This Tuesday evening, Nervión witnessed a night it will never forget. After going in 0-3 at half-time, Liverpool could not cope with Sevilla's pressure in the second - neither on the field nor from the stands. With a point, Sevilla have qualification in their own hands. Though Berizzo's men will need to give everything in Slovenia, a comeback for the ages gives Sevilla a path to the Champions League knock-out stages
Not even the most optimistic Sevillista could have dreamt of a night like this at half-time. After half an hour it looked all over, Liverpool reached half-time 0-3 up, poised to break Sevilla's year unbeaten in the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. But with a comeback that Sevillistas all over the world will be remembering for years, Sevilla made the unbelievable possible in Nervión. A Ben Yedder brace and a goal from Pizarro in injury time secured an incredible feat and put qualification for the knock-out stages of the Champions League in Sevilla's own hands. With only a win needed in Maribor - or even a Spartak loss in Anfield - Sevilla will go through.
It had already happened in the Old Nervión in the Youth League earlier in the day and was replicated almost exactly in the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. Only one minute into the game - with the first corner of the game - Coutinho's cross was headed down to Wijnaldum, who flicked on to Firmino to score and send the visiting fans into raptures. Undoubtedly shocked, Sevilla did well to keep their heads immediately after the goal and had chances to put themselves back into the game. Escudero tried a cheeky near-post shot, though Nolito and Ben Yedder put Sevilla a hair away from an equaliser before twenty minutes. The former saw his curling shot parried onto the post and Ben Yedder saw a one-on-one slide inches wide. Liverpool took advantage of the missed chances and waited for chances on the counter. Ultimately, they would widen the margin through another set-piece.
Half an hour of defensive errors had all but put the game beyond Berizzo's men
Just after Sergio Rico had got the better of Firmino in a one-on-one, Liverpool scored a close to identical second from their resulting corner. Coutinho whipped it in, Firmino headed down but this time Mané was there to fire home for Liverpool. Two lapses from set-pieces gave Sevilla a mountain to climb. Sevilla were at their lowest point in the game, always pushing forward to fight back for a result but leaving themselves open to lethal Liverpool counters.
And the English visitors showed no signs of letting up. They added to their already comfortable lead with an incisive breakaway. A long ball to Mané saw the lightning-quick forward win a battle with Geis and test Sergio Rico. The Sevilla keeper managed to parry but the rebound found the feet of Firmino, who neglected to even look at the goal when bagging his second and making it 0-3. It could have been four before half-time but Lenglet showed his stellar defensive instincts in getting rid of another dangerous rebound after a shot from Salah.
An incredible Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán atmosphere pushed Sevilla to a memorable point
However, the second-half was a different story. Just after the restart, excitement had already been injected into the game. Not ten minutes after the second-half had begun, a floated Banega free-kick found the head of Ben Yedder, and Sevilla were back in the game. It was still only a dream but 40,000 Sevillistas started to believe when an innocuous penalty conceded by Liverpool gave Sevilla a chance for a second. It took two goes but Ben Yedder made no mistake and the comeback was well and truly on. Berizzo substituted on Franco Vázquez and Muriel to give Sevilla a boost in creativity. Though Sevilla was the dominant side, Liverpool remained tight and looked for counter-attacks. Los Nervionenses just needed that one moment and it arrived. Just as Liverpool had done for their first two goals, Sevilla found their salvation from a corner. Just as the final-whistle was just about to sound, Pizarro scored a goal that the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will not forget in a hurry. Sevilla had found their three goals.
An incredible end to the match at the red fortress, which in the most unlikely fashion, keeps its status. With qualification now in Sevilla's hands, now only a win in Maribor is needed to guarantee passage to the Champions League knock-out stages.
3. SEVILLA FC: Sergio Rico, Mercado, Geis, Lenglet, Escudero, Pizarro, N’Zonzi (‘Mudo’ Vázquez, 46), Banega, Sarabia, Nolito (Muriel, 72) and Ben Yedder (Correa, 80).
3. LIVERPOOL FC: Karius, Joe Gomez, Klavan, Lovren, Alberto Moreno (Milner, 63), Henderson, Coutinho (Emre Can, 63), Wijnaldum, Salah (Chamberlain, 87), Firmino y Mané.
GOALS: 0-1, minute 2: Firmino. 0-2, minute 21: Mané. 0-3, minute 29: Firmino. 1-3, minute 51: Ben Yedder. 2-3, minute 60: Ben Yedder, penalty. 3-3, minute 93: Pizarro.
REFEREE: Felix Brych. Yellows for Alberto Moreno, Banega, Mercado, Henderson and Emre Can.