Jurgen Klopp endured a frustrating return to Germany on Thursday as his Liverpool side was held to a goalless draw at Augsburg in its Europa League last 32, first-leg clash.
Klopp says Liverpool has a good chance of winning what he described as the ‘little Champions League’, but the Reds’ attack failed to fire in southern Bavaria. > Read: Klopp unhappy despite clean sheet
Augsburg is just a point above the Bundesliga relegation places, but they gave Liverpool a mighty fright as South Korea’s Ji Dong-Won hit the post in the final five minutes.
Tricky return leg
Markus Weinzierl’s Augsburg has everything to play for in the return leg at Anfield on February 25 — just three days before the Reds play Manchester City in the English League Cup final. > Read: Klopp feels Liverpool should attack at home
However, Augsburg lost burly striker Raul Bobadilla to injury midway through the first half.
In his absence, Brazilian substitute Caiuby saw plenty of the ball but failed to convert the chances which came his way.
Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho shut down many of Augsburg’s attacks before they got going, but the Reds’ forwards had a frustrating night at the sold-out WWK Arena.
Freshly back from injury, Daniel Sturridge started for Liverpool having opened the scoring in Sunday’s 6-0 drubbing of Aston Villa in the Premier League.
But he wasted his best chance on 55 minutes when James Milner’s pass found him unmarked with the goal at his mercy, but he failed to connect. He made way for Belgium’s Divock Origi for the final 20 minutes.
There was a lively period after the break as Sturridge and then Philippe Coutinho went close after some good movement from Liverpool.
At the other end, Markus Feulner blasted his shot just wide from distance for Augsburg, while Caiuby failed to stab home a golden chance for the hosts on 75 minutes.
Ji came off the Augsburg bench for the final 10 minutes, but sank to the turf, head in hands, as his shot span off the post in the dying stages and Augsburg’s best chance went begging.
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