Alisson saves Liverpool, denies Napoli with late heroics
A marvellous goal from Mohamed Salah in the first half and a wonderful save by Alisson in the second sees Liverpool over Napoli in the Champions League.
Liverpool 1-0 Napoli: match report
In Liverpool's most decisive game in Europe since their Champions League final against Real Madrid, Alisson, their massive summer splurge, saved them at the death from an Arkadiusz Milik effort. That save and the Mohamed Salah goal in the first half helped them to second place in Group C as Napoli stumble into the Europa League in third place at Anfield on Tuesday night.
The Italian side needed a draw to make it into the last 16 of the competition but Liverpool, at home, and just after taking top spot in the Premier League at the weekend had their tactics spot on with the intensity in their play to match. Their shooting boots? Not so much.
Klopp's side would send 17 shots towards goal with seven of them on target and almost all of them poorly finished except for Salah's sublime finish after heavy pressure in the 34th minute.
The Egyptian kept Mario Rui, who he was wearing like a cloak, at bay and spun around him to break free and latch onto andy Robertson's pass into the penalty area. He had Koulibaly to beat on the right hand side of the penalty box but with a drop of the shoulder and a neat touch with his left, he was through on goal albeit at a very tight angle. He threw a little glance into the center, which threw David Ospina off completely as he finished at the near post with precision.
Liverpool continued to batter down Ospina's goal but few shots really troubled the Colombian. Sadio Mané went closest when Salah squared to him but his shot from close range hit the side netting. Firmino had a header that landed at Ospina's feet and Van Dijk drove a volley over the bar too. Klopp applauded every missed chance and egged his side on but he won't be happy with the standard of finishing, which left the tie open until the death.
As the light faded on the Italians hopes, Napoli got their second wind. They had a chance through Milik as Lovren got lost in the middle. The Polish player struck it but Alisson's quick thinking saw him close the angle, which forced the striker to shoot a rushed effort at his leg. It was a save in stark contrast to what happened in Cardiff in the final last May with a couple of goalkeeping erros leading to a Real Madrid win.
At Anfield on Tuesday night though, Liverpool kept their second clean sheet in six games in the Champions League and their three wins in those encounters was enough to see them through, along with PSG, from one of the toughest groups possible where they learned a lot about themselves. Not least that the signing of Alisson could take them where they need to go this year.
Liverpool vs Napoli live online: match commentary and updates
90'+4' GAME OVER! Liverpool are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
90'+4' Mane one-on-one. And he misses. He was through on goal. That's a bad miss.
90'+4' One minute left.
90'+3' Ball came back in and that was a foul on Alisson.
90'+2' What a save! What a save. Alisson saves and that was an incredible stop. Milik gets it and hits it straight at him, but he made himself bif. Incredible.
90'+1' 4 minutes of added time. Four minute heart attack for Liverpool fans.
90' Long ball down the field and Insigne is in chase. Alisson sees that one off.
89' Insigne chests a poor headed clearance down. He strikes it well over the bar.
88' Liverpool fans giving it loads now. They're going through as it stands.
87' How did he miss that? Mane wins it back and Salah gets it. He squares for Mane and he misses. How did he miss???
86' Robertson now. Liverpool tiring and Napoli running out of ideas.
86' Wijnaldum again and he strikes just wide. Well, it was drifting fairly badly. Wasted effort.
85' Fabinho on for Milner.
84' Cross into the box and Keita heads it backwards somehow. Salah keeps it and they eventually pop it up into the air. Caught by Ospina and Napoli look for a way through.
83' Salah booked for jumping in the way of Ospina and pulling him down.
81' Wijnaldum with the header and that's just wide.
81' Corner for Milner and he walks over to it.
79' Insigne offside. That was on too it looks like. Champions League needs VAR.
79' Keita on for Firmino.
79' Callejon misses a golden chance. Robertson caught out. Insigne with the pass and Robertson fails to clear as he slipped. Callejon wasn't really expecting it to fall to him. And he misses.
78' And he missed too.
78' What a ball into Van Dijk. He misses but he was offside. That wasn't anywhere near offside by the way. Linesman's flag went up though.
77' Ghoulam takes Milner out of it.
77' Another chance. Ball from Robertson and Mane strikes. Just saved by Ospina with his legs. Salah can't get their quick enough and Liverpool miss a great chance.
75' Mane gets the ball but he loses control and Albiol robs it from him.
73' That was nearly it! Mane moves forward and plays the ball so Salah. He goes around the keeper but gets pushed. He keeps it and clips it forward to Firmino in the center. Headed out by Napoli. That was close.
73' Two Polish players combine and Zielinski skies Milik's pass.
73' Napoli free. They have had loads of possession around the middle.
72' Napoli improving now. Haven't troubled Alisson just yet but they are pushing.
71' Corner for Napoli.
70' Cross from the right from Callejon and it nearly lands to Milik. Van Dijk again saves the day.
69' Trent Alexander-Arnold the latest to try his luck. It catches a defender and falls kindly to Ospina.
67' Mertens off and on comes Milik.
66' Callejon chases down Alisson. Cleared and Liverpool back on the attack. Mane gets whistled for a high foot and Napoli look to start again.
64' Ball out to Mario Rui on the left and his cross is sent clear. Liverpool on the break now and Mane is chopped down. Maksimovic lucky to avoid a booking there.
64' Napoli now with a spell on the ball as Liverpool catch their breaths.
63' Zielinski on for Fabian.
62' Milner so, so close. He strikes after a nice move with Mane. Wide of the post.
61' Salah with a pass inside and that's off target again.
61' Salah gets the ball at the end of a nice move but his pass is wayward. Liverpool recover and Henderson shoots. Ospina gets down to his right and saves. Not a bad effort but never really worrying the keeper. Liverpool on the brink of something here!
61' Napoli getting a sub ready. Zielinski warming up.
60' Napoli looking more dangerous Mertens races in on goal but Alisson is out to gather the ball.
59' Robertson to Mane and then Firmino in the box. He's squeezed out of it.
58' Van Dijk with the most ambitious effort you'll see. He gets it onto his right and that is not too far away! What a strike that was.
58' Liverpool respond. Firmino's free has way more power on it but it's straight at Ospina and he makes no bones about it.
57' Headed down by Albiol and it's easy for Alisson. Not too much pace on it but not a bad effort and one of the best they've had.
56' Salah shoots after working the ball inside and getting a yard. Blocked and Mane can't reach it. Napoli on the break and that's crossed in as Robertson saves the day. Corner!
55' Liverpool continue to dominate. Robertson down the left now.
53' Mane again and he's offside this time. Well off in the end although he did try to get back onside.
52' Mane through now. He chips it into the middle and Koulibaly heads away. Salah and Mario Rui clash though and it was a foul by Salah.
51' Van Dijk again. He clears, not quite off the line but close.
51' Salah hands off the defener. He drives a shot low and into the side netting.
51' Salah tripped up by Mario Rui.
51' Liverpool dominating possession. Koulibaly clears and Liverpool win it back.
49' Salah shakes off a tackle and crosses to Wijnaldum but he shoots way wide. Looked more like a clearance than a shot actually.
46' Liverpool come out flying. Robertson down the left and he crosses. Blocked for a corner and the fans are loving it.
46' We are back underway!
Klopp sprints into the dressing room to see the score in the other game.
45'+3' Liverpool counter. Ball into Firmino and he headers it up into the air. Out and Milner crosses. That's it.
45'+3' Van Dijk across again and that it out for another throw. He's everywhere!
45'+3' Into the third minute now.
45'+2' Van Dijk puts the ball out for a throw. He's not happy with his teammates' positioning and he has a word.
45'+2' Mertens with a seriously ambitious effort from miles out. It bounces in front of Alisson and wide. Liverpool won't mind conceding 100 shots if they're all like that one.
45'+1' Three minutes of added time.
45' Ball into the box and it's headed away. Napoli in danger of conceding again if they're not careful. Really good pressure from Liverpool as four players chase the man on the ball. Napoli do manage to keep it but they're all the way back in their own box.
44' Milner catches Maksimovic with an arm to the face as they jump for the ball. Free for Napoli and a sore cheek for the defender.
42' Alisson with not much to do so far tonight. He grabs one now though as he slows things down and assesses the terrain ahead of him.
41' Alexander Arnold with a free. He drives it low off a Napoli leg. Liverpool keep the ball though.
39' Yellow is out now for Koulibaly. He stood right on his foot.
39' Salah chopped down and the linesman is the one who tells the ref. He's writhing in pain and caught one on the foot.
38' Napoli struggling at the moment. They've improved but are right up against it now. Worse thing that could have was happened was to concede in the first half.
37' Fabian sends a shot across goal and that's tame. Drifting wide and no real pace on it either.
33' Liverpool deserve that.
33' SALAH! GOAL! How did he squeeze that in? He turned the defender, and from an almost impossible angle, he slots it home.
31' Salah hits the ground. Cross from Robertson. The cross is too close to Ospina and he grabs it and Salah has his hands out looking for a free.
29' Free for Napoli as Allan is fouled by Firmino.
28' Ospina down injured. He's okay though. Just wanted to take the sting out of Liverpool's attack.
27' Salah fights for it in the box and he wins it back. Sent in again and blocked again. Loads of sky blue jerseys in here.
26' Liverpool up the other end and Firmino shoots. Blocked by Albiol.
25' Koulibaly certainly looks offside and we do get a late flag. He sent it across goal where Mertens was reaching for it. Liverpool take it back.
24' Oh. Dangerous for Napoli. Mertens launches a cross into the back post. Van Dijk in the right place to reject Ruiz the chance.
21' Mane has the ball in the back of the net. Salah to TAA and the cross comes in but Mane is about 10 yards offside. Nice finish though.
19' Liverpool with 61%.
19' Ball inside from Liverpool. Milner sends it through but Napoli recover and clear. But Liverpool win it back.
18' Free for Liverpool on the right now as all Liverpool players miss it. Liverpool recover it. They've been in control from the start here.
17' Mertens back on the field and recovered from that knock. Liverpool back in possession.
15' Mertens still picking himself up off the ground.
13' Van Dijk is booked for a fairly rough tackle on Mertens. He went over the ball and lucky not to make contact with the player's ankle.
12' Salah is defended really well by Koulibaly as he gets his body in front of him and then kicks it off him for the goalkick.
9' Alexander Arnold with a lovely cross and Milner heads over. Run by Salah and he's stopped and turned around. He tees up for TAA to launch it and it's a lovely ball.
7' Mertens inside to Hamsik. He strikes just over the bar. Lovely hit but just over. Wide open this one!
7' Terrible touch by Salah! Robertson with a perfect pass into the middle. Salah unmarked and he miscontrols it straight to Ospina. That was as clear cut as you'll get.
7' Van Dijk clears another dangerous ball into the middle.
6' Fabian on the left and he sends in a cross but that's blocked. The midfielder is wearing a massive bandage on his leg.
5' Ospina closed down by Milner but he clears before the Liverpool player can get to him. And now Napoli win a throw.
5' Liverpool win it back and Wijnaldum brings it through the middle. And now Napoli win it back. Exhausted already with all the changes of possession.
4' Firmino looks for Milner, or Mane, with a through ball. It goes to neither of them as Napoli counter.
3' Mertens on the counter after Napoli snuff out that attack by the home side. Offside called as the ball is played to nobody anyway.
3' Dangerous inside Liverpool's box. Mertens plays it out wide but Liverpool recover. All very fast at the moment but the final ball lacking from both sides.
2' Alexander Arnold put under pressure on the right and he gives away the throw and possession. Liverpool win it straight back but their counter is too fast and Napoli break now.
1' That test begins now! We are underway.
That midfield battle is going to be really tasty. Fabian Ruiz used to run the show for Betis once upon a time. Now playing on the biggest nights in Champions League. Test for him tonight.
Hamsik versus Henderson for the toss.
Both sets of fans certainly very loud.
Liverpool fans outsinging the Champions League anthem, it sounds like.
The teams are in the tunnal!
Napoli fans in earlier to soak it all in.
Some concern over Liverpool's midfield. They have Manchester United coming up and are in a tight spot. Milner Wijnaldum and Henderson is not their best midfield but it means Fabinho and Keita are probably going to be back for the Premier League clash.
Mourinho refused to comment on Koulibaly but he starts tonight if any United fans want to do some recon on a potential target.
Napoli XI: Ospina, Maksimovic, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui, Callejon, Allan, Hamsik, Fabian Ruíz, Insigne, Mertens.
Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Virgil Van Dijk is confident that Liverpool can challenge on two fronts with the squad they have but a win tonight is a must.
Here is a look at what each side needs to do in all of the Champions League groups tonight and tomorrow. A draw for Napoli and a win for Liverpool is what they need and if they can't manage that then the future is completely out of their hands.
Hello and welcome to our online coverage of Liverpool vs Napoli as the Serie A side travel to the Premier League-leading reds. It's all to play for in Group C with a draw doing the trick for Napoli while Liverpool simply need to win. Kick-off from Anfield is at 21:00 CET.
Liverpool vs Napoli live online: preview
It's all to play for in Group C with Napoli travelling to Liverpool in need of a win with their hosts just as desperate for all a result. Red Star Belgrade welcome PSG but the neither Klopp or Ancelotti's sides will be paying any mind to things in Serbia with a winner takes all game at Anfield. Napoli only technically need a draw but if they don't get that, they will be relying on results elsewhere with Ancelotti expected to come out in a progressive manner at the home of the current Premier League leaders.
Liverpool are coming off an impressive visit to Bournemouth in the Premier League and with Manchester City losing to Chelsea, it means the Premier League's top spot belongs to Klopp's men. They remain unbeaten in the domestic competition but their results in Europe have been another story. They have won just two of their five games so far with a particularly worrying display against Red Stae Belgrade that ended in a loss leaving them in the position they are in tonight. They also lost to a late Napoli winner in the first fixture between these two sides. Klopp knows what Anfield can mean in terms of pressure on the opposing side and he has asked for the fans to bring the noise on Tuesday night. Of that there seems little doubt, but can the players match the fans' intensity? They haven't been able to so far in the Champions League.
As far as team news goes, Liverpool have two notable absences from their campaign this year. Dejan Lovren is only returning from a concussion but has made the squad while Joe Gomez, who recently signed a new long term contract with the club, is out with a broken ankle.
Napoli are coming in hot themselves with a 4-0 win over Frosinone in Serie A but they remain eight points behind Juventus in the league. Aurelio De Laurentiis, the club's president, said he will not sack Ancelotti even if they fail to qualify for the Champions League's knockout stages. Ancelotti is missing the services of Vlad Chiriches and Simone Verdi for the trip to Liverpool.