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Spartak Moscow 1, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

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Football is unfair and I hate it.

Spartak Moskva v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Spartak Moscow 1: Fernando 23’,
Liverpool 1: Coutinho 31,

  • Pre-match Thought: Tonight marks the first time we get to see the fab four start a game. John, Paul, George, and Ringo only had a total of seven minutes together before Paul was subbed off last time out in the Champions League. There are definitely goals out there, so long as our defense can keep a Promes-less Spartak at bay, we should set ourselves up for a good finish in the group. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic: always a bad sign before a big game.
  • Emre Can in trouble early after badly mistiming a tackle, and going straight into the book. It will be a long remaining 84 minutes for a midfielder prone to rash challenges.
  • The first big chance of the night falls to the unlikely Trent Alexander-Arnold. He works a 1-2 with Mohamed Salah inside the box, but cannot put his chest-down volley on target. Salah looking very lively early.
  • The amount of time Alexander-Arnold is taking on throw ins is the stuff of Tony Pulis’s deepest, darkest fantasies.
  • Roberto Firmino nearly opens up scoring with a bullet header from about 10 yards. Unfortunately, it was hit straight at the keeper, and Salah can only win a corner from the shot off the rebound.
  • Can proving to be the weak link so far, giving up a dangerous counter attack from an ill-advised pass, eventually resulting in a free kick from 25 yards out in the center of the park.
  • Goal. Fernando steps up and buries it. The shot was just beyond Karius’s reach, though it is fair to wonder if the young German keeper couldn’t have done better. And, repeat after me: It. Was. On. Their. First. Shot. On. Target. (Or otherwise).
  • The net finally bulges for Liverpool, but Mane’s cool headed finish won’t count as it is justly blown offside.
  • GOAL! Liverpool Level things up, finally getting their reward after a dominant first half an hour. Coutinho plays a fantastic 1-2 with Mane, leaving the Brazilian in the box alone with a terrified keeper. Which is fair, because the only thing stoping Phil from 8 yards is himself. Game on.
  • Firmino whiffs on a tap-in at the back post. It looked like he wasn’t expecting the defender to miss Jordan Henderson’s cross, but really any solid contact would have given the Reds a deserved lead.
  • Yet another golden opportunity left wanting by the Reds. Liverpool spring a counterattack with numbers off the first Spartak corner of the night. Trent to Hendo, and then Hendo tried to square to either Mane or Salah, who were both in position to tap it home. However, Mane was slightly offside, and Salah couldn’t convert anyway. So it goes.
  • Halftime Thought: Another dominant half leaves us wanting, and fearful that we’ll pay for not taking full advantage. Spartak have 1 goal from 1 shot, whereas Liverpool have 1 goal from 9 (5 on target).
  • Coutinho gets his chance to shine on a free-kick, but despite putting it on target the Spartak keeper was up to the challenge, getting down to palm away the effort.
  • Hey! Loris Karius finally made a save this season. Atta boy! More please.
  • You will never see a more clear-cut penalty than Salah wasn’t awarded. Unbelievable. The Egyptian was clear through on goal, only for the defender to kick his legs out from under him. Should have been a pen, and possibly a red too.
  • Sturridge coming on for Sadio Mane. Interesting.
  • And now Emre Can off for Georginio Wijnaldum. Hey Gini, good time to score away from home, eh?
  • As we approach the last quarter of an hour, this game has really ground to a halt. Liverpool look gassed, and Spartak look to hold on to the point.
  • Firmino is having a frustrating night. He’s getting into all the right positions, and doing everything right except for the finish. He just now picked a defender’s pocket at the edge of the box, turned, and fired his shot into the stands. Chances appear to be dwindling.
  • Henderson picks out Sturridge for another huge chance from about 8 yards out in the dying moments of the match. You expect Danny to at least find the target, but not tonight. Instead he skies his shot.
  • Salah, with another bullet header straight down the throat of the keeper. It’s just not our night.
  • Final Whistle Thought: I just don’t know at this point. Another dominant performance, another disappointing draw. Liverpool didn’t take their many chances, and Spartak took their one.

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.