Two goals inside two second-half minutes from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah ensured defending champions Liverpool moved into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Salzburg yesterday, Juergen Klopp’s side needed a point in Austria to be sure of qualification and after missing several good chances in the first half, the runaway Premier League leaders settled their nerves when Keita headed them in front, against his former club, in the 57th minute.
Andy Robertson fed Mane who burst down the left past Jerome Onguene and he rounded Salzburg keeper Cican Stankovic, who had rushed out of his area, before lofting a cross into the box which was firmly headed home by Keita.
A minute later, Stankovic’s readiness to leave his area was behind the second goal, as Salah, wide on the right, pushed the ball around him and then impressively slotted home from the tightest possible angle. Liverpool were in firm control from then on and wasted several chances to add to their total.
In another match, Napoli ended a nine-match winless run in all competitions to reach the Champions League last sixteen as a first-half Arkadiusz Milik hat-trick set up a 4-0 win over Genk.
Genk’s Maarten Vandevoordt, who at 17 years and 287 days became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the UEFA Champions League, had a nightmare start as he gave the ball away under pressure and allowed Milik to score in the third minute.
The Pole fired the second in the 26th minute and converted a penalty in the 38th after the hapless Vandevoordt upended Jose Callejon. Dries Mertens completed the scoring with another penalty in the 75th minute on his 300th Napoli appearance.
Napoli finished second in Group E with 12 points, one behind Liverpool, while their Belgian opponents finished bottom of the group with one point. Salzburg came third to qualify for the Europa League last 32.
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