Champions League

Salah strike takes Liverpool into Champions League last 16

2018-12-12 07:00
Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah (Getty Images)

Liverpool - Mohamed Salah's stunning solo effort saw Liverpool edge out Napoli for a place in the Champions League last 16 thanks to a 1-0 win at Anfield on Tuesday.

Salah wriggled beyond two Napoli challenges before finishing from a narrow angle 11 minutes before the break on a night when only Liverpool's profligacy in front of goal cost them a more comfortable margin of victory.

And they were nearly made to pay in stoppage time when Alisson Becker produced a crucial save to deny Arkadiusz Milik a dramatic equaliser.

However, despite losing all three of their away games in Group C, three home wins at fortress Anfield were enough to see Liverpool through to the knockout stage on goals scored over the Italians in second place behind Paris Saint-Germain, who won 4-1 away to Red Star Belgrade to secure top spot.

Salah signalled his return to top form by scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday that sent Liverpool to the top of the Premier League, and his 13th goal of the season saw luck shine on last season's Champions League finalists.

The Egyptian fluffed his first chance of the night when he miscontrolled Andrew Robertson's excellent cross with just David Ospina to beat.

Napoli were left aggrieved 15 minutes in when Virgil van Dijk was only shown a yellow card for a dangerous lunge on Dries Mertens.

Van Dijk did play the ball first, but his follow through took out the Belgian international and could easily have been punished with a red card by Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.

Napoli had not been beaten in Europe this season before travelling to England's north-west and showed the danger they posed when Marek Hamsik fired inches over from Mertens's cross.

Liverpool take control

However, Liverpool began to take control as the first half went on.

Sadio Mane had the ball in the net, but was rightly ruled offside before Salah broke the deadlock.

Salah outmuscled Mario Rui and skipped past Kalidou Koulibaly before squeezing the ball underneath Ospina from a narrow angle.

Had Liverpool conceded they would have had to win by two goals due to their 1-0 defeat in Naples, and the hosts failed to cash in on their dominance of the early stages of the second half to avoid a nervy ending.

Salah pulled his shot into the side-netting with a far better angle from the one he scored, while Milner and Van Dijk sent long-range efforts flying just wide of the target.

But Liverpool couldn't build on their advantage as Ospina made acrobatic saves to keep out Salah and Mane once more.

And they should have been made to pay on two occasions as firstly Jose Maria Callejon spooned over a glorious chance at the back post 12 minutes from time.

Mane missed another two sitters in front of the Kop to Jurgen Klopp's amazement.

But Liverpool lived to fight another day thanks to Alisson, who paid back some of his £67 million then-world record fee for a goalkeeper in July, by spreading himself bravely to block from Milik to keep his 12th clean sheet of the season.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Manchester United v PSG, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Porto, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Ajax v Real Madrid, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Liverpool v Bayern Munchen, Anfield 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Barcelona, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Atletico Madrid v Juventus, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Schalke 04 v Manchester City, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tuesday, 05 March 2019
Real Madrid v Ajax, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Wednesday, 06 March 2019
Porto v Roma, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Manchester United, Parc des Princes 22:00
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.