NYON: Liverpool cruised through to the Champions League last 16 with a 3-0 win at Ajax but Tottenham need a point in their final game at Marseille after drawing with Sporting Lisbon.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds progressed after defeating Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott.
Having had their woodwork rattled early on by Steven Berghuis, the Reds went ahead in the 42nd minute via Salah’s finish.
The fit-again Nunez hit a post soon after, before extending the visitors’ lead with a 49th-minute header.
Elliott then added a fine strike three minutes later as Jurgen Klopp’s men, for whom a draw would have been sufficient to join Group A leaders Napoli in the next round, returned to winning ways four days on from the shock 1-0 Premier League loss at Nottingham Forest.
They next play Leeds at Anfield on Saturday evening, before wrapping up their Group A matches on Tuesday by hosting Napoli, who they are three points behind and lost 4-1 to in their European campaign opener.
Liverpool survived an early scare when Berghuis sent a shot against the post in the third minute having looked certain to score.
The Reds grabbed the lead as Henderson’s excellent pass was met by Salah, who put the ball past Pasveer with a deft touch and they almost doubled the advantage two minutes later when a break ended with Nunez’s shot coming back off the upright.
Shortly after the interval, Nunez, back in the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury, did put the Merseysiders 2-0 up, heading in from Robertson’s corner.
They then swiftly strengthened their grip on proceedings once again with Elliott adding number three, the 19-year-old cracking in his second Champions League goal having been teed up by Salah.
Red for Conte
However Tottenham’s Champions League qualification hopes hang in the balance after they were denied a last-gasp win over Sporting Lisbon by VAR.
Spurs, who had laboured against their Portuguese opponents, thought they had won it – and booked their place in the knockout stages – with the last kick of the game as Harry Kane swept home from close range, but after a lengthy check the England captain was ruled offside and it ended 1-1.
For a long time it looked like Spurs were going to lose as former striker Marcus Edwards, who joined them as an eight-year-old, put Sporting on course for a famous win with his first-half goal.
Rodrigo Bentancur levelled in the 80th minute before the late drama, which saw Tottenham boss Antonio Conte sent off when Kane’s effort was ruled out.
Victory would have assured Spurs of their place in the last 16, but now next week’s trip to Marseille is full of jeopardy, though a draw will be enough to send Conte’s men through and a win would seal their position as Group D winners.
That will not be an easy task considering their abject first-half performance here and the fact they have a poor record away from home in Europe over the last few seasons.
Rangers’ sobering Champions League campaign continued on its downward trajectory with a 3-0 defeat to Napoli in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
A 7-1 loss by Liverpool at Ibrox in their last Group A outing had shocked the Light Blues and their fans and it looked ominous when striker Giovanni Simeone scored twice in the first 16 minutes for the dominant home side.
The second half was more encouraging for the visitors but defender Leo Ostigard headed in a third from a corner in the 80th minute to seal the win and leave the accomplished Serie A leaders with five section wins out of five.
By contrast, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have lost all five games, conceding 19 goals and scoring one, and he will find himself under more pressure.
Last season’s Europa League finalists are out of Europe altogether barring an unlikely thrashing of Ajax in the final game at Ibrox next week.