Liverpool 1-1 Napoli: Champions made to wait for last-16 qualification
Liverpool vs Napoli
Champions League Group E
8:00pm Wednesday November
Liverpool were made to wait to secure qualification to the Champions League last 16 as a stubborn Napoli held them to a 1-1 draw.
Dries Mertens place Napoli forward (21) with a nice finish from an acute angle, with all Liverpool unable to break a tumultuous defence in the first half.
They got going after the rest, equalising through Dejan Lovren’s good header (65), and despite camping in Napoli’s half for the rest of the game, they could not discover a means through.
The result means the destiny of Liverpool does stay in their own hands, knowing a draw will send them through, however, Jurgen Klopp must put a strong side in Austria.
Liverpool were under par in the first halfand suffered an early blow after Fabinho was forced off with a knee injury.
Their distress was compounded as an opener was brought by a Napoli attack . Virgil van Dijk has been barged because he went to get a header with Mertens, as Giovanni Di Lorenzo fed up Mertens and also the Belgian cut a fine half-volley past Alisson from an acute angle, but drama . VAR looked in the barge, but found no foul.
Liverpool were blocked thereon from a wall of Napoli, a solid, narrow two banks of four, but the hosts did move through the gears in the first half as half-time was welcomed exclusively by the off side.
Tempers were high – Klopp was reserved for over-protesting prior to the break – but Liverpool finally got going around the hour mark.
Roberto Firmino’s turn and shot together with his back to aim was cleared off the line by Kalidou Koulibaly later goalkeeper Alex Meret’s error, however they were level moments after as Lovren brilliantly headed home James Milner’s corner, despite a powerful call for a push on Mertens which VAR appeared to be honest.
Liverpool brought Trent Alexander-Arnold on for his deliveries, as Napoli sat back, happy in the knowledge that a draw would imply they must avoid defeat Genk at a fortnight, but worked for Klopp’s side.
That’s the way it ended, as a mix of fantastic Napoli protecting and a lack of spark at Liverpool three meant Klopp was left with much more intense anxieties about the December program.
Phil Thompson on Soccer Specific…
“I thought they were just bad, the decision-makingthe pass was so slow, and they just didn’t move the Napoli defence about.
“After Napoli had that lead to ramble upon, they had been settled. This wasn’t a excellent Napoli side, that’s the thing that is disappointing. They should have crushed them if they had got to next gear.
“It wasn’t to be tonight, it simply wasn’t Liverpool. I had been a bit disappointed with the mindset, that they did not go and nail it early on.”
Liverpool currently host Brighton at the Premier League on Saturday at Red Bull Salzburg on December 10 using their final group game.
The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League occurs on Monday December 16 in Nyon, together with proceedings set to begin at 11am, UK period.