Salah makes comeback from injury but Liverpool held by Napoli

AP , Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Nov 2019

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah played the full game but could not help Liverpool overcome Napoli in the European Champions League

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) vies with Napoli's Portuguese defender Mario Rui during the UEFA Champions league Group E football match between Liverpool and Napoli at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2019 AFP

Liverpool and Napoli played out a 1-1 draw in the Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday to leave both teams' qualification hopes hanging in the balance.

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah made the starting line-up after recovering from an ankle injury but hardly made an impact. 

Dejan Lovren headed home from a corner in the 65th minute to equalize for Liverpool after the defending champions fell behind to Dries Mertens' goal in the 21st.

Liverpool maintained its one-point lead over Napoli in Group E but both can now be caught by Salzburg, which won at Genk on Wednesday.

Liverpool plays Salzburg away in their final group game _ they are separated by three points _ and the English club needs to avoid defeat or have a low-scoring loss by a one-goal margin to secure a top-two finish. Liverpool currently leads the head-to-head, having beaten Salzburg 4-3 at Anfield in October.

Napoli will qualify by beating already-eliminated Genk at home in their last group game.

Liverpool lacked any tempo in the first half, and wasn't helped by an ankle injury to Fabinho that forced the defensive midfielder off the field in the 19th minute.

Mertens scored soon after, racing onto a long pass forward from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and drilling a low shot past goalkeeper Alisson Becker into the far corner.

The goal was subject to a review by VAR, which checked for offside against Mertens and whether the Belgium forward fouled Virgil van Dijk early in the build-up, but it was allowed to stand.

Van Dijk stayed down after colliding with Mertens in that incident, giving the Napoli player space to run through. After receiving treatment, Van Dijk continued.

Liverpool dominated the second half and got its reward when James Milner drove in a corner from the right and Lovren rose highest to head the ball from a central position inside the far post.

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