LIVERPOOL 2-SEVILLA 2 REDS KICK OFF UCL WITH DRAW

REDS HELD TO STALEMATE DESPITE DOMINATION

JOAQUIN CORREA snatched a dramatic equaliser for Sevilla as even substitute Philippe Coutinho failed to earn Liverpool a deserved victory.

Roberto Firmino slotted home and missed a penalty and Mohamed Salah netted a deflected long-ranger as the Reds roared back from Wissam Ben Yedder’s early opener in their first Champions league group game.

Joaquin Correa cannot contain his delight after his late leveller for Sevilla

But the outstanding Correa punished dozy defending from the Reds on a rare breakaway for the Spaniards as he rolled in a 72nd minute equaliser.

And a miserable climax for Liverpool was completed by Joe Gomez seeing red in stoppage time.

Earlier on the Reds’ calm start had been rocked after just five minutes.

Five quick, slick passes opened up their defence and, when Dejan Lovren failed to clear a cross from the left, Ben Yedder sidefooted Sevilla in front.

Sadio Mane led Liverpool’s storming response, threatening twice even before his fierce 20-yarder forced Sergio Rico into a fine low save.

After that Sevilla were more and more stretched by the speed, width and precision of the Reds in the final third of the field.

And that flowing brilliance peaked with Firmino’s leveller on 21 minutes.

Alberto Moreno was the main man as passes zipped across the Sevilla area for the Brazilian to finally slide home.

Emre Can almost matched that moments later but angled his left-footer wide after Sevilla were once again bypassed by the deftness of Liverpool’s build-up.

But when the home side grabbed the lead they richly deserved it was more down to luck than their clear superiority.

Nonetheless, Salah showed the Reds could match their craft with graft by battling to rob Steven N’Zonzi. The Egyptian winger ploughed forward and his optimistic left-footer veered fiercely enough off Simon Kjaer to wrong-foot Rico and nestle in the corner.

Firmino’s eventful night was at its most feverish in this spell as it was his soaring jump that won the ball for Mane to burst into the box, prompting Nicolas Pareja to haul him down.

Frontman Firmino’s resulting penalty sent Rico the wrong way but thudded off a post.

Liverpool’s rampant finish to the first period was summed up in the closing seconds as the lively Moreno slipped free for a skimming shot tipped away.

And the first 20 minutes of the second period was just as dynamic and dominant for the high-tempo Reds.

Sevilla chief Eduardo Berizzo was clearly ratted – as he was sent to the stands after a bizarre bust-up with Gomez.

Having already been warned for similar sideline antics, he threw the ball away when Gomez tried to retrieve it.

Berizzo’s team, though, never panicked.

And from the rarest of chances they grabbed the most valuable of equalisers.

Correa was fortunate to see his iffy first touch squirm back to him right in the middle of the area. And his ensuing finish was cool and firm as he planted his shot past the advancing Lorius Karius.

That sparked the introduction of Coutinho, who must have been delighted by the rousing reception he got from Liverpool fans after the move he craved to Barcelona collapsed.

But the Brazilian failed to make decisive touches in the areas of the pitch that mattered most as Liverpool’s approach play became more ragged and desperate.

That frustration was summed up by right-back Gomez being dismissed for his second bookable foul as the Reds had to settle for a draw.

Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp said: “We had answers for everything apart from the goals.

“It was pretty much a winning performance for 85-86 minutes.”

And skipper Jordan Henderson added: “They got us on the counter-attack.

“The lads reacted well to the weekend [losing 5-0 at Manchester City]. We looked exciting and could have scored a few more goals.”

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