At about the 40th minute of the Sevilla game, I was feeling complacent enough about the score that I stopped watching for a bit to play some Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?. I wasn’t expecting Liverpool to take the same approach to the second half as me.
Of course, if you think about it while taking deep breaths, you’ll realise the result is fine. It’s fine. Liverpool are still set to finish top of Group E if they win against Spartak Moscow next month, and a draw against a team like Sevilla is a fine result. Everything is just fine.
Except, of course, it really, really isn’t. And there’s good reason for treating the draw like a defeat when it came out of a team-wide collapse in the second half. Phil Coutinho agrees on that front.
"It wasn’t a good result, we almost felt like we do after a defeat," he told the club’s official website. "We had a great first half and then in the second half we let everything unravel and so we were all feeling very frustrated.”
"We have to stay awake all the time, 100 per cent,” Coutinho added, stating what I had hoped was 100 per cent obvious but I guess I’m glad we’ve now established. “I think that the first half, the way we went into the game, we have to go into the second half [like that] too. And I think all of the players, we all switched off a little bit and we thought that at 3-0 it was going to be a little bit difficult for the opposition [to come back].”
"That’s what happens sometimes when you play football."
"If you had offered us a draw [before the game] that would have been fine and [felt] better than the way the game went. The problem is that we were 3-0 up and playing with great intensity and had a result that was going to be great but then they drew level and that frustrated us.”
"But really, it’s a point for us and we are still top of the group, so it was an important point."
That’s a pragmatic way to look at it, and probably healthier to focus on than spending the two days before Chelsea comes to Anfield buried in self-recriminations. But that second-half performance has to be addressed, as do the decisions that contributed to the final score. And that has to happen now.