Liverpool fail to secure Champions League qualification with 1-1 draw vs Napoli

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With the prospect of fixture congestion in December - including a trip to Qatar - Liverpool would have loved to seal qualification to the last-16 of the Champions League with a game to spare.

They could have done that - and claimed top spot in their group - with a win at home to Napoli.

That would have been too easy, though.

Having already lost twice to the Italian side already this season - once in pre-season and once in Naples - the Reds should have known what to expect from Carlo Ancelotti's side.

But this wasn't the performance you'd expect from the European champions under the lights at Anfield.

After a slow start to the match, they were behind after 21 minutes when Dries Mertens fired home superbly at the Kop end.

Liverpool players felt there may have been a foul on Virgil van Dijk in the build-up, though.

But Liverpool got back into the game through an unlikely source - Dejan Lovren - who powered in a header from a corner with 25 minutes remaining.

But the home side couldn't force a winner meaning their fate will go down to their final match.

Elsewhere in the group, free-scoring RB Salzburg beat Genk 4-1 to keep their hopes to qualifying alive.

They host Liverpool in the final group game on December 10 with wonderkid Erling Braut Haland knowing that he could potentially knock out Jurgen Klopp's side.

Haland has scored 27 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions this season, including eight in this competition. He's scored in all five group games so far!

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Salzburg will go into the game three points behind Liverpool with the standings being decided on the head-to-head record. With Liverpool having won the first meeting at Anfield 4-3, Salzburg will need to win by two clear goals or 5-4, 6-5, 7-6 etc.

The Austrian side have scored 16 goals in the group stages so far and will fancy their chances against a Liverpool side struggling to keep clean sheets at the moment.

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