Lionel Messi was "simply incredible" for Barcelona in their 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund, according to Lucien Favre.

Messi scored and provided two assists as Barca secured top spot in Group F in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Making his 700th appearance for the LaLiga giants, Messi broke a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different team.

Favre, who is under pressure at the helm of Dortmund, was mesmerised by the star's performance.

"He played as a false nine and was simply incredible," he told a news conference.

"He waits really well for the ball and moves very well between the lines. And when he gets the ball, it gets pretty complicated.

"You have to commit a foul in order to stop him. Otherwise it's very, very difficult.

"He is speeding up so fast, his dribbling is so good and then his final pass is also very dangerous."

Dortmund are third in the group, level on points with second-placed Inter, and host Slavia Prague on the final matchday on December 10.

Erling Haaland labelled Liverpool the "world's best team", but feels Salzburg have a chance against the Champions League holders next month.

Haaland continued his goalscoring form in Salzburg's 4-1 win at Genk on Wednesday as they stayed alive in Group E.

Salzburg host European champions Liverpool next month and a 1-0 win would be enough to send them into the last 16.

Haaland, who is up to 27 goals in 19 games this season, believes in his team, although he praised the Premier League leaders.

"They are the world's best team," the striker said, via UEFA.com.

"But we know we are good at home and if we are at our top level, we have a chance."

Haaland became the first teenager in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to score in five straight appearances in the competition thanks to his late goal against Genk.

However, the 19-year-old was unfazed by setting that mark, saying he simply wanted to help his team.

"It's a nice record to have, but I don't really care so much about the records," he told Sky Sport Austria.

"I just care about my team."

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Napoli are "still alive" after their courageous Champions League performance at Anfield earned praise from the club's demanding owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Napoli secured a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Liverpool in the Champions League, taking the lead through Dries Mertens after 21 minutes before conceding a 65th-minute Dejan Lovren leveller on Wednesday.

Amid internal problems at Napoli, head coach Ancelotti told reporters: "I have spoken to the president. He's really pleased. He's thanked the players for their efforts."

De Laurentiis has looked set to impose fines on Napoli's players who deserted a recent training retreat amid a run of disappointing form, and it remains to be seen whether that punishment will proceed.

"We'll have to see over the next couple of days. The president wants to speak with all of the players, so I believe this is a positive sign, absolutely, on everyone's behalf," Ancelotti said.

He added: "I think we're beginning to improve and leave those problems behind.

"We've shown a lot of commitment, hard work and character and personality. I think I've seen that the team's definitely still alive. We could still do better of course, in Serie A in particular."

Napoli sit seventh in Serie A but look like progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League, seeking to avoid defeat in their final Group E game against Genk next month to be sure.

Genk were thrashed 4-1 by Salzburg midweek, and Napoli should have more than enough to fend off the Belgian club back in Naples.

Against Liverpool, Napoli looked defensively sturdy for long stretches and particularly in the first half gave the Champions League holders' backline plenty to do.

Ancelotti said: "I knew we were going to play well, I was convinced against a team like Liverpool. You know you're going to suffer against a team like that, but we know we can create them problems as well.

"So I was certain we'd play well, but just because you play a good game against a team like Liverpool it doesn't mean you get a good result.

"The game wasn't particularly aesthetically pleasing but we were clear-minded, we were solid and our aim wasn't to put in a fantastic performance - our aim was to get through to the next round and we need another point to do that of course."

The veteran coach knows there is light and day between Napoli's performance in Europe and in Serie A.

"It's difficult to put your finger on it; it's difficult to find an explanation," he said. "I think it's perhaps something in the players' minds - a mental thing.

"I think that you need a lot of courage, show a lot of character, personality, show a great mentality. i think this is a team we have where we lose ourselves very quickly but we find ourselves quickly too and that's a good thing."

Mats Hummels said Lionel Messi is the best footballer he has ever seen after the Barcelona superstar ran Borussia Dortmund ragged in the Champions League.

Messi scored once and assisted two others as Barca eased past Dortmund 3-1 and into the last 16 at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

It was a memorable 700th Barca outing for Messi, who set up Luis Suarez for the 29th-minute opener before his team-mate returned the favour four minutes later.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi then teed up substitute Antoine Griezmann with 23 minutes remaining to cap a stellar display, prompting high praise from Dortmund defender Hummels.

"In top form, Messi is the best footballer I have ever seen – period," Hummels, who gave the ball away for Messi's goal, said post-game.

"We were not good enough to beat Barcelona today. We only created three or four real chances."

Hummels added: "It was not a bad game, but not a very good one. Barcelona were excellent though. Messi is always dangerous, of course.

"We had a really bad spell after that first goal, with my bad pass that led to their second goal."

The result left Dortmund third and level on seven points with second-placed Inter heading into the final matchday in Group F.

Dortmund face Slavia Prague on December 10, while Inter welcome group winners Barca to Milan on the same day.

Jurgen Klopp "could not care less" who would win a boxing match between himself and Carlo Ancelotti, as Liverpool's indifferent record against Napoli continued.

The points were shared in a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday after neither Liverpool nor Napoli managed to secure progression into the Champions League knockout stages.

Group E will now go down to the wire, with Champions League holders Liverpool, Napoli and Salzburg all still able to progress to the round of 16.

Napoli seem to have proved something of a bogey team for Liverpool in recent meetings, however, and inflicted the Reds' only defeat of the campaign so far back in September.

Klopp has lost three of his Champions League meetings with Ancelotti, his joint-most against an opposing manager along with Arsene Wenger, and conceded he struggles when going head-to-head with the Italian.

However, Liverpool's manager grew frustrated when asked who he thought would come out on top in the ring.

"I couldn't care less who would win a boxing match," Klopp told a news conference midweek. 

"I am a couple of years younger than Carlo. If we were ever in a boxing match I'd hope I would win but I'm not sure.

"Obviously I struggle when I play Napoli so sorry about that. It's more about how good they are. That's how it is.

"Napoli usually play a different kind of football. Tonight they were defending and counter-attacking. It's not easy. When a team with the quality of Napoli chooses such an approach it makes life difficult. They probably would have changed if we had gone 1-0 up.

"Did I expect Napoli to be like this? Probably yes. Carlo is a smart guy. Napoli might not be in their best moment so you set up rather defensively and try to deny the strengths of the opponent and use your skills on the counter-attack. That's what they did for their goal.

"We spoke on the way to the dugout. And then after the game he wished me luck for the rest of the season and I wished him luck."

Liverpool need only to avoid defeat against Salzburg to seal their place in the next round. However, should they lose – and Napoli beat Genk – the defending champions would be at risk of dropping down to the Europa League.

Lucien Favre reiterated his demand for renewed focus from Jadon Sancho despite the Borussia Dortmund sensation's goalscoring display off the bench against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Sancho was named among the substitutes before coming off the bench in the second half to reduce the deficit in Dortmund's 3-1 defeat to Barca at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Favre dropped Sancho – who was also hauled off in the first half of a 4-0 Klassiker rout at the hands of Bayern Munich earlier this month – for the midweek showdown after telling Sky Sports pre-game: "We need players on the pitch who are focused and ready".

The 19-year-old's axing prompted fresh questions over his future amid growing links to Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

After goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann put the Group F contest beyond reach, Sancho provided a reminder of his immense quality with a fierce 77th-minute strike.

Asked why Sancho was benched post-match, head coach Favre told reports: "I explained it before starting the game.

"I needed very focused players to press and that's why I named that XI."

Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels was also quizzed on England international Sancho and he said: "I don't want to talk about it. He played really well in the second half, was really involved and scored a great goal."

The result leaves Dortmund third and level on seven points with second-placed Inter heading into the final matchday.

Dortmund face Slavia Prague on December 10, while Inter welcome Group F winners Barca to Milan on the same day.

"The last 20 minutes were really good, we scored and could have scored when it was 2-0," Favre, who is under growing pressure at the club, added. "We then are in a one-on-one situation in defence, and that's tough when you are up against Suarez and Messi.

"It's difficult to play here, they have many players who can make the difference. It's a very tricky phase for us at the moment, but I am convinced we can manage to turn things around."

Inter head coach Antonio Conte believes a capacity San Siro crowd can roar his side into the Champions League knockout phase after a thrilling late win over Slavia Prague.

Conte's men clinched a 3-1 win over Slavia on Wednesday to move up to second in Group F, ahead of third-placed Borussia Dortmund on head-to-head record.

Two goals from Lautaro Martinez and one from Romelu Lukaku secured the points for Inter, although they had to wait until late the final nine minutes of the game to seal the win.

Inter know victory over Barcelona – who have already qualified as group winners – in their final fixture on December 10, on home turf, will book their place in the last 16.

Conte told Sky Sport Italia: "The only way to stay alive and give a sense to the final fixture with Barcelona was to win and we did it. 

"We're pleased, as we wanted to be alive and kicking to the final game and that's the situation. Our fate is in our hands.

"Now it's going to be a tough match, but we can count on 70,000 people who will push us on at San Siro. We were much more of a team against Slavia."

Conte felt the blossoming strike partnership between Martinez and Lukaku was instrumental in the victory but believes the pair have not yet shown their full potential.

He added: "The strikers were decisive and I am very happy for them. They fought it out physically with the Slavia players, which they had struggled to do last time.

"We are talking about two players who are not yet complete. Lukaku has a lot of potential, he still needs to be encouraged. Lautaro is only 22 years old. 

"But after four months we see the difference. Players in general are stronger, they are growing clearly."

Martinez's brace took his tally to five goals in this season's Champions League as he scored for the fourth game in succession, while Lukaku's strike was his first in the competition for Inter.

Although he is leading the European goalscoring charts Martinez says neither he nor Lukaku are concerned with individual totals.

"I always say it doesn't matter who scores, as long as the team gets the goal and wins," he said.

"We work every day to help create that unity off the field and on it. Romelu is a great guy and we really get along, we both care more about the team than our own goals.

"We made a lot of progress since the Borussia Dortmund game, where we dominated the first half and fell away. 

"We're proving that we can have our say in this Champions League and believe we can reach the Round of 16.”

Ernesto Valverde praised the "amazing" Lionel Messi after the star led Barcelona past Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Messi scored and provided two assists in his 700th game for Barcelona, who secured top spot in Group F thanks to a 3-1 victory at Camp Nou.

While Messi and Luis Suarez combined for the first two goals, the former then set up Antoine Griezmann in the second half.

Valverde praised Messi, who broke a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different opponent, for his performance.

"Luis and Leo understand each other perfectly because they have been together for a long time. At first it wasn't like that," the Barcelona coach said, via AS.

"Messi is an extraordinary passer and Griezmann was unmarked as well. You just have to find the timing.

"And of Leo's match, what am I going to say? It was amazing. It is not only what he does, but when he does it."

Griezmann started on the bench but was needed in the first half, when Ousmane Dembele came off with a thigh injury.

Valverde was disappointed for the France international, who has battled numerous injuries since his move to Barca from Dortmund in 2017.

"I don't know if it's a relapse or what leg it is. It has been a rare move because it has been in a jump, in which the leg has gone backwards. I don't know," he said.

"Right now we are sad for him because we are qualified but the bad news is the injury.

"We know he is suffering and we will see if we can help him."

Marco Reus said Borussia Dortmund are lacking both luck and confidence following a Champions League loss at Barcelona.

Dortmund slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Camp Nou on Wednesday with Lionel Messi providing two assists, scoring and hitting the crossbar in a superb showing on his 700th appearance for Barca.

Although Jadon Sancho inspired Dortmund from the bench after his half-time arrival, scoring once and forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen to turn a drive onto the crossbar, Dortmund are without a win in three games in all competitions.

They have conceded 10 times during that run to pile the pressure on under-fire coach Lucien Favre with Reus accepting Dortmund, who now need help from elsewhere to qualify for the last 16, are struggling.

"We knew what we were up against," Reus said.

"We moved the ball well enough, but had problems with penetration in the final third.

"If we lose the ball there, we have to be braver when pressing and do so with more energy.

"Currently things are not going in the right direction for us. We are lacking some good luck as well. 

"It is always our goal to win a game, but I have to admit we are not full of confidence."

Dortmund are at home to Slavia Prague on matchday six next month but will not qualify if Inter beat Barca at San Siro.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis hailed the Partenopei's performance against Liverpool, claiming it proved the team's doubters wrong.

Several Napoli players have reportedly been handed heavy fines after they refused to attend a training camp organised by De Laurentiis, and Carlo Ancelotti's side headed into Wednesday's meeting at Anfield without a win in six matches in all competitions.

Although that run was extended to seven games with a 1-1 Champions League draw, De Laurentiis believes there can be no doubting the players' commitment.

Napoli inflicted Liverpool's only defeat since the Community Shield in their opening group-stage match, and now the president has called on the team to show the same levels in every match they play.

"With Ancelotti and this team, we earned two wins and a draw against the [European] champions Liverpool," De Laurentiis tweeted.

"So much for those who try to do us down and say players don't perform because of contracts that haven’t been renewed, let this game be the definitive response.

"Well done to the coach and to our players. Now everyone get their heads down and work hard, try to consider every game coming up as if it was against Liverpool.

"We mustn't talk today about the disciplinary action the club is taking with the players. We'll resolve these matters ourselves without external pressure or influence."

The draw leaves Napoli second, with a win against Genk in their final Group E outing enough to guarantee progression and possibly first place, depending on how Liverpool fare at Salzburg.

A draw against Genk could also be enough for Ancelotti's men.

Ajax and Morocco favourite Hakim Ziyech does not believe the arm injury he sustained during the closing stages of Wednesday's 2-0 win over Lille is serious.

Erik ten Hag's side moved to the top of Champions League Group H with a match to play after a superb display at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, where Ziyech crowned a brilliant team move to open the scoring inside two minutes.

He turned provider with an inch-perfect cross to set up Quincy Promes after half-time and also had a goal disallowed for handball after a VAR review.

That incident appeared to discomfort Ziyech before he made way in the 85th minute, but the 26-year-old offered an upbeat assessment when he spoke to Veronica TV after the match.

"My arm is still sore and is difficult to lift it up. I'll just have to see how it goes," he said.

"I banged it into the defender, and I also got the ball smashed into it, but it should be okay."

On Ajax's performance, Ziyech added: "What a great start, because our first attack resulted in a goal. But after that we got a bit sloppy.

"They were playing a long-ball game, and their centre forward was causing us some problems.

"But they only had a couple of big chances and otherwise we controlled the game. We definitely deserved to win.

"I know where Quincy is going, and I try to put in crosses that are impossible to defend against. And his finish was also fantastic.

"We know each other so well. We don't even need to talk to each other on the pitch. We'll go out to win the final game, that's why we play football."

Qualification is now firmly in Ajax's hands when they host Valencia next month, the Eredivisie leaders boasting 10 points to the LaLiga outfit's eight.

Los Che battled to a thrilling 2-2 draw against Chelsea - who are also on eight points and next face a Lille side with only pride to play for.

"Unfortunately we didn't score when we were on top," said Lille head coach Christophe Galtier, who saw Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone miss glorious chances either side of half-time.   

"In all five games, we've lacked a clinical streak and in this beautiful but cruel competition we were punished for it."

Those openings were noted as a cause for concern by Ajax boss Ten Hag.

"We defended rather well but we gave them too many chances by allowing them too much space in which to play," he said, as quoted by UEFA.com.

"It's something we still need to work on. Otherwise, it was a fully deserved win. We scored two great goals and could have had more.

"The win reflects our domination, even though our opponents had opportunities, which is normal at this level. We were almost perfect tactically."

Imagine turning up to Liverpool with nothing to say. Arriving in this great city of song with barely a chirrup. Well, it didn't take Napoli long to find their voice.

Speaking words of wisdom? Certainly not in the run-up to this game. Having found themselves in times of trouble, Napoli's touchy owner Aurelio De Laurentiis slapped a gag on his team.

Three weeks have passed since a Naples rebellion, when the squad en masse figured that being ordered by De Laurentiis to check in for a week-long isolated retreat at short notice amid a slump in form did not exactly tally with their own plans and did what could be reasonably termed 'a runner'.

Already disheartened, the week in camp was considered less the salve to their sorrow and more a firework detonated over an open wound.

The revolt looks set to cost Napoli's players millions of euros, with the sledgehammer diktat of De Laurentiis decreeing, according to whispers and leaks, that each player will forfeit a quarter of their month's salary. Sky Italia reported some were told only hours before kick-off at Anfield. Further reports say Napoli have fined midfielder Allan and captain Lorenzo Insigne 50 per cent of their November wad.

Forced into their shells, the one player who broke a gagging order on international duty, Eljif Elmas, was carpeted in a terse club statement - called out for spouting positively about the prospects of Carlo Ancelotti's team chasing a top-two Serie A finish. Perhaps De Laurentiis assumed it sarcastic, given seventh-placed Napoli have looked entirely incapable of scaling those heights.

Under apparent duress, Napoli boss Ancelotti obliged the UEFA paymasters with some cursory words in a pre-match press conference, but ostensibly he said nothing. The "all-time great", as Jurgen Klopp described Ancelotti in his programme notes, could not afford to be anything but the puppet of his boss, toeing the party line. One foot out of line and Ancelotti risks being put on permanent retreat.

Maybe, then, this was the night Napoli needed, not quite the Anfield smash-and-grab triumph but a match with a deep sense of occasion where they reminded many, perhaps themselves, of their qualities. It was resilience they were relying on at the end, a 1-1 result rewarding their labour. Wonder what the draw bonus pays…

Napoli supporters, in the absence of meaningful explanations from the club, have wondered who to direct their ire towards: should it be De Laurentiis, Ancelotti, or the players who, whatever else might be happening, have continued to flounder on the pitch, draws with Genoa and a Milan side battling their own crisis of confidence telling a story.

However, Liverpool were ponderous early on and there was no lack of belief on show when Dries Mertens followed a little playground tussling with Virgil van Dijk by sprinting behind the home backline to finish sublimely in the 21st minute, Napoli’s players displayed the delight of a team that actually care, much as their owner may have doubts.

The travelling Neapolitans in the stands, primed to castigate, were instead castling the men in blue and white.

De Laurentiis may be a luminary of modern Italian cinema, a highly prolific producer: his film factory pumps out movies more rapidly than Liverpool used to accumulate trophies, even if some might barely match the heft of a Milk Cup.

But being cast in a drama of his own has seen him tear up the plot and attempt to write one of his own.

Winning at Anfield would have added an unforeseen chapter to this season's chaotic story, and the hyper-animated Klopp, booked before half-time for one gesture of incredulity too many, was on a personal mission to change the flow, own the script.

A telling substitution saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain take over from Joe Gomez, with Jordan Henderson dropping to a right wing-back role to allow the former Arsenal man to find pockets of space further forward.

Napoli, thinking they had Liverpool's front three well watched, suddenly had an extra attacker to think about. The giant awoke. And how it roared in the 65th minute when Dejan Lovren's header from James Milner's corner rippled the left corner of Alex Meret's net.

Meret had already dropped one cross at the foot of Roberto Firmino, whose shot was hooked off the line. But as much as Liverpool pressed in the closing minutes, they could not break down the Italians again.

The sight of Andy Robertson steaming into a late challenge showed both sides were up for the scrap. It also showed Liverpool had met their match in a team we thought were in crisis. Appropriately, tonight, Napoli walked through their storm. They rattled the European champions. For the first time in a while, they could hold their heads up high.

Fabinho was left in pain with an injury as Liverpool drew 1-1 at home to Napoli in the Champions League, says manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Brazil international was hurt in the 14th minute at Anfield on Wednesday, needing treatment after he collided with Napoli forward Hirving Lozano.

Fabinho was substituted after initially trying to play on, and Klopp indicated the midfielder will need tests to examine the extent of his injury.

"I don't know. He has pain, so that's not good," Klopp told a news conference. "He couldn't continue, and he is a really hard one.

"I don't want to say what I expect, because I hope that it is not that serious, but we will know more maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after. We will see."

Liverpool missed the chance to secure a place in the next round of the Champions League, coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw thanks to Dejan Lovren's header.

The Premier League leaders are at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Five Napoli fans were arrested amid disorder outside Anfield ahead of Wednesday's Champions League game against Liverpool, Merseyside Police confirmed.

A statement from the force said three Napoli supporters were arrested for violent disorder and another for affray, with a fifth arrested for breach of the peace at the turnstiles on Anfield Road.

Earlier in the day, Merseyside Police said a number of flags attached to flag poles were confiscated from supporters following reports fans had been seen carrying golf clubs.

"No golf clubs have been found," said a statement from the force posted to social media.

Last year, Liverpool fan Sean Cox was hospitalised after he was stabbed amid disorder outside Anfield ahead of a Champions League tie against Roma.

Simone Mastrelli pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three and a half years after Cox sustained serious head injuries in the attack.

Rudi Garcia rued Lyon allowing their Champions League fate to slip from their grasp with a 2-0 defeat at Zenit.

Lyon controlled the action in St Petersburg for long periods but lacked cutting edge in the injury absence of star attacker Memphis Depay.

Zenit's imposing centre-forward Artem Dzyuba headed the hosts into a 42nd-minute lead and Magomed Ozdoev's deflected strike six minutes from time made the points safe.

The result leaves Lyon level with Zenit on seven points heading into the final matchweek, knowing they must better the Russian Premier League champions' result next time out to finish above them.

"We owed it to ourselves to do better," Garcia told reporters.

"We needed at least a draw to keep matters in our own hands when it comes to qualifying.

"We conceded two goals when we sat back. We would have done better pressing higher up the pitch and creating more chances."

Group leaders RB Leipzig have already qualified and are up next for Lyon, while Zenit travel to Benfica – a Europa League berth now the best the Portuguese giants can hope for.

Sergei Semak oversaw back-to-back defeats against Leipzig and knows his men have room for improvement.

"What I didn't like was the first part of the second half when we were too passive," the Zenit head coach said.

"Apart from that we did what was needed and deserved to win. But as you saw, there are certain aspects we have to work on."

Dzyuba could not resist poking a little fun at Zenit's domestic rivals Lokomotiv Moscow being knocked out of the Champions League following their defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

"It was sad to see Lokomotiv eliminated last night but we'll try to go as far as possible – I can promise that," he told UEFA.com.

"It was tough under pressure from Lyon in the second half. But we were quite good and Misha Kerzhakov, especially, had a great game in goal."

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