Liverpool raced into a three-goal lead at half-time but were unable to hold on and allowed Sevilla to come roaring back in the second-half, as their UEFA Champions League Group E game ended in a 3-3 draw at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
The Reds, who knew a win on Tuesday would seal their spot in the last 16, got off to a flyer on the night, courtesy their striker Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian arrived at the far post to finish Georginio Wijnaldum’s flick off a Philippe Coutinho corner with just two minutes played.
Sevilla, who had held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in their previous meeting at Anfield, were stunned and tried to mount a response but somehow Jurgen Klopp’s side withstood the pressure and would double their lead agains the run of play.
Reds winger Sadio Mane dove in to head Firmino’s flick from another Coutinho corner in the 22nd minute and Firmino would then nab his second and his side’s third on the half-hour mark to seemingly put the result of the game beyond doubt.
Former Stoke City midfielder Stoke Nzonzi, who has been in fine form since his move to Sevilla, was withdrawn at half-time by manager Eduardo Berizzo as the Spanish outfit tried to change things in the second-half.
Alberto Moreno, who has gone from Liverpool outcast to regular in a span of few months this season, then committed two blunders to allow his former side to come back in the tie.
Ever Banega took a free-kick deep in the Liverpool half and Moreno was tasked with marking Wissam Ben Yedder but his challenge easily brushed aside by the Sevilla forward, who sent a glancing header past Loris Karius in the 51st minute.
Moreno, whose defensive qualities have not been his biggest strength despite him being a defender, would then gift the hosts a penalty on the hour-mark and Ben Yedder sent Karius the wrong way to reduce the deficit further.
Los Nervionenses fullback Sergio Escudero had grazed the side-netting in the first-half and almost found an equaliser soon after Sevilla’s second, only to see his effort crash off the crossbar.
Sevilla were surging forward at every opportunity and as full-time neared, it looked like Liverpool would ride out the storm and hold on to their slender lead.
Guido Pizarro, however, had other ideas and the Argentine midfielder bundled in the equaliser in the 94th minute after some suspect Liverpool defending on a corner.
Liverpool still top the group with nine points and should the avoid defeat in their final group-stage game against third-placed Spartak Moscow. However, that will be of scant comfort for Jurgen Klopp as the Premier League giants had just begun to string together a decent run of results and they now turn their focus to domestic matters as they have to prepare for the visit of defending champions Chelsea on Saturday.
Sevilla, who trail the Reds by a solitary point, will progress if they win their final game against NK Maribor regardless of the result in the Liverpool-Spartak Moscow tie. The Spanish outfit have made a middling start to their La Liga campaign and have a tough away fixture against Villareal next.