Liverpool walk on in Europe; Johnny Sexton signs up for two more years

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Liverpool’s Egyptian attacker Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Napoli at Anfield. Photograph: Getty Images

Liverpool’s Egyptian attacker Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Napoli at Anfield. Photograph: Getty Images

Liverpool and Anfield mustered another famous European night as Jurgen Klopp’s team beat Napoli 1-0 to progress to the last-16 of the Champions League. After three away defeats only a 1-0 win or victory by two goals would secure Liverpool’s progression, and Mo Salah’s first half goal proved enough although the Premier League leaders should’ve been a lot more comfortable winners. In the end they were nearly punished for their wastefulness, with Alisson having to pull off a point blank save in injury time. Tottenham made it four English clubs into the last-16 after Lucas Moura’s 75th minute strike gave them a 1-1 draw with a second string Barcelona team. All Spurs had to do was match Inter’s result against PSV on the night, and the Italians only drew 1-1 in Milan. Tonight, José Mourinho’s already qualified Manchester United travel to Valencia. The United boss bristled when asked in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference why he has not been able to get the best out of Paul Pogba, who is expected to be recalled to the team tonight.

In his column this morning (subscriber only), Gordon D’Arcy explains how rugby careers are not shortening, but just starting earlier: “It’s true there won’t be as many 17 season careers – like I had alongside a good few team-mates – but that doesn’t mean the current crop of players won’t live the professional life for 17, 18 years.” World Player of the Year, Johnny Sexton signed up for another two years with Leinster and Ireland yesterday, and in doing so he has likely committed himself to seeing out his career with his native province.

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