Wasteful Liverpool held at Spartak Moscow despite Philippe Coutinho strike
Champions League Group E - Otkrytie Arena – Spartak Moscow 1 (Fernando 23) Liverpool 1 (Coutinho 31)
Liverpool’s wait for a Champions League group-stage victory goes on after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow.
Philippe Coutinho’s well-worked goal levelled matters for Liverpool in the 31st minute after Fernando fired the Russian champions ahead.
Despite recording 16 shots in total, and seven on target, Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to find a winner as their troubles in front of goal came to the forefront once more.
Liverpool had plenty of early opportunities, but again their profligacy in front of goal cost them as Loris Karius couldn’t keep out Fernando’s 23rd minute free-kick, meaning Liverpool’s almost eight year wait for a Champions League clean sheet goes on.
Down the other end, Liverpool continued to play fluid, exhilarating football, and were level eight minutes later through Coutinho, after a brilliant one-two with Mane to play in the Brazilian.
The second half was much less intense, as Spartak got men behind the ball to preserve what is for them a very good point.
Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebratesGetty Images
Nonetheless, Liverpool had more than enough chances to snatch three points, but that final pass, and poor finishing, let them down, with Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge guilty of missing great chances late on. Liverpool's winless run in Europe's elite competition stands at seven, piling the pressure on their trip to Maribor next up.
Death, taxes and Liverpool missing chances. Jurgen Klopp has seen it all before - Liverpool’s matches this season have all been eerily similar. They had enough chances to win by a handsome margin in the Russia capital, but again wastefulness in front of goal was their undoing. It is as much the final pass being poor that is the problem. Liverpool got into good positions time and again, but the decision making was inept in the extreme, from players who should know better.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Artyom Rebrov. An injury brought his game to a premature end, but a string of fine saves earns the Spartak goalkeeper the man of the match award. He was like lightning off his line, didn’t fumble a single cross, and showed tremendous reflexes whenever called upon.
16’ - DOUBLE SAVE! Quick free-kick catches Spartak out, Salah is in, the angle is tight but he forces a good stop from Rebrov, but less then 30 seconds later, the Spartak stopper brilliantly denies Firmno after Mane had planted a cross right on the Brazilian's head.
23’ - GOOOOOAAAALLLL! Spartak Moscow 1-0 Liverpool. Fernando fires the free-kick into the net to send the home fans into raptures. Questions will be asked. Firstly there was a catalogue of errors that led to the free-kick being conceded. Secondly, the free-kick itself was very close to Karius. Should he have saved that?
28’ - SAVE! Mane does well to carry the attack to Spartak, cuts inside, fires for goal, but Rebrov is down smartly to smother.
31’ - GOOOOAAAALLL! Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool. Brilliant, brilliant equaliser from Coutinho gets the Reds back on level terms. Coutinho carried the ball to the edge of the area, laid it off for Mane, who threaded it back to Coutinho, first time, before the Brazilian slotted the ball high into the net. Exhilarating, attacking football. 40 goals in games involving Liverpool this season.
53’ - SAVE! Another good stop from Rebrov, low to his right. Coutinho's free-kick wasn't hit completely true, but still needed parrying away.
81’ - CHANCE! Awful defending gifts Firmino a chance on the edge of the box, but he panics and lashes the ball over the top. Had time to pick his spot.
89’ - CHAAAANCE! The flag stays down, Sturridge is unmarked on the end of a pinpoint Moreno cross, but he volleys over the top.
90+7’ - SAVE! This is getting ridiculous now. Super ball into the middle from Alexander-Arnold, Salah meets it, but heads straight at Selikhov, who throws out and arm to keep out the header.
Jurgen Klopp, Sparktak Moscow v LiverpoolGetty Images
Liverpool have drawn four consecutive Champions League games for the first time since March 2002, while managed by Gerard Houllier.
The Reds extended their longest ever winless streak in the Champions League to seven games (D4 L3), having last won in September 2014 against Ludogorets.
Jurgen Klopp has not won any of his last six Champions League games (D3 L3); this after winning five in a row beforehand, while in charge of Borussia Dortmund.