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Youthful Liverpool frustrate Napoli

SSC Napoli 0-0 Liverpool FC
Napoli had the better of the chances, with Marek Hamšik's shot cleared off the line, but a young Liverpool side held on to stay clear in Group K.

Youthful Liverpool frustrate Napoli
Youthful Liverpool frustrate Napoli ©UEFA.com

Liverpool FC remain top of UEFA Europa League Group K after holding Napoli SSC to a goalless draw in Italy.

The hosts dominated but a Marek Hamšik chance – the striker's goalbound shot cleared off the line by Paul Konchesky late in the first half – was as close as they came to breaking down Liverpool's young side. Having secured the only win so far in the group against FC Steaua Bucureşti on Matchday 1, Roy Hodgson's side are two points ahead of Napoli and FC Utrecht.

Hodgson deployed a relatively inexperienced side, with Jonjo Shelvey making his European club debut and home-grown talents Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly among those thrown into the raucous atmosphere of a sell-out Stadio San Paolo. Walter Mazzarri's full-strength home side dominated possession and created most of the goalscoring chances. Ezequiel Lavezzi set the tone by firing over and Edinson Cavani tried his luck with an ambitious attempt from inside his own half.

On the stroke of half-time Napoli came closest yet, Konchesky coming to Liverpool's rescue when he blocked Hamšik's effort on the line after Cavani turned Jamie Carragher and cut the ball back from the byline.

The Argentinian striker twice came close himself within the space of five second-half minutes when Lavezzi picked him out after slaloming past four players. Reina was alive to his shot, while Cavani's subsequent header, from Christian Maggio's cross, flew wide.

Liverpool almost caught Napoli cold on 69 minutes, when Milan Jovanović dispossessed Salvatore Aronica and played Ryan Babel in on goal; Morgan De Sanctis pulled off an excellent reaction save. The Napoli rearguard also had to be alive to a shot on the turn from David Ngog, who showed great skill to control Jovanović's cross. An away win would have been harsh on Mazzarri's men, who visit Anfield on 4 November.

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