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Liverpool 1–1 FC Sion: 5 Talking points as Reds fail to beat minnows again

Following the Reds’ disappointing performance and result against FC Sion, we pick a number of discussion points from the Europa stalemate.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 1, 2015: FC Sion players and supporters after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 1-1 FC Sion
Europa League, Group, Matchday 2
Thursday, 1st October 2015

Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Sion on a flat night at Anfield that failed to see the Reds build on Saturday’s win over Aston Villa.

Adam Lallana’s early goal after good work from Divock Origi appeared to put the Reds on their way, but Ebenezer Assifuah’s equaliser pegged back Brendan Rodgers’ men just 13 minutes later.

Chances came and went for Origi and Lallana thereafter as Rodgers sent for Philippe Coutinho to make the difference once again, but a lack of composure in front of goal proved costly.

It was far from ideal preparation ahead of the Merseyside derby, and here are the talking points from the Anfield draw.


Origi improved but finishing needs work

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 1, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi in action against FC Sion during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Belgian can be pleased after producing a better showing at Anfield but he should have proved the match-winner on the night.

Origi was lively from the start, providing a mobile outlet up front where he caused real problems with his running into channels, and it was from the right side that he claimed an excellent assist for Lallana’s opener.

The 20-year-old took full advantage of the loose ball, drove forward and cut-back displaying good awareness, to pick out the ex-Southampton man who slotted home – but for all his good, unselfish work, he should have registered on the score-sheet himself.

He was too slow and missed the chance when released by Joe Allen’s brilliant reverse pass before half time, shot straight at Andris Vanins when one-on-one early in the second half, and he saw another chance go begging after latching onto Coutinho’s through ball – choosing to lunge rather than rounding the Sion stopper.

It was undoubtedly a more promising performance, but the Belgium striker must improve in front of goal.


Jordon Ibe struggles continue

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Friday, July 24, 2015: Liverpool's Jordon Ibe in action against a Malaysia XI during a friendly match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on day twelve of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The youngster was tipped for a big season at Anfield, but his rise to the next level has yet to suffice, with another poor display on Thursday night.

Ibe looked low on confidence from the start, and it showed with hesitancy in his play that saw him dispossessed five times – more than double any of his teammates – while his lack of desire to take his marker on and produce going forward was disappointing but sadly no surprise.

Defensively, the teenager was sluggish, and he was partly at fault for the Swiss side’s equaliser – switching off and allowing Assifuah to enjoy a one-on-one which he took full advantage of, slotting underneath Simon Mignolet.

Talk at the beginning of the season centred around the 18-year-old starting in the Reds front three, but instead, he has ended up being shoe-horned into a left wing-back role in Europa League clashes – summing up his current situation.


Lallana leading on the European stage

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 1, 2015: Liverpool's Adam Lallana scores the first goal against FC Sion during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 27-year-old scored the Reds’ first European goal of the season against Bordeaux, and he backed it up with his second in a good all-round display.

Lallana was the Reds biggest attacking threat and creator – he played the most key passes of any Red on the night (3) – and he was an influential figure for the majority of the game, while also being the man again to find the net in Europe, notching with a tidy finish after just four minutes.

He caused plenty of problems for the visitors with his movement and footwork impressive, and alongside his creativity, he offered an improved productivity – creating a good chance for Danny Ings who couldn’t capitalise on a superb cross, as well as almost putting the Reds back in front, but his finish let him down after a superb piece of control.

Lallana hasn’t shown his quality with enough regularity, but he’s certainly showing it on the European stage.


Inability to hold the lead a frustrating recurrence

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 1, 2015: FC Sion's Ebenezer Assifuah scores the first equalising goal past Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lallana’s opener saw Liverpool score the opening goal of a game for the fifth match running, but all too familiarly, the Reds were pegged back.

It was the fourth time in the five matches that Liverpool have taken the lead that Rodgers’ side ended up playing out a 1-1 draw after conceding an equaliser almost instantly, failing to hold the advantage for any sustained period.

The Reds have always been defensively suspect under Rodgers, but currently there is a real lack of defensive resilience and desire to hold on to an advantage alongside the continued lack of know-how, before attempting to go and extend the lead held once ahead in the game.

It’s a big enough problem conceding goals as it is, but for a side that also struggles to find the net, it is a recipe for disaster results wise, and Rodgers is edging closer to paying the price.


Merseyside Derby preparations far from ideal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 1, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against FC Sion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the first derby clash of the season just three days away, it was a night that needed to pass with the minimum of fuss – but it proved the opposite.

Rodgers made numerous changes to his starting XI leaving out the majority of those who will start at Goodison Park, but with a flat performance ensuing and the Reds in need of a result, the Liverpool boss sent for the cavalry when they really should not have been needed.

Alberto Moreno came on at half time, with Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho entering in the second period, and though it was the plan to do so according to the Liverpool manager, it smacks of an arrangement born out of the lack of trust of the side selected to do the job.

Martin Skrtel, Lucas Leiva, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge did receive a night off, but only those four will provide fresh legs to a side who line up for their seventh game in 22 days on Sunday.

It was the ideal chance to build on Saturday’s win over Villa, but the Reds failed to gather any momentum and now face the prospect of going to Goodison needing to bounce back rather than in some kind of positive form.

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