Spartak Moscow Hold Liverpool to 1-1 Draw in Champions League

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

Liverpool's forward from Brazil Roberto Firmino (C-L) and Spartak Moscow's midfielder from Russia Alexander Samedov vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Spartak Moscow and Liverpool FC at the Otkrytie Arena stadium in Moscow on September 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV        (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Slumping Spartak Moscow held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in Russia during Tuesday's UEFA Champions League action.

Fernando gave the hosts a shock lead with a free-kick, but Philippe Coutinho tied things up before half-time. The Reds had their chances after the break but failed to make the most of them.

Here's a look at the two teams that started the match:

Spartak came into the match in dreadful domestic form and found themselves on the back foot early, as Liverpool were the more aggressive side. It resulted in an early yellow card for Emre Can, as well as early chances for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino, who drew an excellent save from Artem Rebrov.

The Reds were clearly the better team but went behind midway through the half, as Spartak converted their only shot on target of the half. Coutinho gave away a needless free-kick and Loris Karius reacted too late to Fernando's solid strike.

Eurosport UK couldn't help themselves:

Sadio Mane thought he had tied things up soon after, but his diving header was rightly ruled out for offside. Rebrov again had to be alert to deny Mane, but there was nothing he could do about Coutinho's equaliser after 31 minutes, which came after great interplay between him and the Senegal international.

Sports writer Karl Matchett loved it:

Firmino almost took advantage of a defensive miscue to give his side the lead, pushing the ball wide instead, and a late move between Mane and Mohamed Salah didn't result in a goal, as the half finished with a 1-1 score.

The first real chance of the second half was another free-kick, with Rebrov reacting quickly to deny Coutinho. Karius did well to save an effort from Andrei Eschenko, and Salah perhaps had a penalty shout when Rebrov stopped him from shooting by clipping his foot.

The goalkeeper needed treatment after the incident, and the rest of the players were forced to wait as a result. As shared by Liverpool FC news, the injury looked serious:

Liverpool also made changes, introducing Daniel Sturridge for Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum for Can. The lengthy delay had taken all of the momentum out of the match, however, and chances became rare, with Alexander-Arnold firing over.

Firmino rushed an effort from a promising position, firing over, and Sturridge missed the ball completely from six yards out. The England international went close again moments later, firing high, and a header couldn't find its way past replacement goalkeeper Aleksandr Selikhov.