Champions League: Liverpool advance as Alisson, Salah star against Napoli

A Liverpool fan favorite who emerged last season combined with a new goalkeeping hero in the Reds' 1-0 win o...

Posted: Dec 12, 2018 1:20 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2018 1:20 PM

A Liverpool fan favorite who emerged last season combined with a new goalkeeping hero in the Reds' 1-0 win over Napoli that sent the 2018 finalist into the Champions League knockout phase.

Mohamed Salah netted a hat-trick in the English Premier League last weekend against Bournemouth and while he didn't replicate the feat Tuesday -- he could have given his chances -- the Egyptian scored the lone goal in the 34th minute.

Football (Soccer)

Soccer events

Sports and recreation

Sports events

UEFA Champions League

Continents and regions

England

Europe

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah

Northern Europe

Sports figures

United Kingdom

Jurgen Klopp

Read: Was Ronaldo's bicycle kick greatest goal ever?

Read: Reus back from the brink, again

Summer signing -- from Roma -- Alisson then bailed out the host in injury time, stopping substitute Arkadiusz Milik in what was easily the visitors' best opportunity at Anfield. Beating Napoli and also qualifying for the last 16 could be worth as much as $13.8 million to Liverpool.

"What a goal from Mo, and the save Ali made -- I have no words for that," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters. "I am very proud of the boys tonight.

"I'm still full of adrenaline. This game was just amazing. The boys played with their whole heart. Our defending and pressing was some of the best I ever saw."

The Reds knew they needed to win by a 1-0 scoreline or two clear goals on the final match day to advance instead of Napoli if Paris Saint-Germain beat last-place Red Star Belgrade away -- which it did 4-1 -- and indeed Liverpool claimed second in Group C on goals scored.

Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videos

Out went Napoli's 12-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

"We started well, but then we started making many mistakes in the middle due to their high pressure," Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti was quoted as saying by UEFA. "The second half was tactically messy, we absolutely needed a goal. It's true they missed many chances on the counter, but we also could have scored."

Only four spots remained in the round of 16 heading into the final match day and now there is only one.

Another English team goes through

Another Italian side was trumped by English opposition as Tottenham grabbed second place in Group B at Inter Milan's expense. Former PSG midfielder Lucas Moura scored in the 85th minute for Spurs in a 1-1 tie at group winner Barcelona, while Inter could only draw last-place PSV 1-1 at home.

Inter needed to better Tottenham's result to progress but in the end departed on head-to-head away goals.

"Congratulations to the players, I think they were fantastic -- massive effort," Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, the former boss at Barcelona's city rival Espanyol, told BT Sport. "So happy for our fans who were here and our fans in London and around the world. It's a massive, massive achievement for the club."

Tottenham's task was made simpler when Barcelona didn't start five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi. Rather he entered as a 63rd-minute sub.

There has been much talk in England about how Liverpool's front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have yet to find last year's scintillating form but Klopp's side lead the Premier League without suffering a defeat and ultimately got the result it required against Napoli.

There was thus more woe for Ancelotti against Liverpool -- guiding AC Milan in 2005, he saw the Reds overturn a 3-0 deficit to win the Champions League final. AC Milan and Ancelotti, however, did top Liverpool in the final two years later.

Mind you Liverpool made it nervy for the home fans by wasting opportunity after opportunity Tuesday. Of 22 shots, a mere eight were on target.

It all started in the seventh minute when marauding left-back Andy Robertson found Salah with a wonderful cross in front of goal. Salah didn't get the first touch he wanted and the ball fell safely to keeper David Ospina.

Napoli's only other decent chance, besides Milik's effort, probably came in the eighth minute when club legend Marek Hamsik curled his effort over the bar.

James Milner's header flashed wide and teammate Mane saw his goal rightfully crossed off for offside in the 22nd.

Read: USA, Sweden in same group at women's World Cup

Read: Atlanta wins MLS Cup

Alisson and Virgil van Dijk have been colossal for Liverpool since joining from Roma and Southampton, respectively, this year but Napoli felt the central defender should have seen red when his follow through caught forward Dries Mertens in the ankle. He was given a yellow instead.

Salah shrugs off defenders

Salah struck moments later when he shook off two defenders and poked the ball through Ospina's legs from a tight angle.

And in the second half, the chances kept on coming for Liverpool, with Salah shooting wide when in alone, Firmino depositing his header straight at Ospina and the Colombian keeper foiling the Egyptian twice in the same sequence.

In between Mane squandering two seemingly can't-miss chances in the dying minutes, Alisson denied Milik before a follow-up was ruled out for offside. Again it appeared to be the correct call.

No wonder Alisson received a big hug from Klopp at the final whistle.

"(Alisson) has been fantastic for Liverpool and for us," van Dijk told Liverpool's website. "He gives confidence to everyone."

The final qualifier will come on Wednesday, either Lyon or Shakhtar Donetsk from Group F. But it will be difficult to match Tuesday's drama in what was another memorable European night at Anfield.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57150

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10271422
Cuyahoga7724373
Hamilton5924197
Marion273238
Lucas2723302
Pickaway219141
Summit2131206
Montgomery198126
Mahoning1825232
Butler157644
Columbiana130360
Stark1107112
Lorain102167
Trumbull93965
Warren83921
Clark7659
Delaware56815
Fairfield55916
Tuscarawas55210
Belmont54622
Medina51632
Lake49718
Licking47712
Miami46331
Portage44058
Ashtabula43344
Wood42151
Geauga40542
Clermont4006
Wayne36251
Richland3375
Allen31540
Mercer2818
Greene2519
Darke24825
Erie24222
Holmes2313
Huron2152
Madison1958
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Sandusky13414
Washington13220
Putnam12815
Ross1243
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton972
Monroe8917
Jefferson872
Union851
Muskingum831
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Guernsey703
Lawrence700
Williams702
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Carroll593
Wyandot586
Athens561
Brown561
Knox511
Defiance503
Fayette460
Highland451
Champaign401
Scioto380
Perry341
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Henry290
Jackson230
Paulding230
Pike230
Adams221
Vinton222
Gallia171
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Angola
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
94° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 98°
Decatur
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Van Wert
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Few Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events