Liverpool, Bayern, Napoli underline credentials
PARIS. — Liverpool eased to a comfortable 2-0 win in the ‘’Battle of Britain’’ against Rangers in the Champions League football group games on Tuesday night while Napoli underlined their credentials with an impressive 6-1 thrashing of Ajax in Amsterdam.
On a night when a minute’s silence was held before every match in tribute to the 131 victims of the Indonesia stadium tragedy, Bayern Munich and Club Brugge also made it three wins from three while Inter edged Barcelona in a tight contest in Milan.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool went into their Group A game against the Scottish champions on the back of just three wins in their first nine English Premier League and Champions League games of the season.
But they settled quickly when Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a sublime free-kick to put the home side ahead after just seven minutes. Rangers’ 40-year-old goalkeeper Allan McGregor produced some fine saves, including four to deny Darwin Nunez his first goal for Liverpool, to keep his side in the hunt at half-time.
Seven minutes into the second half, however, Leon King’s challenge caught the legs of Luis Díaz to give away a penalty.
Mohamed Salah stepped up and struck the ball down the middle as McGregor was unable to repeat the penalty-saving heroics he produced against Napoli.
“It was exactly what we needed. It was a super, solid performance,” said Klopp, who switched from his usual 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1. “Sometimes you have to change things.” Napoli stay top of Group A after another impressive victory, coming from behind to hammer Ajax 6-1 to take their tally of goals to 13 from three matches.
Mohammed Kudus put the home side ahead in the ninth minute but Luciano Spalletti’s side bounced back with first-half goals from Giacomo Raspadori, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Piotr Zielinski.
Raspadori added his second two minutes after the restart and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia added the fifth just after the hour.
Ajax’s night was made worse when captain Dusan Tadic was sent off after collecting a second yellow card and Giovanni Simeone closed out the win. Bayern moved to the edge of qualification with a third successive win, thrashing Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in Group C.
“We were calm, we dominated and we were in total control,” said Bayern captain and Manuel Neuer.
“When everything is going well, we’re almost unstoppable.” German international Leroy Sane struck twice, opening the scoring from distance after seven minutes and adding a second five minutes after the break.
Between Sane’s two goals, Serge Gnabry added a second on 13 minutes before Sadio Mane posted his first Champions League goal for Bayern with No. 3 after 21 minutes.
Substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting came off the bench at half-time and added the fifth just before the hour mark.
Hakan Calhanoglu fired Inter Milan to a 1-0 win over Barcelona at the San Siro which took the Italians into second spot in Group C, three points behind Bayern.
Inter had lost five of the previous 10 matches in all competitions but Turkey midfielder Calhanoglu ended the crisis talk when he lashed in the only goal of the game on the stroke of halftime.— AFP.