LONDON (Reuters) – Juergen Klopp got a taste of the problems at Liverpool as his first home game as manager ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw against Rubin Kazan who played more than 50 minutes with 10 men in the Europa League on Thursday.
As Klopp’s new charges struggled to break down limited Russian opponents, the German’s former side Borussia Dortmund were ruthless with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring a superbly-executed hat-trick.
Dortmund secured a 3-1 win at Azerbaijani outfit Qabala on a night when Anderlecht came from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in a 1984 UEFA Cup final rematch and Sporting Lisbon thumped Albanian side Skenderbeu 5-1.
Spain’s Villarreal continued their bright start to the season with a 4-0 victory over Dinamo Minsk but Fiorentina suffered a surprise 2-1 home defeat by Lech Poznan and former European champions Celtic lost 3-1 at Norwegians Molde.
Klopp had warned Liverpool fans he had no stardust to sprinkle on the squad and magically turn around their poor early-season form and Thursday’s display proved him right.
Kazan silenced the boisterous home crowd when they took the lead through Marko Devic’s superb rising finish but a red card in the 36th minute for captain Oleg Kuzmin changed the dynamic of the match and handed Liverpool a route back.
However, after Emre Can levelled from close range, the hosts huffed and puffed and created little to leave Liverpool trailing Group B leaders Sion by four points.
“Tonight is not an absolute masterclass but it’s not the worst day in my life,” Klopp told reporters.
“Sometimes it’s a big advantage against 10 men. Sometimes it’s a thankless job.”
Klopp’s former frontman Aubameyang continued his scorching form with a superb treble as the Germans strolled to a victory that kept them top of Group C with seven points from three matches.
Having already bagged 10 Bundesliga goals this season, the Gabon striker opened his Europa League account when he found the top corner after 31 minutes.
He doubled his tally with a poked finish after exchanging passes with Shinji Kagawa seven minutes later and then made the game safe with 18 minutes remaining when he pounced on a loose ball before Qabala grabbed a late consolation.
Anderlecht’s Stefano Okaka bagged their winner against Tottenham in the 75th minute when he fired home from close range to complete an impressive comeback and secure the Belgian team’s first win in Group J.
The Premier League club had made a superb start when Christian Eriksen put them ahead after four minutes as an attempted clearance deflected into his path and he calmly slotted home.
The Belgians, who lost the 1984 final on penalties, were level nine minutes later with Guillaume Gillet arrowing a perfectly-controlled half volley into the net from the edge of the area.
Okaka’s winner moved Anderlecht level with Tottenham on four points, one behind group leaders Monaco who beat Qarabag 1-0.
Napoli’s Manolo Gabbiadini scored twice in a 4-1 triumph at Danish side Midtjylland to maintain their 100 percent record in Group D while Fenerbahce’s Fernandao netted an 89th-minute goal in a 1-0 win at home to Ajax Amsterdam in Group A.
Lazio saw off Norwegian side Rosenborg Trondheim 3-1 in Group G despite having Brazilian Mauricio sent off after six minutes and it was a dismal night for Fiorentina.
Dawid Kownacki and Maciej Gajos struck in the second half for Polish side Poznan and although Giuseppe Rossi pulled one back for Fiorentina late on, Italian misery was complete when Ante Rebic received a late red card.
Fiorentina have now lost their last three European home games and are bottom of Group I.
Schalke 04 stayed top of Group K but could only draw 2-2 at home to Sparta Prague, who trail them by two points, while last season’s beaten finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk were beaten 1-0 at home by St Etienne in Group G.
(By Toby Davis, Editing by Tony Jimenez)