Liverpool 1-1 Napoli: Qualification goes down to final group game

Champions League Group Stage Game 5
Wednesday 27 November 2019 - 8:00 pm
Anfield
Liverpool1
1Napoli
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Fabinho off, Wijnaldum on ↔️19'
21'⚽️ Mertens
Gomez off, Oxlade-Chamberlain on ↔️57'
⚽️ Lovren65'
72'↔️ Lozano off, Llorente on
Milner off, Alexander-Arnold on ↔️78'
81'↔️ Mertens off, Elmas on
90' Allan
Robertson90'
90' Koulibaly
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Liverpool and Napoli failed to secure qualification to the knock-out stages in matchday 5 of the group stage.

Both clubs will have to ensure they take at least a point in the final group game to reach the last 16.

For Liverpool that task may be the harder of the two as the reds travel to Salzburg who can actually finish as group winners depending on results.

It was a lacklustre first half from the reds saw Napoli take a lead into the break. Dries Mertens scoring the game's opening goal when he beat Lovren's offside trap.

Alisson, once again, denied his first clean sheet of the season.

Worryingly, Fabinho was taken off injured early on after getting knocked over in a Lovren/Lozano tackle.  However, Lovren provided the second half equaliser in what proved to be a more lively second period from the reds.

Mo Salah back

Mo Salah returned to the Liverpool starting line up, while Joe Gomez was selected ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back.  James Milner came in to midfield to give Gini Wijnaldum a break from the action.

Virgil van Dijk had put a chance over the bar but in the 13th minute Fabinho's departure interrupted Liverpool's rhythm.

The Brazilian midfielder was due to miss the next game v Brighton through suspension, but as he went straight down the tunnel, reds fans will fear his injury doesn't spill too heavily into a busy December.

Shortly after, Napoli were ahead.  Virgil van Dijk was left on the floor of the centre circle after attempting to clear the ball and suddenly the reds were outnumbered at the back.

As it happened: LFC 1-1 Napoli

A threaded ball to Mertens, Lovren keeping him onside and from a tight angle he put the ball past Alisson.

The reds only improved in the final 10 or so minutes of the half.  Van Dijk's header in the 35th minute was a first shot on target.  James Milner went close just before half time but the reds had to head down the tunnel for a half-time dressing down.

Klopp collected a yellow card in the first half after his defence of the constant fouls on Sadio Mane - Napoli's clear tactic for the evening.

The second half was better, although it took until Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Joe Gomez for chances to truly being landing.

Roberto Firmino had a chance cleared off the line by Koulibaly but it was a James Milner corner that eventually did for the Italian side.

From the middle of the penalty area, Dejan Lovren rose highest to head the ball into the net. 1-1.

Liverpool continued to push for what would have been an extremely useful winner but it wasn't to be and at the final whistle it was Napoli who sensed the importance of the result more.

It was at Anfield last year that the reds consigned them to the Europa League.  They are now one point away from guaranteed qualification, just like Liverpool, although they face Genk at home.

There aren't too many drawn games at Anfield, and tonight's was the first time in 9 months that Liverpool fans have left Anfield without having 'won' the game.

Next up is Brighton at home in the League and a rapid return to winning ways will be the target.

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