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

Liverpool score against Napoli
Liverpool finished second in Group A, level on points with Napoli but behind on head-to-head

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

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

Liverpool never looked remotely like securing the four-goal winning margin they would have needed against Napoli, who exerted complete dominance over the group, but the three points will be a real boost to morale.

Thiago Alcantara brought a save from Napoli keeper Alex Meret in the first half, while Napoli thought they had broken the deadlock after the break only for defender Leo Östigard’s header from a free-kick to be ruled offside after a lengthy video assistant referee ( VAR) examination.

A game with few chances was heading for a draw but Liverpool snatched victory when Mohamed Salah forced home a close-range finish with five minutes to go, with Nunez sealing the deal in added time.

Conate shows his class

The vulnerability of Liverpool’s defence, not helped by a struggling midfield, has been one of the features of their disappointing start to the season, but Ibrahima Konate showed what they have been missing as they confirmed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Conate suffered a pre-season knee injury which forced him to miss the start of the campaign, then he was sidelined again by a further muscle problem which saw Liverpool’s rear-guard struggle badly without him.

The 23-year-old France defender bounced back against the formidable Napoli attack and put in an outstanding display as Liverpool looked a far more confident proposition than in recent times.

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

Admittedly, Napoli are not the most destructive and knew it would take something special from Liverpool to turn the group on its head, but the class demonstrated by Konate illustrated exactly why manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping the talented young defender can now have an injury. . -Free run for the rest of the season.

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Liverpool bounce back

Liverpool’s form and approach have been questioned after defeats by struggling Nottingham Forest and Leeds United – criticism justified as they were poor, looking a shadow of the team that spent almost all of last season in pursuit of a historic quadruple.

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

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

This, however, was an example of what Liverpool can do but 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 damaging losses to teams that have spent the early part of the term struggling, as well as losing to Manchester United and Arsenal, two teams they punished heavily in Last seasons.

Liverpool looked more confident at the back, surviving a VAR scare when Odigard thought he had scored, then finishing the game on a high with the two late scrambled goals that will act as a real mood changer for manager Klopp, his players and followers From the club who have been so disappointed by 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 have enjoyed Victory in Marseille That they win their group, for a Premier League tie on Sunday.

Naples

  1. Squad number77Player nameQuarachelia

  2. Squad number9Player nameOsimen

  3. Squad number55Player nameÖstigard

  4. Squad number3Player nameKim Min-jae

  5. Squad number68Player nameLobotka

  6. Squad number21Player namePolitano

  7. Squad number99Player nameZambo Anguissa

  8. Squad number17Player nameOlivera

  9. Squad number22Player nameThe Lorenzo

  10. Squad number91Player nameNdombélé

  11. Squad number1Player namemore

  12. Squad number11Player nameLozano

  13. Squad number20Player nameZelinsky

  14. Squad number7Player nameAlmas

  15. Squad number81Player nameRaspadori

  16. Squad number18Player nameSimon

lineups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alison
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked in 73 minutessubstituted forRamsayAt 87′minute
  • 5KonatéBooked in 36 minutes
  • 4van Dijk
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 7Milnersubstituted forEliotAt 48′minute
  • 3Fabinho
  • 6Thiago Alcántarasubstituted forbudgetAt 87′minute
  • 11Salah
  • 9Firminosubstituted forCarvalhoAt 87′minute
  • 17Jonessubstituted forNúñezAt 73′minuteBooked in 90 minutes

Substitutes

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

Naples

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1more
  • 22The Lorenzo
  • 55Östigard
  • 3Kim
  • 17Olivera
  • 99Zambo Anguissa
  • 68Lobotkasubstituted forZelinskyAt 83′minute
  • 91Ndombélésubstituted forRaspadoriAt 87′minute
  • 21Politanosubstituted forLozanoAt 70′minute
  • 9Osimensubstituted forSimonAt 87′minute
  • 77Quaracheliasubstituted forAlmasAt 83′minute

Substitutes

  • 5Nunes Jesus
  • 6Mario Rui
  • 7Almas
  • 11Lozano
  • 16Idasiak
  • 18Simon
  • 20Zelinsky
  • 23Zerbin
  • 30Sirigu
  • 59Zanoli
  • 70Gaetano
  • 81Raspadori

Referee:
Tobias Stiller

Attendance:
52,077

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