Napoli 0 - 0 Liverpool: Roy Hodgson gets a return on gamble with fighting draw

Napoli 0Liverpool 0

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson's gamble in leaving at home a handful of his senior players – including Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard – paid off in some respect as his side claimed a well-earned Europa League draw against Napoli.

Many tipped the hopelessly out-of-form Reds for defeat after bringing a weakened side, but they withstood long spells of pressure to leave with a point.

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The closest they came to conceding was in first-half added time when Paul Konchesky cleared Marek Hamsik's shot off the line in the nick of time, while Ryan Babel could have snatched victory with 20 minutes to go but shot too close to goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis.

At least this performance showed some grit and determination and keeps Liverpool on course for progress to the knockout phase as they have taken five points from their three group matches, and have home games against Utrecht and Napoli.

"There were plenty of positives to come from the game," said Hodgson.

"It was a good point which many people didn't think we would get."

Hodgson added that he intends to enjoy a long spell at Liverpool, and rubbished speculation he could stand down after the difficult start to his reign.I have heard the ridiculous rumours about me resigning. I can tell you there is not an iota of truth in any of them," he said, according to "The simple truth is that I have never considered resigning, and I never will."

The visitors did a good job of negating all that early fervour with a disciplined, solid start Napoli were starting to take control but Lavezzi's strike flew well over Jose Reina's crossbar.

But Liverpool had a lucky escape in first-half stoppage time with a controversial incident which will again bring up the issue of goal-line technology.Maggio's corner fell to Cavani who beat Jamie Carragher and fired in a low cross which Hamsik diverted goalwards and it was unclear whether the ball had crossed the line before Konchesky cleared.

Carragher was replaced for the second half by Sotirios Kyrgiakos as Napoli seized the initiative again.

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Napoli continued to press but Babel should have snatched the lead with the best chance of the night when he was played through by Jovanovic in acres of space on the left of the penalty area. The Holland international opted to shoot right-footed across De Sanctis but placed his effort too close to the goalkeeper, who saved with his feet.

Ngog also went close when he turned in the area only for his shot to be charged down.

Napoli: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Pazienza, Gargano, Dossena, Hamsik, Lavezzi, Cavani. Subs: Iezzo, Grava, Dumitru, Zuniga, Yebda, Cribari, Sosa.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky, Jovanovic, Poulsen, Spearing, Babel, Shelvey, Ngog. Subs: Jones, Aurelio, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Wilson, Eccleston.

Referee: T Kinhofer

Attendance: 55,489