When Liverpool were drawn with Augsburg in the Europe League, the manager of the German side, Markus Weinzierl vowed his side would do “everything they can” to get a positive result.
And as the home fans sung non-stop in the below-freezing conditions at the WWK Stadium, their team fulfilled that promise.
Even as the fans were all fired up, the Augsburg players gave it all right from the first whistle and it was not a surprise to see them charged as this game was earlier termed as the biggest one in the history of the club.
Liverpool were hardly tested by Aston Villa in the weekend but Augsburg were anything but an easy side to break. They stayed compact, harrying and hustling when out of possession while countering with pace and incisiveness.
However, the home side genuinely lacked any kind of goal scoring prowess in their front line and had to pay for it as they failed to take the chances created sparsely across the game.
But Liverpool had that but extra in their final third with Daniel Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino all starting the game. But none of them could really produce that bit of magic that could unlock the German side and give Liverpool a lead in the tie.
Klopp fielded the same starting line-up that ran riot in the west Midlands where their hosts were hapless, but against a side that were so fired up, Liverpool couldn’t hit full stride.
Sturridge should have put an end to the encounter when missed an easy chance from a ball that was put in by Milner after neat exchanges with Firmino.
Otherwise, there was little on show from the visitors – which amplified the volume of the home support. They were encouraged by how well Augsburg were nullifying Liverpool while being a nuisance themselves.
The home side also created some good chances but just did not have the personnel at the right place to tuck the ball into the back of the net. But they will take a great deal of confidence with how they bossed the midfield in the game.
The biggest problem for Liverpool was that their midfield looked broker. Milner, Can and Henderson were just not up to the game on the evening and this cut off the supply to the front three who had to fall deep to collect the ball.
This helped the home side pile on the pressure giving Liverpool a hard time right until the end. However, a 0-0 result is not all bad for either side.
Liverpool will be happy that they will go to Anfield with nothing separating the teams while Augsburg will be ecstatic that they did not concede an away goal.
But for a club like Liverpool, a clean sheet and staying in the game is just not enough and they will have to really beat it at Anfield in a week’s time.
They will start on the back foot as a goal from Augsburg will change the whole tie and with Liverpool recently shaky at the back at home, the German side has every chance to stun the Merseysiders when they travel to England.
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