Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool: Visitors dominate but can’t find winner

Roberto Firmino and Serdar Tasci vie for the ball

Roberto Firmino and Serdar Tasci vie for the ball

Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw despite dominating at Spartak Moscow in their Champions League Group E clash on Tuesday.

Fernando’s fine free-kick gave Spartak Moscow the lead in an action-packed opening (23), but Philippe Coutinho levelled with his first-ever Champions League goal following a lovely move (31).

Liverpool dominated the second half but were kept out on several occasions, the biggest chances falling to substitute Daniel Sturridge, who blazed over on the volley from close range, and Mohamed Salah, who saw a close-range header saved by sub goalkeeper Aleksandr Selikhov.

After Sevilla’s win against Maribor, the result means Liverpool are in second in Group E, two points behind the Spanish leaders and level on points with Spartak.

In an open and entertaining first half, Artyom Rebrov made good saves to deny Salah’s angled effort and then Roberto Firmino’s free header, before the hosts took the lead.

After Salah had fouled on the edge of the box, Fernando stepped up and found the right of the goal from the resulting free-kick midway through the first half, though there will be question marks over Loris Karius’ dive with the ball not ending up in the corner of the net.

Roberto Firmino reacts to a missed chance for Liverpool

But Liverpool were level eight minutes later through Coutinho, who received the ball back from a superb one-two with Sadio Mane outside the box, finding the roof of the net from 12 yards.

Liverpool should have gone into the break ahead following two chances; Firmino failed to shuffle his feet in time to turn Jordan Henderson’s fine ball goalwards, and on the stroke of half-time a four-versus-two attack ended in Mane being caught offside.

Jurgen Klopp’s side also dominated the second period, going close through Coutinho’s free-kick, before Firmino struck over the bar in space having won the ball back on the edge of the box.

Liverpool will feel they should have won it in the dying stages after Sturridge struck over the bar in space from six yards on the volley, and with just two minutes of the additional eight added on remaining, Salah struck a point-blank header straight at Selikhov from Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

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