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Published: 13:24 | 17/12/15

Liverpool play out drab draw at Sion


Liverpool secured top spot in Europa League Group B after they played out a drab scoreless draw with FC Sion in Switzerland.

Although the game had a period towards the end of the first half where both teams showed attacking intent and a real desire to earn the three points, the entertainment levels were less than satisfactory for much of the 90 minutes.

However, neither side came close to scoring and with both teams content to avoid taking any risks, the quality and intensity of the game gradually dropped.

Jurgen Klopp won’t be bothered by the lack of entertainment on offer as the Merseysiders finish the group stages unbeaten and will be one of the seeded sides in the draw for the last 32 to be held on Monday.

Sion had the first real effort on goal as Carlitos picked up the ball on the edge of the box, but his shot was a mis-kick, flying high over the crossbar. Minutes later, at the other end, Firmino had a sight of goal but his weak effort went right into the arms of the goalkeeper.

Divock Origi, fresh from scoring a hat-trick against Southampton in the Capital One Cup quarter-final last week, let fly from the edge of the box, but the ball went just wide of the post.

The game became stretched and Reto Ziegler’s tried his luck from range but his volley failed to test Simon Mignolet in the visitors’ goal.

Liverpool responded in kind with Adam Lallana getting into a good position on the edge of the area, but he will have been disappointed with his end product which went well off target.

With both sides aware that a point apiece would secure their main objectives going into the game – qualification for the hosts and clinching first spot for the away side – the second half began at a slow pace and gradually took on the feel of a training match.

Klopp introduced Philippe Coutinho for the ineffectual James Milner on the hour-mark in an attempt to shake-up the Liverpool attack but the same lack of urgency remained for both sides.

Young Australian left-back Brad Smith, making his first start for the club, broke down the left and whipped in a tantalising cross for Origi but the striker could only get the merest of touches on the stretch and the goalkeeper easily collected.

That was as close as Liverpool came to finally breaking the deadlock and with Sion equally toothless, the game petered out into an almost inevitable goalless draw.

Meanwhile in Istanbul Celtic came from behind to earn a point at Fenerbahce in Group A.

The Scottish champions looked set for a fourth straight European defeat during this disappointing European campaign - the first in their history where they have failed to win a single game - when Lazar Markovic slid in the only goal of the first half on 39 minutes.

But Diego's red card for a silly, petulant kick at Stefan Johansen gave the visitors hope with just over 20 minutes left.

And substitute Kris Commons headed home on 75 minutes to earn Celtic a point although they still finish bottom of the table.


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