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Klopp on dominant Liverpool’s late lost lead, Sevilla scuffle

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That little touch line altercation between Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Sevilla’s bench staff? No big deal, says Klopp.

The Reds’ boss says Sevilla’s staff accused him of lobbying for manager Eduardo Berizzo to be sent off, which he was, in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Sevilla at Anfield in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic on Wembley loss, Lalas rant ]

“The coach was no problem, but I do not think I had any decision on the referee,” Klopp said. “I did not ask for it. The people on their bench thought I was responsible for his red card and did not like me too much.”

Klopp’s men went down early when Dejan Lovren‘s weak intervention went awry, allowing a pass to Wissam Ben Yedder on the doorstep.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Saleh gave the hosts a 2-1 lead, before Firmino missed a penalty. The Reds dominated the game and chances, but Joaquin Correa made sure both sides earned points with a late goal.

Klopp’s diagnosis was an odd one, at least considering the result.

“It was pretty much a winning performance for 85-86 minutes and the team played well against a side who play well. We had answers for everything apart from the goals. I have to see them again. That is not the good thing. It was an exciting game from my side, everyone saw our desire and passion but we got a point.”

I get the underlying point, but doesn’t Klopp’s assertion that they were fine apart from the goals meet the general criticism of his teams’ defensive performances? And doesn’t it sound like the old “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” cliche?

Anyway, a draw with Sevilla is not the end of the world, especially in a group with Maribor and Spartak Moscow. Essentially, the Reds have three-plus months to sort out their back line, and may just need the January transfer window.

Liverpool concedes late to draw Sevilla 2-2

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Sevilla strikes first
  • Salah, Firmino score
  • Firmino misses PK
  • Correa equalizes, 72′

Liverpool’s defense conceded early in late, throwing away a 2-1 lead in a draw against Sevilla at Anfield in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored for the Reds, while Wissam Ben Yedder and Joaquin Correa netted for Sevilla. Joe Gomez was sent off late for Liverpool.

Philippe Coutinho made his season debut for Liverpool, tying him to Liverpool for the competition with a quarter-hour run. The Reds’ Joe Gomez was given a red card in stoppage time.

Sevilla’s next UCL match is home to Maribor on Sept. 26, while Liverpool travels to Russia for a date with Spartak Moscow. All teams are on a single point.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Reds led 2-1 at the break, but not after going behind after  sloppy Dejan Lovren defense led to a goal from Ben Yedder.

Firmino leveled the score by poking home a square ball from Alberto Moreno.

Salah scored a deflected effort after stripping Steven N’Zonzi of the ball 25 yards out from goal.

Sadio Mane won a late half penalty for the Reds, but Firmino hit the post with his effort.

 

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Would that come back to haunt the Reds? Sure would, as moments after Georginio Wijnaldum saw a decent chance stopped, Sevilla made it 2-2.

Correa had an off-touch but had plenty of room as Liverpool’s defense parted for him with under 20 minutes to play.

The Reds brought on Coutinho, and then Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had a touch line argument with Sevilla staff after the final whistle in which he was filmed denying responsibility for Joe Gomez’s red card.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

UEFA Champions League Weds. preview

Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images
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Manchester United and Chelsea had little trouble in their UEFA Champions League group stage bows, but the three Premier League clubs in action Wednesday face much stiffer competition.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

Two of the three begin their group stages at home, with a third traveling to Rotterdam for a De Kuip test at Feyenoord.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Borussia Dortmund

With apologies to Group C, Spurs drew the stiffest test in Europe with Group G’s tandem of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund (in addition to APOEL Nicosia). The group kicks off at Wembley Stadium with a visit from USMNT teen Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund, a side which has yet to concede a goal in Bundesliga play and sits atop the table.

Midfield general Nuri Sahin has been wonderful for BVB this early campaign, and ex-Barca back Marc Bartra joins Greece national team standout Sokratis Papastathopoulos in a stingy defense. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have their work cut out for them, and so does the back line. Here’s BVB boss Peter Bosz:

It could come down to which Christian is able to work more magic: Pulisic or Eriksen. Pulisic posted a goal and three assists in his first UCL go-round last season, while Eriksen managed just a single assist as Spurs bowed out of the UCL at the group stage. We’ll give Spurs an emotional edge on Wednesday, hopefully ending their Wembley “hoodoo” or at least managing a point. 2-2.

Liverpool vs. Sevilla

Knocked out of the UCL by Leicester City last season, Sevilla is best known for its quintet of Europa League crowns. The last of those came at the expense of the Reds, as Daniel Sturridge‘s 35th minute opener in Basel was canceled out by three second half goals. Coke scored two and Kevin Gameiro the other, but both of those players are gone.

Sevilla signed ex-Man City men Jesus Navas and Nolito this summer, and has a variety of weapons including Wissam Ben Yedder, Steven N’Zonzi, and Luis Muriel. Expect Liverpool to have a heck of a time defending, but also to find some success in the final third. Would Reds fans take 2-2 in what will be the second most difficult game in the group (aside from the return leg)?

Feyenoord vs. Manchester City

The Dutch champions entertain Man City while in the throes of a 4-0 start to the Eredivisie season. Feyenoord lost just four league matches last season and led the table wire-to-wire, the first managerial title for former Arsenal and Barcelona player Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The club’s most familiar names are former Watford man Steven Berghuis, midfielder Tonny Vilhena, and Danish national team striker Nicolai Jorgensen. Ultimately, this could be a tight win for City. If Pep Guardiola‘s team really wants to make a statement, it’ll be a big win.

Elsewhere
Maribor vs. Spartak Moscow
RB Leipzig vs. Monaco
Porto vs. Besiktas
Real Madrid vs. APOEL Nicosia
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Napoli

Champions League: Napoli, Sevilla move on

AP Photo/Claude Paris
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Celtic’s 8-4 aggregate win over Astana earlier Tuesday was just the tip of the iceberg.

[ MORE: 426 world clubs, ranked weekly ]

Eight more goals came calling in a quartet of UEFA Champions League playoff round second legs on Tuesday, as Sevilla, Napoli, Maribor, and Olympiacos joined the Bhoys in the group stage.

Sevilla 2-2 (4-3 agg.) Basaksehir

When Sevilla brought two away goals back to Spain, this leg threatened absolute boredom. That couldn’t have been more off base, as the Turkish visitors took a 1-0 through Eljero Elia to put the match back in the balance and didn’t quit once the Istanbul side made it 4-2. But Edin Visca’s 83rd minute goal was all they’d muster, and Sevilla avoided a massive upset to reach the UCL group stage.

Nice 0-2 (0-4 agg.) Napoli

There will be no Mario Balotelli reunion with Anfield in the UEFA Champions League, as Napoli got an early second half goal from Jose Callejon to bury any hopes of the Ligue 1 side coming back from a 2-0 first leg hole. Lorenzo Insigne scored in the 89th minute to make the final moments even less dramatic. He hit the ball really well.

Maribor 1-0 (2-2 agg.) Hapoel Be’er Sheva

It’s cliche to say there were “scenes” in any given big game, but the Ljudski vrt spent the final 15 minutes building to a crescendo. If there was a lid on the place, it would’ve blown at the final whistle as the Slovenian side knocked its Israeli visitors into the Europa League.

Rijeka 0-1 (1-3 agg.) Olympiacos

Not much drama here, as ex-Chelsea winger Marko Marin scored in the 25th minute to put Croatia’s Rijeka in a pretty deep hole.

Still to come Wednesday
All matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Copenhagen vs. Qarabag (Qarabag leads 1-0)
CSKA Moscow vs. Young Boys (CSKA leads 1-0)
Slavia Prague vs. Apoel Nicosia (Apoel leads 2-0)
Liverpool vs. Hoffenheim (Liverpool leads 2-1)
Steaua Bucharest vs. Sporting CP (First leg 0-0)

Vitolo to join Atletico in 2018 after stint with Las Palmas

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid says Spain forward Victor “Vitolo” Machin has agreed to join the club when its ban on new players ends in January.

Until then, Atletico says Vitolo will leave current club Sevilla and play the first half of the upcoming season at his boyhood club in the Canary Islands, Las Palmas.

[ MORE: Januzaj leaves Manchester United ]

The unorthodox agreement is Atletico’s way of getting around the FIFA-imposed ban from registering new players until 2018 for having broken rules regarding the transfer of underage players.

Atletico says that the 27-year-old Vitolo has agreed to a contract that will keep him at the club from 2018 until June 2022.

Vitolo helped Sevilla win three Europa League titles from 2014-16 and has been capped 11 times by Spain. He came up through Las Palmas’ youth program before joining Sevilla in 2013.

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