Liverpool fans got to see both sides of their team on Tuesday night in Spain as they raced to a 3-0 lead over Sevilla as Roberto Firmino scored either side of a goal from Sadio Mane in a blistering opening 30 minutes.
But thenReds fans had to sit and watch in horror as Liverpool’s defensive frailties reared their head once again as they conceded three times in the second half and squandered a chance of early Champions League qualification.
Afterwards Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport:
‘It was a very good first half and not a very good second half. We stopped playing football in the second half and let them come back in the game.’
When asked if Liverpool had been complacent, Klopp said:
‘We were confident up to that first half and then we were too late in a situation, the whole formation was too late.
‘They had the free-kick and the header and the penalty. The real problem is that we stopped playing football.
‘3-0 is a wonderful result, there is nothing bad to say about that at half time, but you have to stay in the game. It was 50 minutes [when Sevilla scored their first goal], that’s a long time to try and stay in the game, you can score 10 times in that if you want.
‘We wanted to control, but we got passive, we were a little bit too deep. They fought back, big credit to them, but we had to do it differently’.
Liverpool will still win Group E if they beat Spartak Moscow at home in a fortnight, however Klopp admits it feels worse than the situation really is.
He said: ‘It feels like we lost, but we didn’t lose. There is a game to go and it is still in our own hands – but at the moment it is really bad.’
There was an element of history repeating itself as Liverpool led the 2016 Europa League final 1-0 at half-time only to lose 3-1 and six of the players who featured in Basel on that night played some part in Seville.
The character of Klopp’s players has been called into question since then but the Reds boss does not believe it is an issue.
‘We showed already fantastic mentality against Dortmund (staging a late comeback to win the Europa League quarter-final 4-3), we showed it in a lot of other games.
‘Yes it was not perfect tonight but it’s not a general problem. It just happened. Could we have done better? 100 per cent. Do I think it’s a mentality problem? 100 per cent not.
‘We opened the door for them, didn’t close it, so they could score in the last minute. That’s the story of the game.’