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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# be sion ya
Stalemate sees Liverpool safely through as group winners in Europa League
The draw suited both sides in Switzerland tonight.

JURGEN KLOPP’S LIVERPOOL were held goalless for the second time in five days, but the stalemate away to Sion sealed a finished top of Europa League group B.

Holding that position over tonight’s Swiss hosts is crucial as it ensured they will avoid the clubs entering the competition through the Champions League when the last-32 stage comes around.

Divock Origi missed a chance to open the scoring early on when he tried to volley in a cross when meeting it with a header may have been a better option. Neither team were able to create a clear opening in front of goal in a match that lacked tempo, although the atmosphere at the sold out 10,000-capacity Stade de Tourbillon was buoyant.

A draw suited both sides, with Sion needing a point to ensure qualification for the next round and the same result guaranteed Liverpool finished top of Group B, with Jurgen Klopp’s men having already sealed their place in the knockout stages prior to Thursday’s match.

Klopp left Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno in Merseyside, while club captain Jordan Henderson made his first start for the German after recovering from a heel injury. With Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines again due to a hamstring injury, Origi was given another chance to impress after his hat-trick against Southampton on his last start and the Belgium international striker squandered a great chance to add to his recent goal haul after three minutes.

 

Swirling

Brad Smith, making his full debut for Liverpool, got down the left flank, but Origi could not turn his excellent cross home. With the game played at a glacial pace, both sides were restricted to efforts from range, Origi’s swirling drive going wide before Edimilson Fernandes turned down better options to fire off target.

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Liverpool were looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday, only the second defeat of Klopp’s reign, and Origi found space in the box two minutes after the break. However, James Milner could only divert the cross into the arms of goalkeeper Andris Vanins. Sion came into the match on the back of three straight defeats and Didier Tholot set his team up in a very defensive formation that Liverpool could not break down.

On a partially icy pitch, players from both sides struggled for control on the bobbly surface and it seemed inevitable the match would end without a goal, or indeed a save of note from either goalkeeper.

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