There is no doubting that having come from behind to lead against Sevilla in this week’s opening Champions League group game, having dominated throughout, there’s a huge sense of frustration amongst fans that Liverpool had to settle for a solitary point.
Thanks @lifeofryank for this guest post!
Despite the Spaniards having a measly two shots on target to Liverpool’s seven, both ended in goals meaning Jurgen Klopp’s men will travel to Spartak Moscow later this month with added pressure to get their first win in the competition.
However, a slow start in Europe should be something fans have got used to at Anfield over the years.
Going all the way back to the 2004/2005 season, way before THAT save from Jerzy Dudek and the images of Steven Gerrard lifting the trophy aloft at the Ataturk Stadium, Liverpool needed a late goal from their captain against Olympiacos in the final group game to advance.
And when we look back at the Reds’ European campaigns since that famous night in Istanbul there have been several slow starts, near misses and last gasp saviours.
Back in 2007 it took another final game victory to advance in the competition having started the group with draws away to Porto and Besiktas respectively, and home to Marseille.
In fact that season Liverpool’s start to the competition was so poor that after match-day three it looked an impossible task to make it beyond the group stages.
In the end the Reds managed to string a fine run of form together, recording their highest Champions League victory by beating Besiktas 8-0 at Anfield followed by a convincing win at home to Porto. Yet it still took a win over Marseille in France in the final game to advance.
Standard Liege offered up what almost seems like an annual scare in 2008 when Liverpool met the Belgium outfit in the third qualifying round, with the Champions League adventure almost ending before it even began.
After a goalless draw in the first leg, it took extra-time to progress with Dirk Kuyt scoring a 118th minute winner.
Slow starts are certainly not new to Liverpool, but they can’t always rely on last gasp efforts to spare their blushes.
No one has forgotten what happened last time Liverpool were in the competition, with a 1-1 draw at home to Basel relegating them to the Europa League.
But despite Klopp’s team having a disappointing start to this season’s Champions League it’s far too early to start panicking about advancing from the group stages.
And one sign of encouragement for all Reds fans: the last time Liverpool were in Europe they started the 20015/16 Europa League group stage with draws away to Bordeaux and home to Sion and Rubin Kazan respectively.
How did the rest of the campaign unfold? Liverpool topped their group with 10 points and went all the way to the final.