Football

Four things we learned from Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan

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Jurgen Klopp's first game at Anfield wasn't to be the fairytale he hoped for as Liverpool were held to a stalemate with Rubin Kazan.

Marko Devic gave the Russian outfit a surprise lead with a stunning half-volley after 15 minutes.

However, Rubin skipper Oleg Kuzmin was dismissed for a second yellow card and Emre Can scored instantly from the free-kick eight minutes from the break.

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Christian Benteke came on as a second-half substitute, making his first appearance since limping off against Norwich City last month, and almost wrapped up the three points for his side but the woodwork denied him.

It was Liverpool's third successive draw in the Europa League, leaving them four points behind group leaders FC Sion, who beat Bordeaux 1-0 away from home.

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Not all sunshine and roses for Klopp

There was so much hype around Klopp's first match as Reds boss.

The atmosphere heading into the match has not been so prominent for a very long time like it was heading into kick-off on Thursday night.

Fans packed into Anfield earlier than usual as they wanted to get a glimpse of Klopp overseeing his side's warm-up and be seated and ready for the beginning of play.

If Klopp thought he had a task on his hands prior to taking the helm at Anfield, he now will know his assignment is much greater than it first appeared.

The German has had little over a week to work with his new side. He's gave the basics of his philosophy and it was put to good use at times; however, Liverpool must improve dramatically.

The lack of creativity in the final third was worrying from the home side and width was near non-existent.

Despite playing against 10 men for the majority of the match, Liverpool managed just one goal.

It was alarming how the Reds could not break down an inferior opposition who were a man down. Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana tried their best but, ultimately, their decision-making and flair was not up to scratch for the most part.

Klopp put on a brave face, but he will have discovered a lot about his side - and not for the best, either.

Origi needs polish

With limited forward options, Klopp was forced to start with Divock Origi for the second successive match.

The Belgium international did not have the best of games away at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and again performed weakly, and showed that he needs to prove himself.

Yes, he is only 20 and yes, he is getting to know his new side.

You could argue his lack of experience in the Premier League was why he did not perform against Spurs.

But, he is well seasoned in Europe and there were no excuses against Kazan.

A striker's instinct is movement. They thrive when exposing space and racing into positions that will produce chances.

Origi's movement has to improve significantly if he is to succeed at Anfield.

He had a decent chance when played in by Nathaniel Clyne midway through the first-half but failed to peel off into a good position. Instead, he made a basic run and dragged his shot well wide.

When Philippe Coutinho broke into space moments later, the former Lille man did not make a sufficient run to give the Brazilian an option. Origi is blessed with pace and should have been penetrating Rubin's back-four and gave Coutinho the chance to slip a through ball in.

And after the break, Clyne again got to the opposition's byline, but deja vu occurred and Origi did not gamble and the chance went begging.

The youngster had a chance to give Klopp a real headache in his last two matches in the absence of Benteke and Daniel Sturridge.

He did the opposite and has gone back of the pecking order.

Allen could depart in January

In a night of misery at Anfield, it was topped by Joe Allen's performance.

The Welshman has long been seen as the runt of the Liverpool squad by fans.

Rodgers often pursued with Allen, much to the anger of many, and even Klopp was willing to give him a go.

However, after just 45 minutes the ex-Borussia Dortmund coach had seen enough.

Allen's contribution was minimal in the first-half. He did nothing to expose Rubin's back line and did not break down the away side they were on the break.

The only impact he did make was his bad challenge on Blagoy Georgiev which earned him a yellow card.

Allen did not emerge after the break and was replaced by Lucas.

With Emre Can now playing a central midfield role, Jordan Henderson set to return in the coming weeks and youngster Jordan Rossiter looks likely to be a part of Klopp's first-team squad, then chances look limited for Allen.

It will be no surprise if he leaves Liverpool in the January transfer window.

Sakho continues to impress

There weren't many positives about Liverpool's performance and several players struggled.

Coutinho lacked ideas, Clyne was at fault for Kazan's goal and James Milner again played in a limbo role.

But, Mamadou Sakho was top-class and is first-choice centre-back now.

Every header the former Paris Saint-Germain challenged for, he won. His timing was a thing of beauty, jumping like Red Rum approaching the Chair in the Grand National at times.

He too read Rubin's attacks well and made a number of key interceptions to break down play.

Sakho's name was bellowed from the Kop on numerous occasions throughout the 90 minutes.

The France international is becoming a fan favourite at Liverpool and rightly so.

The Reds have lacked a leader at the back since Jamie Carragher retired in 2013. They may finally have found a replacement.

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Joe Allen
Christian Benteke
Divock Origi
Europa League
Football

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