SION FC 0-0 LIVERPOOL

WELL, we made it to be one of the last 32 teams left in this competition. This certainly wasn’t the most exciting game of football I ever saw but the single point we earned from it kept Liverpool top of their group and qualifying from 1st place to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

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Weather conditions weren’t great. It didn’t rain, but Sion’s pitch (in Switzerland) was rather icy. None of our players were injured from slipping over on ice, but it certainly wasn’t helping a whole lot for either team who were trying to run around and play  their football on it.

I don’t know if the manager gave his team strict and specific instructions to simply defend and not concede any goals for 90 minutes, but right from the moment we kicked off it sure looked like we weren’t going to attempt to win the game – it looked like we were playing for a draw, since we had the opportunity to stay top of our group table after only gaining a single point from the game. There were a few attacks, but nothing that was enough to get the ball in the back of the net. Not even so much as a disallowed goal.

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The squad for this fixture was a lot like the one that beat Southampton (away) 1-6, but we never seemed like making this game as high scoring as that one. The only thing that may have motivated us to get a goal of our own would likely have been if Sion managed to score. Then we’d be forced to get at least 1 goal if we didn’t want to lose. Our defence was tight and we never did concede for this entire game.

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Our left back was Australian Brad Smith, who had played in our victorious game against Southampton. He’d even assisted a goal (the 6th goal for Liverpool which was the third for Divock Origi, completing his hat trick). He actually did well in this game too. He made some attacks down the left wing which were very helpful. This time, no goals were scored after Smith supplied great crosses into the penalty area but he’s still working hard to help his team.

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Jordan Henderson returned from injury to get placed back into the starting 11 for the first time in months. We would also see Coutinho and Kolo Toure in this game, who have had injury problems of their own to deal with also this season.

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Emre Can would return from a 1 game suspension to play in midfield from the start of the game, too.

So, we sure had the firepower to get goals. Our team was quite strong. Certainly strong enough to score goals (or A goal) to win the game, if we had wanted to attempt to do this. Which we never really did look like wanting to do.

The first half and the second half were almost identical. Scrappy game, nothing but defending. Very few attacks that were even worthy of mentioning as having happened. The result is what matters more than how we played, but I think most fans wanted to see a victory or at least a single goal from Liverpool and the ones who travelled all the way to Switzerland to see it happen certainly deserved to see that but were kind of let down by the fact that “we only had to get a draw”.

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the knockout stages of European competitions like the Europa League and Champions League are almost always exciting to watch

It’s likely to be far more exciting in the knockout stages, don’t worry. You HAVE to score to win in those stages. Although a level scoreline can lead to extra time and a penalty shootout as we all know from the experience of Istanbul. But we didn’t draw 0-0 in Istanbul, anyway. We’d scored three goals before extra time started. It was a 3-3 game which led to the shootout which Liverpool won the Champions League with. Nobody can say it wasn’t exciting or that no goals were scored.

Picking a “man of the Match” for this game is quite hard to do when our team didn’t score any goals. However, I’ve been impressed with our goalkeeper’s efforts at keeping OUT the goals. Simon Mignolet deserves credit for staying strong and not letting anything past him in a game where even just one goal could have meant victory for our opponents and a lower position in our group table.

Simon Mignolet was Man Of The Match in this game.

Simon Mignolet was Man Of The Match in this game.

Klopp has managed to put out a team that kept a clean sheet 5 times in the 13 fixtures he’s been in charge of now. Let’s hope we can keep doing that as we progress further and further towards a place in the Europa League Final.

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Liverpool’s season continues and we have more games to play quite soon. A Premier League game with West Bromwich Albion is coming up in our fixture list.

Until then, keep walking on with hope in your heart. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.

[written by] Stuart Drewery.

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I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.

I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.[

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