The Reds just went and did it again, drawing a game they looked set to win — giving up a lead to Sevilla specifically for the third straight time — making the final round of the Champions League group stage far more exciting than need be. In and of itself, this is not a disaster, and an Anfield draw against Spartak Moscow two weeks from now will be enough to ensure advancement to the knockout rounds, but the Reds’ proclivity for making things as difficult as possible means that no fan will go into that decisive fixture bursting with confidence.
Cooler heads than the one perched atop this writer’s withered old husk will point out that a draw away to the second best side in the group is a good result, that the end product is all that matters, regardless of how the team got there, and that fans should be happy their team is top of Group E. Georginio Wijnaldum sees both sides.
“If you think about the game I don’t think it is a bad result but the way we give it away at 3-0 with a 3-3 draw at the end is not a good sign,” The Dutchman told the official site following the match. “It’s painful if you look at the game but we have to go again.
“We have to speak to each other,” he continued. “Lift each other and help each other to leave this behind and help each other.
“On paper it is a good result but if you look back at the game I don’t think it is a good sign to give 3-0 away.
“I think if you are three goals up to Sevilla then you have to play smarter and you have to know that when they score with the crowd and the players they’ve got they get more and more confident. That’s what we didn’t do well.”
“The good thing about it is we still have it in our own hands and we have to win against Spartak Moscow to go to the next round.”
Indeed, giving up a three-goal lead is not what one would call a good sign. Being smarter would have been better. And advancement to the round of 16 is absolutely in the hands of the Liverpool players, although those hands seem to be coated in whatever they’ve poured on those Japanese slippery stairs.
First up, however, is an Anfield visit from Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, featuring a free-scoring Alvaro Morata and a resurgent Eden Hazard, both of which will undoubtedly be ready to pounce on any opportunities presented to them. Hopefully, their hosts will play a smarter game this time around.