Jurgen Klopp‘s first home game as Liverpool manager ended in disappointment, as the Reds were held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Rubin Kazan on Thursday.
Liverpool 1–1 Rubin Kazan
Europa League – Anfield – Thursday 22nd October 2015
Goals: Can (37); Devic (15)
Sent-off: Kuzmin (36)
Klopp entered Anfield to a rapturous reception, with much buzz surrounding the 48-year-old’s maiden match in charge of Liverpool.
Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino were back in the squad following injury, with the Reds’ two big-money summer signings on the substitutes’ bench.
The Anfield atmosphere was electric, as a potentially tricky 90 minutes against Rubin Kazan awaited.
Anfield was stunned in the 15th minute, however. Marko Devic’s tremendous finish put his side 1-0 up, but Clyne will not be happy with his marking for the goal.
Adam Lallana almost equalised immediately, but the 27-year-old’s shot from outside the area drifted just wide of Sergei Ryzhikov’s post. The Englishman’s looping header just missed the target soon after.
Philippe Coutinho dragged a shot wide midway through the first-half, but there was a flatness about the home side’s performance overall.
The game then swung hugely in the space of a minute. Oleg Kuzmin was sent-off nine minutes before half-time, receiving a second yellow card after hauling down Can, and the young German equalised from close-range from the resulting free-kick.
It was the first goal of the Klopp reign, and proved to be the last real moment of note before the break.
Lucas replaced Allen at the interval, and the Reds now had exactly the same eleven that started at Spurs in their last Premier League outing.
Despite Rubin Kazan having 10 men, Liverpool struggled to break down the visitors in the early stages of the second-half.
A harmless Coutinho free-kick was all the Reds could muster until the hour mark, and Benteke was introduced to the fray at the expense of the disappointing Brazilian.
It continued to be a very poor second-half performance from Liverpool, and a goal was desperately needed with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Benteke should have made it 2-1, but he side-footed his effort wildly into the Kop. The Belgian then hit the post with a precise finish.
Lallana’ fierce strike was well held by Ryzhikov, and that elusive winner simply wouldn’t come, despite a late onslaught.
It was a very disappointing result given the first-half red card, and the draw was further proof that it will take time for Klopp to truly make an impact at Anfield.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Allen (Lucas ’46), Milner, Lallana, Coutinho (Benteke ’63), Origi (Firmino ’74).
Subs not used: Bogdan, Toure, Ibe, Randall
Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov, Kuzmin, Kverkvelia, Kambolov, Nabiullin, Carlos Eduardo (Portnyagin ’64), Ozdoev, Gokdeniz Karadeniz (Dyadyun ’81), Georgiev, Devic, Kanunnikov.
Subs not used: Haghighi, Lemos, Cotugno, Akhmetov, Bilyaletdinov
Man of the Match: Mamadou Sakho
Referee: Robert Schorgenhofer