team news, build-up and, of course, minute-by-minute commentary.
What is the team news?
Goalkeeper Loris Karius will start Liverpool's Champions League match at home to Sevilla in preference to regular No 1 Simon Mignolet.
Playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be in Liverpool's squad for the first time this season after his back injury and failed attempt to force a move to Barcelona.
Winger Mohamed Salah sat out training on Tuesday as a precaution because of illness but is expected to rejoin the squad on Wednesday, while centre-back Dejan Lovren is set to return at the expense of Ragnar Klavan.
Liverpool (possible starting XI): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Sevilla will be without Nolito, the former Manchester City player who joined the Spanish club in the summer, after the midfielder picked up a thigh injury while Johannes Geis will also miss out.
Jesús Navas, another former City player, however, is expected to start at Anfield.
Sevilla (possible starting XI): Rico, Mercardo, Lenglet, Kjaer, Escudero, Pizarro, Navas, Ganso, Krohn-Dehi, Correa, Yedder.
What are they saying?
“For me, the most important thing is this is a proper Champions League game and nothing else, not Europa League, not a final from two years ago, it is real – real Champions League.
“We have changed a lot of things since the final, but it is always this way and they have made progress. After a very successful season for them again a very good manager too, so it is a really interesting challenge for us.” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp
"Players of a certain level and personality grow when they come to a stadium and atmosphere like this, they grow in strength.
"Few times in your career do you get to play in front of an atmosphere like this. I am confident the players in my squad are very brave and honest with lots of character and personality."Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo
What are the odds?
Liverpool to win: 3/4 Draw: 3/1 Sevilla to win: 19/5
What's our prediction?
Following their chastening defeat to Manchester City at the weekend and with the loss to Sevilla in May 2016 still fresh in the memories of Liverpool players and fans, we expect Klopp's side to come out with all guns firing which, let's face it, is pretty much the only way they know how to play nowadays. There will, we think, definitely be goals scored at Anfield tonight as the famous old stadium welcomes Champions League football back to L4. Match prediction: Liverpool 3 Sevilla 2