Liverpool 2-0 Napoli: Jurgen Klopp’s side finish second in group despite win at Anfield

Liverpool scores against Napoli
Liverpool finish second in Group A, level on points with Napoli but trailing in head-to-head

Liverpool ended Napoli’s unblemished record in the Champions League with victory at Anfield but had to settle for second place in Group A.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were looking to bounce back from Saturday’s home defeat to Leeds United and their spirits will have been boosted by goals from Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez that ended the Serie A leaders’ impressive 21-game unbeaten run.

Liverpool never looked remotely like securing the four-goal margin of victory they would need against Napoli – who completely dominated the group – to finish top, but these three points will act as a real morale booster.

Thiago Alcantara had a save from Napoli goalkeeper Alex Merrett in the first half as Napoli thought they had broken the deadlock after the break only for defender Leo Ostigard’s free-kick header to be ruled out for offside after a lengthy video assistant referee ( VAR) examination.

A game of few chances looked headed for a draw but Liverpool grabbed victory when Mohamed Salah forced his home side to finish from close range five minutes from time, with Nunez sealing the deal in added time.

Konate shows his class

Liverpool’s defensive vulnerability, not helped by a struggling midfield, was one of the hallmarks of their disappointing start to the season, but Ibrahima Konate showed what they were missing as he confirmed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Konate suffered a pre-season knee injury which forced him to miss the start of the campaign and was then ruled out again with a further muscle problem which saw Liverpool’s rearguard struggle badly without him.

The 23-year-old French defender returned against Napoli’s fearsome attack and put in an excellent display as Liverpool looked a much safer proposition than they have in recent times.

Konate’s defensive quality alongside Virgil van Dijk kept out the dangerous Victor Osimhen, showing composure, pace and physical presence as Napoli suffered a rare taste of defeat.

It’s true that Napoli weren’t at their most destructive and knew it would take something truly special from Liverpool to topple this team, but the class shown by Konate proved exactly why manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that this talented young defender can now get injured. -free run for the rest of the season.

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Liverpool are coming back

Liverpool’s form and approach have been questioned after defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United – criticism justified given how poor they have been, looking like a shadow of the side that spent almost all of last season chasing a historic quadruple.

Klopp’s side will take great heart from the Napoli win, although context must be given in that the Italians knew only a four-goal margin of defeat would make a difference in the group standings.

It removed a large element of danger from the group, Liverpool’s goals coming so late that there was never any chance for Anfield to be swept into any kind of frenzy of expectation.

This, however, was an example of what Liverpool can do and also showed the two faces of their season so far. They beat Manchester City and Napoli at Anfield without conceding a goal, but also suffered devastating defeats to teams who struggled early this term, as well as Manchester United and Arsenal, two sides who have been heavily punished. recent seasons.

Liverpool looked more secure at the back, survived a VAR scare when Odigard thought he had scored and then ended the match on a high with those two late scrum-half goals that will act as a real mood-changer for manager Klopp, his players and the fans of the club. who are so disappointed with their form so far this season.

The key now is consistency and Liverpool face a serious test of their credentials when they travel to Tottenham, who tasted victory in Marseille which saw them win their group, for a Premier League tie on Sunday.

Player of the match

RamsayCalvin Ramsey

Naples

  1. Group number77Name of playerKvaratskhelia

  2. Group number9Name of playerOsimhen

  3. Group number55Name of playerÖstigard

  4. Group number3Name of playerKim Min-Jae

  5. Group number68Name of playerLobotka

  6. Group number21Name of playerPolitano

  7. Group number99Name of playerZambo Anguissa

  8. Group number17Name of playerOlivera

  9. Group number22Name of playerDi Lorenzo

  10. Group number91Name of playerNdombélé

  11. Group number1Name of playerMeret

  12. Group number11Name of playerLausanne

  13. Group number20Name of playerZielinski

  14. Group number7Name of playerElmas

  15. Group number81Name of playerRaspadori

  16. Group number18Name of playerSimeone

Lining up

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alison
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldReservation at 73 minutesSubstituted forRamsayin the 87′minutes
  • 5ConatéReservation at 36 minutes
  • 4van Dyck
  • 21Chimikas
  • 7MilnerSubstituted forEliotin the 48′minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 6Thiago AlcantaraSubstituted forBayceticin the 87′minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forCarvalhoin the 87′minutes
  • 17JonesSubstituted forNúñezin the 73′minutesReservation at 90 minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gomez
  • 13Hadrian
  • 19Eliot
  • 22Ramsay
  • 26Robertson
  • 27Núñez
  • 28Carvalho
  • 43Baycetic
  • 47Phillips
  • 62Kelleher

Naples

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Meret
  • 22Di Lorenzo
  • 55Östigard
  • 3Kim
  • 17Olivera
  • 99Zambo Anguissa
  • 68LobotkaSubstituted forZielinskiin the 83′minutes
  • 91NdombéléSubstituted forRaspadoriin the 87′minutes
  • 21PolitanoSubstituted forLausannein the 70′minutes
  • 9OsimhenSubstituted forSimeonein the 87′minutes
  • 77KvaratskheliaSubstituted forElmasin the 83′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Nunes Jesus
  • 6Mario Rui
  • 7Elmas
  • 11Lausanne
  • 16Idasiak
  • 18Simeone
  • 20Zielinski
  • 23Zerbin
  • 30Sirigu
  • 59Zanol
  • 70Gaetano
  • 81Raspadori

Referee:
Tobias Stieler

Presence:
52,077

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