Published: Thursday 1st October 2015 by The News Editor
Liverpool’s Europa League campaign continues to stutter and disappoint in equal measure after they were held at home by Sion.
Adam Lallana’s fourth-minute strike – his second goal in as many European matches – was cancelled out by Ebenezer Assifuah and the Reds failed to change the 1-1 scoreline in the remaining 73 minutes.
After an identical result in their opening match in Bordeaux, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers stressed their form at Anfield would be the deciding factor.
He targeted three wins at home to get them out of Group B, but having now dropped two points they may have to recover those in either Kazan at the start of the Russian winter or in the return fixture against Sion in December.
On the evidence so far neither will be an easy task, especially considering Liverpool have won just one of their last nine matches in Europe since beating minnows Ludogorets at Anfield a year ago.
A side currently sitting fifth in a Swiss league of just 10 teams not only managed to keep their more illustrious opponents at bay but also bounced back from conceding early to earn a point.
Rodgers made seven changes from the win over Aston Villa, but just like Saturday’s victory the hosts got the early goal as, for the first time in the few brief spells he has had on the pitch, Divock Origi offered a hint of the potential Liverpool spent £10million on last year.
The 20-year-old Belgium international, whose only previous start came in Bordeaux a fortnight ago, produced a burst of pace which took him past Leo Lacroix on the right of the penalty area, from where he crossed for Lallana, who had come back from an offside position in the initial phase of play, to score.
A similar Origi run and deflected low shot presented Jordon Ibe – playing as a left wing-back with little success – with a chance at the far post, while Joe Allen delayed too long in shooting and eventually chose the wrong option in trying to play in Danny Ings, who could not celebrate his first call-up to the England senior squad with a goal.
And then, true to form, Liverpool conceded a soft equaliser when Nathaniel Clyne gave the ball away, and as it was transferred cross-field Joe Gomez stepped out leaving Ibe trailing behind Assifuah, who nipped in to shoot through Simon Mignolet’s legs.
Origi had one chance just before the break but appeared to have lost some of his earlier verve and this time allowed Lacroix to recover.
The Belgian seemed to get his second wind after the break with a driving run through the inside-left channel but his shot only won a corner – and he was almost out-done by Kolo Toure, of all people, whose overhead kick dropped onto the crossbar.
Allen then put Origi – by now Liverpool’s only recognised striker after Ings was replaced by Philippe Coutinho – clean through but he shot straight at Andris Vanins, while at the other end Assifuah did likewise after turning Gomez.
Lallana had the best chance to win it 16 minutes from time but shot straight at the goalkeeper with only Vanins to beat and for the second successive midweek match – after struggling past League Two Carlisle on penalties in the Capital One Cup – boos rang out at Anfield.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
“@Realaldo474: Disappointing to say the least,another 1-1 draw after scoring 1st yet again.At least sturridge is back v EFC,we will need him.” – Former Reds striker John Aldridge was one of a number of fans who was less than impressed with the side’s latest showing.
Disappointing to say the least,another 1-1 draw after scoring 1st yet again.At least sturridge is back v EFC,we will need him.
— John Aldridge (@Realaldo474) October 1, 2015
Simon Mignolet: 5
Nathaniel Clyne: 4
Kolo Toure: 5
Joe Gomez: 5
Jordan Rossiter: 6
Emre Can: 4
Jordon Ibe: 4
Adam Lallana: 6
Joe Allen: 7
Divock Origi: 7
Danny Ings: 6
Philippe Coutinho: 6
Mamadou Sakho: 5
Alberto Moreno: 5
Divock Origi: Close-run thing with Joe Allen but there was little to choose from. Offered some pace up front and had a number of chances but lack of game-time may have contributed to him not taking them. He did create the goal, however.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Adam Lallana: With only the keeper to beat in the second half, the playmaker shot straight at Andris Vanins when slightly off balance.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Brendan Rodgers’ team selection pointed to another frustrating performance and so it proved. Playing Ibe as a left wing-back never looked like it would pay off and naming only one creative substitute – Philippe Coutinho – looked a mistake.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Another game, another inability to hold on to the advantage of an early lead. Completely changing a defence from game to game cannot help.
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Everton v Liverpool (Premier League, Sunday October 4)
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers accepted after the game that a wasteful performance in front of goal had cost his side in a disappointing performance.
“The result was disappointing, considering the number of chances we created,” he told BT Sport Europe.
“We worked well and had a good start but gave away a disappointing goal with a young player just learning the game, it was probably their only chance.
“To give away a goal like and create as many chances as we did, you’ve got to have enough quality to finish and that was unfortunately the story for us.
“We worked hard but we should have scored the goals with the chances we created.”
Divock Origi showed glimpses of the potential that convinced Liverpool to splash out on him after the 2014 World Cup, but was guilty of missing several chances.
Rodgers added: “We had a number of chances and you’ve got to be clinical. They were real good chances and unless you score them you won’t win at this level.
“Give credit to them, they worked hard and defended well but we’re disappointed because we have to win a game like that.”
On Origi’s performance, he said: “I thought Divock did well; all that was missing was a goal and he’ll be disappointed as he needs to add that to his game over the years.”
Reds’ goalscorer Adam Lallana added: “It was important for us to win. We had enough chances to win but we’re disappointed – we wanted the three points and we felt we created enough but it wasn’t to be.
“We have to move on quickly for a big game on Sunday against Everton.”
Published: Thursday 1st October 2015 by The News Editor