Liverpool ended Napoli’s perfect 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 to Leeds United and their spirits will have been boosted by late goals from Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez that ended the Serie A leaders’ 21-game unbeaten run.
Liverpool never looked remotely close to securing the four-goal advantage they would need against Napoli, who have completely dominated the group, but these three points will act as a real morale booster.
Thiago Alcantara saved from Napoli defender Alex Meret in the first half, while Napoli thought they had leveled after the break only for defender Leo Ostigard’s free-kick to be ruled out for offside after a lengthy video assistant referee’s call. VAR) examination.
The game went from a number of chances to an equaliser, but Liverpool grabbed the winner when Mohamed Salah had to finish from close range five minutes from time, with Nunez sealing the deal in added time.
Konate shows his lesson
Liverpool’s defensive resilience, not helped by a struggling midfield, was one of the hallmarks of their disappointing start to the season but Ibrahima Konate showed what they had been missing as they secured a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. confirmed.
Konate suffered a pre-season knee injury which forced him to miss the start of the campaign, then he was sidelined by another muscle problem which saw Liverpool’s last campaign suffer without him.
The 23-year-old France defender bounced back against Napoli’s formidable attack and put in an impressive display as Liverpool looked a much safer proposition than they have in recent times.
Konate’s defensive quality along with Virgil van Dijk held off the dangerous Victor Osimhen, showing composure, pace and physical presence as Napoli suffered a rare taste of defeat.
Admittedly, Napoli weren’t at their most devastating and knew it would take something truly special from Liverpool to turn this group on its head, but the class shown by Konate showed exactly why the manager Jurgen Klopp will hope that this talented young defender can now be injured. -free ride for the rest of the season.
Liverpool is back
Liverpool’s form and approach have been questioned after defeats to struggling Nottingham Forest and Leeds United – criticism justified by how poor they have been, a shadow of a team that spent almost all of last season chasing a historic frame.
Klopp’s side will take great heart from defeating Napoli, although it must be given context that the Italian knew that only a four-goal margin of defeat would make a difference in the group standings.
It took a huge element of danger out of the group, with Liverpool’s goals coming so late that there was never an opportunity for Anfield to enter into any sort of glimmer of hope.
However, this was an example of what Liverpool can do but also showed the two sides of their season so far. They have beaten Manchester City and Napoli at Anfield without conceding a goal, but have also suffered losses against teams who have struggled early this season, as well as Manchester United and Arsenal, two teams they have punished heavily. lost recent seasons.
Liverpool looked more confident at the back, surviving a VAR scare when Odigard thought he had scored, then clinched the match with those two late goals that would act as a real game-changer for manager Klopp, his players and the club’s fans. finished at a high level. who have been so disappointing with their form so far this season.
The main thing is consistency now and Liverpool face a serious test of their credentials when they travel to Tottenham, who are content. victory in Marseille which saw them win their group, for the Premier League on Sunday.
- 66Alexander-ArnoldIt was separated in 73 minutesSubstitutedRamsaywind 87′minutes
- 5KonatéIt was booked in 36 minutes
- 4van Dijk
- 7MillerSubstitutedElliottwind 48′minutes
- 6Thiago AlcántaraSubstitutedBajceticwind 87′minutes
- 9FirminoSubstitutedCarvalhowind 87′minutes
- 17JonesSubstitutedNúñezwind 73′minutesBooked in 90 minutes
- 22In Lorenzo
- 99Zambo Anguissa
- 68LobotkaSubstitutedZielinskiwind 83′minutes
- 91NdombéléSubstitutedRaspadoriwind 87′minutes
- 21PolitanoSubstitutedLozanowind 70′minutes
- 9OsimhenSubstitutedSimeonewind 87′minutes
- 77KvaratskheliaSubstitutedDiamondwind 83′minutes
- 5Nunes Jesus
- 6Mario Rui
- Tobias Stieler
The match ended, Liverpool 2, Napoli 0.
The second half is over, Liverpool 2, Napoli 0.
VAR Decision: Goal Liverpool 2-0 Napoli (Darwin Núñez).
Goal! Liverpool 2, Napoli 0. Darwin Núñez (Liverpool) left footed shot from long range to the top left corner following a corner.
The attempt was saved. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) header from the center of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted Konstantinos Tsimikas with a cross.
Corner, Liverpool. Approved by Mathías Olivera.
Corner, Naples. Approved by Konstantinos Tsimikas.
Offside, Napoli. Alex Meret tries to head the ball, but Giacomo Raspadori is ruled offside.
Darwin Núñez (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Darwin Núñez (Liverpool).
Eljif Almas (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Liverpool. Approved by Leo Östigard.
Corner, Naples. Approved by Calvin Ramsay.
The attempt failed. Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Eljif Elmas following a corner.
Corner, Naples. Approved by Ibrahima Konaté.
Calvin Ramsay (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Eljif Almas (Napoli).
The attempt failed. Fábio Carvalho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the center of the box is too high. Mohamed Salah assisted.
Deputy, Liverpool. Calvin Ramsay replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Deputy, Liverpool. Stefan Bajcetic replaces Thiago.