Liverpool’s final home game of the Champions League group stage ended in a frustrating draw, as a defensive Napoli side held out for 1-1.
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Liverpool 1-1 Napoli
Champions League group stage (5), Anfield
November 27, 2019
Goals: Lovren 64′; Mertens 21′
Jurgen Klopp opted to make changes for the big game at Anfield, bringing fit-again Mo Salah into the attack, James Milner into midfield and Joe Gomez in to play right-back.
A slow start from the home side allowed Napoli to keep shape easily at the back, meaning chances were few and far between for Liverpool.
Losing Fabinho early on to injury was a big blow, and worse was to follow not too many minutes later.
Virgil van Dijk was clearly fouled on the halfway line and stayed down injured; with the defender out of position, Napoli broke through and Dries Mertens flashed a great strike into the far bottom corner.
Liverpool came to life near the end of the half, but James Milner‘s drilled effort at the ‘keeper was as close as they came to an equaliser.
After the break Liverpool were entirely dominant in terms of possession, but a frustrating mix of fussy officiating and poor delivery from wide meant Napoli remained tough to break down.
Roberto Firmino had a hooked shot cleared off the line by Kalidou Koulibaly and Mo Salah shot straight at Alex Meret—before the Reds scored through one of the most unlikely sources on the pitch.
A deep corner was met by a powerful Dejan Lovren header, and he found the top corner for his first Liverpool goal in Europe since his last-minute winner against Dortmund in the 2016 Europa League quarter-final.
The Reds pressed for a late winner but without real conviction, and the eventual 1-1 draw means Klopp’s team need a result in Salzburg on December 10 to ensure qualification for the last 16.