Champions League - Group C
Liverpool1Napoli0

Liverpool 1-0 Napoli: Salah scores as Reds reach Champions League knockout stage

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Watch: Klopp 'full of adrenaline' after 'unbelievable' Liverpool reach Champions League last 16

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he "could not be prouder of a team" as Mohamed Salah's goal and Alisson's brilliant late save earned a place in the Champions League knockout stage with victory over Napoli.

The Reds needed to win with a clean sheet or by two clear goals to make the last 16 - and in-form talisman Salah obliged by beating David Ospina at his near post in the 34th minute.

Liverpool fully deserved their victory as Ospina partially redeemed himself with fine saves from Salah and Sadio Mane, with the latter and Virgil van Dijk also missing clear chances to extend the home side's advantage.

The clean sheet was the key, however, and Liverpool survived a huge scare in injury time when Alisson made his crucial save from Arkadiusz Milik in a rare Napoli opening.

The Brazilian keeper joined the Reds from Roma in July for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper of £66.8m.

"If I knew Alisson was this good I would have paid double," said Klopp. "The goal Mo scored - what a goal, unbelievable - but the save Ali [Allison] made I have no words for that. That was the lifesaver tonight.

"It was wild and there were lots of counter attacks but we were ready for that. That is Anfield live and in colour.

"Wow, what a game. I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am."

Liverpool go through in second place behind Paris St-Germain - a feat achieved despite losing three away games in their group.

The Reds, who were beaten by Real Madrid in last season's final, will face one of the group winners when the last-16 draw is made on 17 December.

That could lead to another meeting with the champions, while their Spanish rivals Barcelona, Klopp's former charges Borussia Dortmund and Portuguese champions Porto have also advanced by topping their groups.

Champions League group C table

Salah at full throttle once more

Salah started the season slowly after his stellar feats when he scored 44 goals last season - but he has stepped on the throttle in recent weeks and now looks like the player who destroyed defences in domestic and European competition last season.

The Egypt forward - fresh from a hat-trick in Liverpool's 4-0 win against Bournemouth - made the difference here, admittedly with the help of a dreadful piece of goalkeeping from Ospina, and his pace, power and movement was often too much for the Italians' defence to cope with.

It was all summed up in the goal as he somehow escaped the mountainous figure of Kalidou Koulibaly to make the decisive contribution.

Salah's strike was even more significant as his fellow striker Mane, for all his tireless work, had a night in front of goal that he will not recall with pleasure.

Salah in full flight, along with his capacity to score crucial goals, is a threat to any defence and his influence will only grow as Liverpool continue their challenge for the Premier League and Champions League crowns.

Alisson investment reaps reward

Alisson saves from Milik
Alisson was barely called upon - until this outstanding stop from Milik

Liverpool's run to the Champions League final last season was characterised by a series of blistering attacking performances that simply swept away opponents.

Ultimately, though, it was undone by one of the most calamitous goalkeeping performances in a major final as errors by Loris Karius ensured Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev.

Reds boss Klopp, perhaps belatedly, acted in the summer when he paid £67m to sign Brazil keeper Alisson from Roma.

Alisson has already added an extra layer of security to Liverpool's defence along with £75m centre-half Virgil van Dijk - but the big players are bought to shape the important moments, and how Alisson delivered at Anfield.

Liverpool had missed a succession of chances but the only real damage to their Champions League aspirations could be inflicted by a Napoli goal and it almost arrived at a time when they would have had no chance to respond.

There was an air of desperation around Anfield as Milik found himself in front of goal eight yards out, deep into four minutes of added time. But as the stadium held its breath Alisson reacted quickly, made the block and Liverpool were through.

Alisson was an expensive, albeit necessary investment and that investment paid off right here.

Liverpool will now pose a big threat

Liverpool's Champions League group campaign has been a mixed bag, especially away from home where they lost to Napoli, Red Star Belgrade and PSG.

They have, however, navigated their way out of a tough group with three home wins and are now in the territory in which they flourish, namely the two-legged format with the power Anfield can provide.

Liverpool must improve on that poor away form - but their optimism will be rising after reaching the last 16.

Man of the match - Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)

Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson continues to catch the eye for the Reds. The Scotland left-back kept Napoli right-winger Jose Callejon quiet throughout, won possession back for his team more than any other player and constantly offered a threat going forward.

Why teams fear coming to Anfield - the stats

  • Liverpool have progressed to the knockout stages in successive Champions League campaigns for the first time since 2008-09.
  • They are unbeaten in 19 successive European matches at Anfield, winning 14 and drawing five. Their last home defeat in European competition came when they lost to Real Madrid in October 2014.
  • Napoli have not won any of their past seven Champions League away matches, losing five, with their last victory in the competition coming against Benfica in December 2016.
  • Liverpool have kept clean sheets in six of their past eight Champions League games at Anfield, including both of the past two.
  • Mohamed Salah has had a hand in 48 goals in 38 games in all competitions for Liverpool at Anfield (35 goals, 13 assists).
  • Since the start of last season, Liverpool's James Milner has provided more assists in the Champions League than any other player (9).

What's next?

Another huge game looms for the Reds as they look to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League when arch-rivals Manchester United visit Anfield on Sunday (16:00 GMT).

Attention will then turn back to the Champions League on Monday when the last-16 draw is made.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 13Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forLovrenat 90'minutes
  • 32Matip
  • 4van DijkBooked at 13mins
  • 26RobertsonBooked at 90mins
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 14Henderson
  • 7MilnerSubstituted forFabinhoat 85'minutes
  • 11SalahBooked at 83mins
  • 9Roberto FirminoSubstituted forKeitaat 79'minutes
  • 10ManéBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 3Fabinho
  • 6Lovren
  • 8Keita
  • 15Sturridge
  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi

Napoli

  • 25Ospina
  • 19Maksimovic
  • 33Albiol
  • 26KoulibalyBooked at 40mins
  • 6Mário RuiSubstituted forGhoulamat 70'minutes
  • 7Callejón
  • 5Marques Loureiro
  • 17Hamsik
  • 8RuizSubstituted forZielinskiat 62'minutes
  • 24Insigne
  • 14MertensSubstituted forMilikat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Ounas
  • 20Zielinski
  • 23Hysaj
  • 27Karnezis
  • 31Ghoulam
  • 42Diawara
  • 99Milik
Referee:
Damir Skomina
Attendance:
52,015

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamNapoli
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home23
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home16
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 1, Napoli 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Napoli 0.

Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Mohamed Salah following a fast break.

Booking

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Liverpool. Andrew Robertson tries a through ball, but Mohamed Salah is caught offside.

Offside, Napoli. Faouzi Ghoulam tries a through ball, but Kalidou Koulibaly is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Dejan Lovren replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.

Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Naby Keita.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Fabinho replaces James Milner because of an injury.

Booking

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for dangerous play.

Dangerous play by Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

David Ospina (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.

Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Faouzi Ghoulam.

Offside, Napoli. Marek Hamsik tries a through ball, but Lorenzo Insigne is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Naby Keita replaces Roberto Firmino.

Attempt missed. José Callejón (Napoli) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Lorenzo Insigne.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold following a set piece situation.

James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli).

Attempt saved. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Attempt missed. Piotr Zielinski (Napoli) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Arkadiusz Milik.

Foul by Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Joel Matip.

Substitution

Substitution, Napoli. Faouzi Ghoulam replaces Mário Rui.

Attempt blocked. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.

Substitution

Substitution, Napoli. Arkadiusz Milik replaces Dries Mertens.

Offside, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum tries a through ball, but James Milner is caught offside.

Dangerous play by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Allan (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund6411102813
2Atl Madrid641196313
3Club Brugge61326516
4Monaco6015214-121

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona6420145914
2Tottenham6222910-18
3Inter Milan622267-18
4PSV Eindhoven6024613-72

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSG6321179811
2Liverpool63039729
3Napoli62317529
4Red Star Belgrade6114517-124

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto6510156916
2Schalke632164211
3Galatasaray611458-34
4Lokomotiv Moscow6105412-83

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich54101221013
2Ajax532082611
3Benfica5113511-64
4AEK Athens5005212-100

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City5311145910
2Lyon5140111017
3Shakhtar Donetsk5122715-85
4Hoffenheim50321012-23

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid54011221012
2Roma530210649
3Viktoria Plzen5113515-104
4CSKA Moscow511359-44

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus540182612
2Man Utd531162410
3Valencia512245-15
4Young Boys5014211-91
View full Champions League tables

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