Gerrard rescue act sees Liverpool close to European qualification
At the Europa League group stage, all that counts are getting the points to see you through to the next round and Liverpool are just one point away from confirming their place in the final 32.
Roy Hodgson after the game claimed that it was Liverpool’s best performance under his management but anyone who watched Napoli dominate the first half, and a lot of the second, may disagree with the Liverpool manager.
At 1-0 down with 15 minutes to go, it was left to Mr Dependable Steven Gerrard to haul his Liverpool side out of a mess that they had created, his hat-trick confirming Liverpool’s place at the top of Group K.
Thanks to the win and a number of top European clubs struggling to qualify for the next stages, Liverpool are now 8/1 to win the Europa League.
Napoli can feel disheartened by the defeat, but Walter Mazzarri knows that had his side played the same way when the two teams met in Italy, Napoli would find themselves in a better position to qualify.
The Italian side next travel to Holland to face Utrecht in a game that will be crucial in seeing one of the sides stake a claim for the second qualifying spot.
Steaua Bucharest sit second in Group K, three points behind Liverpool and they face the English team in Romania in the next round of matches.
A win for Liverpool would confirm their status as the group winners, leaving the other three teams all in contention for the second spot.
With Napoli facing Steaua in Italy, Mazzarri’s side will fancy their chances of qualifying should they beat Utrecht next, but the Dutch team will also harbour ambitions of qualification although they must travel to Anfield in the final round of matches.
Napoli are 50/1 to win the Europa League. See the full UEFA Europa League betting odds here.