The Europa League is proving a challenge for both Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur with both held to 1-1 draws in this week’s games. Liverpool FC Europa League hospitality guests saw their side draw 1-1 with FC Sion while Tottenham secured a draw away at Monaco.
Spurs put out a full strength team but Anfield was treated to an experimental side with a number of youngsters thrown in to gain experience. For both it is proving hard to relive old glories.
Liverpool FC lined up with the likes of Rossiter, Ibe and Origi seeking to step into the shoes of Suarez, Gerrard and the injured Henderson. The home side had plenty of chances but finishing was poor despite an early goal from Adam Lallana providing the hosts with the perfect start.
The Reds’ fragility was there for all to see – nervy defending, wastefulness in attack and uncertain goalkeeping. Even manager Brendan Rogers admitted to a “disappointing” result as the Swiss minnows Sion levelled through Ebenezer Assifuah.
It meant a second consecutive draw in Group B. There was a smattering of boos at the final whistle but, with two games against Russian side Rubin Kazan to come, Liverpool should still go through.
Next it is the Premier League and a visit to Goodison Park for the Everton clash. Rogers hasn’t lost a derby to date – a big improvement will be required if he is to maintain that record.
Tottenham had to settle for a point against a poor Monaco after Érik Lamela’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Stephan El Shaarawy’s late header.
For the most part Spurs were comfortable but still owed Hugo Lloris for keeping them out of jail with a string of saves.
They are unbeaten in Group J after a win over Azerbaijani side Qarabag in their opening match. There were two positives for the White Hart Laners.
Argentine midfielder Lamela looks like he is finally beginning to repay the club record £30 million fee that Spurs paid Roma in 2013.
And Dele Alli, signed from MK Dons, and called up for England, is looking a class player. He groaned: “It feels like a loss and we are down but we will pick ourselves up.”
Of his England call-up, he noted: “I was speechless. It has been a really good start to the season for me and I maybe didn’t expect it to go this well.”