Liverpool fail to hold a lead on two separate occasions and leave their qualification hopes hanging in the balance as Young Boys earn a draw at Anfield.
Liverpool 2: Shelvey 33', Cole 72'
Young Boys 2: Bobadilla 52', Zverotic 88'
Disappointing result, relatively positive performance. Slightly different story, but largely the same from Liverpool, who now need to wait until the final matchday of group play to see whether or not they'll advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League. Qualification was always the goal regardless of where the competition lies in terms of priorities, and by that standard today was a failure, even if there were some encouraging performances.
I'm on a short clock with family and holidays and etcetera, so this won't be the full recap treatment. I think the main takeaway is that we didn't really learn anything new about Liverpool despite the positive moments--it's a very thin, understrength squad, and one that's been weakened by the possible loss of Andre Wisdom through injury. I doubt many would have imagined themselves saying as much prior to the start of the season, but that's where Liverpool are right now, and the loss of a teenage right-back is enough to cause concern.
Joe Cole was the biggest surprise on the night, proving active across the front and having direct involvement in both of Liverpool's goals while turning in something resembling a man of the match performance. He wasted a couple of chances outside of the assist and goal he provided, but compared to recent performances it was a sea change. Jonjo Shelvey was mostly decent in a foreign role, and Oussama Assaidi was encouraging on the left and made a case for increased minutes moving forward.
Mixed performances marred the midfield and defense; Nuri Sahin was better than we've seen, Steven Gerrard wasn't in an extended cameo, Luis Suarez couldn't affect the same sort of changes he has in previous substitute appearances, and individual lapses had a role in both of Young Boys' goals, albeit minor considering the quality of both strikes. Neither of Jordan Henderson or Jamie Carragher were overly brilliant in covering, but the strikes from Raul Bobadilla and Elsad Zverotic were fantastic.
Leaving it until the final day isn't what Liverpool would have hoped for, but their Europa League campaign to this point has been largely touch-and-go, and failing to see a match out isn't exactly a brand-new problem. Brendan Rodgers' squads have been wonderful at times, dismal at others, and it's been both maddening and inspiring depending on the day. The busy calendar doesn't make anything easier over the next few weeks, but at least there's still a chance of moving on, and while not having all of their fate in their own hands is worrisome, all's not lost quite yet.
Hope those of you stateside have a nice Thanksgiving, and those elsewhere have a better than average Thursday. Back at it this weekend, and hopefully better days ahead.