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Liverpool 2 Napoli 0: Salah scores for fifth consecutive Champions League game to ease some pressure on Klopp

MO SALAH  and Darwin Nunez put a smile back on the face of Jurgen Klopp with the winner that lifted some of the depression that has enveloped Anfield.

Like so many of his team mates Egyptian Salah is no longer playing like a king at the moment.

Euro-goal specialist Mo Salah can hardly miss for the opener
Darwin Nunez is overjoyed after his Champions League strike
This poked goal from Dariwn Nunez on 98 minutes was given after video replays
Liverpool hail Mo Salah for his late breakthrough strike at Anfield

But he still managed to force the ball over the line five minutes from the end to show that there could yet be some light at the end of the tunnel for the side that this season have lost its identity.

And seven minutes into time added on at the end Nunez also forced the ball home to help Klopp cheer up on what was a milestone night for him

He became the first German to be take charge of 100 Champions League games as a manager.

And the victory against the side seen as new Italian stallions meant he could celebrate his 400th game as the Kop boss.

This win didn’t really mean that much in terms of his side’ Champions League campaign for Napoli still finished top of Group A.

But still, it as something to cling onto after the way that the mood music of Klopp’s heavy metal football has turned serious and somber.

 Nobody of a red persuasion was really looking for miracles at kick- off  â€“ just an indication that the old mojo was still there, somewhere.

Klopp’s side needed to win by four goals to grab top spot having been thrashed 4-1 by their Italian opponents in the opening game.


That was never, given the problems Klopp is facing, going to happen.

But a resumption of normal service, of sight of the “ mentality monsters” as he has so often called them as opposed to those who looked mentally shot after the weekend 2 – 1 home defeat, would be enough.

Yet still they ground out a win, Salah pouncing after goalkeeper Alex Meret coud only push out a fierce header from Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp’s four-change side went up against the Serie A leaders –  unbeaten in 70 games this season and having sored 50 goals  – clearly hurting badly.

Questions, hard questions, are being asked about an aging midfield, about why defending has become so hit – and – miss, about the lack of goals, about whether Klopp’s geggenpressing may need a new accent.

Even before those successive Prem defeats to struggles Nottingham Forest, and especially to Leeds United at the weekend, there were worrying signs – not least that defeat in Naples.

True enough, in between those shocks, Liverpool made certain of reaching the Champions League  knock – out stages with a 3-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam.

But the reality is that while those stats are a testament to his success, they also happen to coincide with him battling to keep everything from falling apart around him.

Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah clinched victory for the Reds late on
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool came second in their Champions League group

As his players warmed up he hardly looked a picture of optimism going up against a side that he will surely have known had not lost a game by four goals in 15 years to anybody.

Not only that, in front men Victor Osimhen and Khvichia Kvartskelia, Klopp’s opposite number Luciano Spalletti could boast one of the most exciting attacking duos in Europe, the pair each having scored eight goals each in this campaign.

Klopp  had already declared: “We have to go through this.

“If you want to get out of something you first have to go through it.”

Credit to his side, against one bidding to be the first in Italian history to win all six Champions League group games, they did their level best.

While Nigerian striker Osimhen suggested a threat throughout the first half, Napoli were not exactly going at the game with any real gusto.

They knew that it would take a sensational turn around- in their form as well as in their opponents – to knock them off top spot.

But it was clear in a Liverpool side that saw central defender Ibrahima Konate make only his second start of the season after a succession of niggly injuries, there was a desire to start the healing process.

Napoli’s Leo Ostigard celebrates – but his goal was ruled out
Leo Ostigard’s joy for Napoli was short-lived, especially as Liverpool later hit a winner of their own in the final Champions League group game

Thiago produced a Hollywood save from Alex Meret, while the goalkeeper then couldn’t showboat with a flying touch to divert Mo Salah’s low strike – although the Eygptian star’s effort was then ruled out for offside anyway.

The Anfield faithful tried their best to lift their heroes – and indeed help make it one of those great Euro nights.

Yet even there passion could only count for so much within a team struggling to rediscover itself.

And in the 53rd minute it seemed that all their noise had truly counted for nothing as Leo Ostigard rose high – and unsurprisingly these days within Klopp’s defence unmarked – to head past Alisson.

But after a VAR check approaching four minutes referee Tombias Steiler, who had looked as bemused as everyone else by the interminable delay, got the message that Osimhen was offside

Veteran James Milner, having taken a had knock in the first half, was forced off soon after the break adding to Klopp’s lengthy injury list.

But then came those shafts of light provided by Salah and sub Nunez.

Roberto Firmino was up for it in the first half against Napoli at Anfield
Liverpool striker Mo Salah fends off Napoli centre-back Min-Jae Kim

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