Georginio Wijnaldum admitted the manner in which Liverpool drew 3-3 with Sevilla was ‘painful’ - but the midfielder remains confident of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.
A ruthlessly-efficient first-half display saw the Reds go in three goals to the good at the break at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, courtesy of a Roberto Firmino double that sandwiched a neat header from Sadio Mane.
It appeared that Jürgen Klopp’s team were comfortably on course to claim the win they required to seal top spot in Group E with a game to spare.
However, a remarkable second-half fightback from Sevilla, who were backed by a raucous home crowd, saw them earn a point through Wissam Ben Yedder’s brace and Guido Pizarro’s injury-time strike.
Liverpool, therefore, now need a point from their final pool match at home to Spartak Moscow to secure their place in the knockout stages. Victory over the Russian outfit will ensure they go through as group winners.
Wijnaldum, then, is upbeat about the Reds’ chances of progressing, but he acknowledged the deep sense of disappointment in the away dressing room after full-time.
“It’s difficult,” the Netherlands international told Liverpoolfc.com when asked how Klopp’s team will lift themselves.
“If you think about the game I don’t think it is a bad result but the way we give it away at 3-0 with a 3-3 draw at the end is not a good sign. It’s painful if you look at the game but we have to go again.
“We have to speak to each other, lift each other and help each other to leave this behind and help each other.
“On paper it is a good result but if you look back at the game I don’t think it is a good sign to give 3-0 away.
“The good thing about it is we still have it in our own hands and we have to win against Spartak Moscow to go to the next round.”
Reflecting on the match, Wijnaldum cited Liverpool’s below-par start to the second half as the main reason Sevilla were able to get back into the contest.
“We started well. I don’t think we played the best football in the first half but we scored,” the No.5 explained.
“Then in the second half we didn’t start good and they score the one goal that gave them confidence, then they score another from a penalty and then they start believing again.
“You also see the crowd is getting behind the team and then from that moment it was really difficult.
“I don’t think we played our best football in the first half but the football we created was really ruthless. I think we created five big chances and scored three of them so that was a good sign.
“I think if you are three goals up to Sevilla then you have to play smarter and you have to know that when they score with the crowd and the players they’ve got they get more and more confident. That’s what we didn’t do well.”