Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham would relish the challenge of playing a team like Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Abraham opened the scoring as Chelsea finished their Group H campaign with a 2-1 victory over Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, but Valencia's 1-0 win at Ajax meant the Blues had to settle for second place.

Frank Lampard's side will consequently take on a team that topped their section in the first knockout round.

England international Abraham is keen to test himself somewhere new, with Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barca and RB Leipzig their potential opponents in the last 16.

"This is exciting, very exciting. We're never ones to back down from a challenge. We want to play against the best teams in the world and play in the best stadiums in the world," said Abraham.

"No fear. We're ready for anyone. I would love it if it is playing at the Nou Camp or somewhere I've never played before."

He added: "From our first game in the competition we realised how big it was. It's a massive achievement for us to be through to the last 16.

"And it means the world to me: it's a dream come true to have watched the Champions League as a young kid growing up and now to be playing in it myself.

"But now it's also about knuckling down and focusing on the Premier League until the new year."

Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League, five points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and 17 adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Alisson has challenged Liverpool to sustain the defensive focus that has helped them secure back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since September.

The Champions League holders reached the last 16 on Tuesday thanks to a 2-0 win away to Salzburg, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah scoring the goals.

It was also Liverpool's second clean sheet in a row, following last Saturday's 3-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth, a result that leaves the Reds eight points clear at the top of the table.

Since losing the Community Shield on penalties in August, Klopp's side have only lost once in all competitions - a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in September - but their defence has nonetheless come under scrutiny following a run of 13 matches in which they conceded at least one goal.

However, with the Reds having now recorded consecutive clean sheets for the first time since victories over MK Dons and Sheffield United almost three months ago, Alisson - who played in neither of those September games - is eager to keep that run going.

"It was just a matter of time and of focus," the goalkeeper told Liverpoolfc.com when asked how their defence has improved.

"The last two games, we were focused for the full game. Even if they had chances we were there, the defenders were there, and I was there to help the team.

"We just need to keep going with this focus because we know our quality and we know what we can do on the pitch when we put in our whole intensity.

"You need to do that for 90 minutes – it's hard, we know, but I think we showed we can do this."

Alisson had to make a string of saves in the first half to keep Salzburg at bay before two goals in quick succession after the interval put Liverpool in control.

"In the first half they made our job more difficult with their intensity they put in," he said. "They had chances, of course, but we neutralised them in the chances, I could make the saves.

"I'm happy with the result and happy with what we did on the pitch.

"It was a difficult game for us, but we did very well, everybody playing together and moving together, defending in a good way and attacking in a good way.

"I'm glad about the score, I'm glad about the clean sheet – but the three points were the most important thing we needed."

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw appeared to mock former team-mate Romelu Lukaku after Inter exited the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lukaku's 12th goal of the season for Inter in all competitions was not enough to prevent the Nerazzurri losing 2-1 to a much-changed Barcelona team at San Siro.

The result, combined with Borussia Dortmund's 2-1 win over Slavia Prague, meant Inter finished third in Group F and will therefore drop into the Europa League for the rest of the season.

Shaw was quick to poke fun at Lukaku on social media after the match.

Responding to a post from the striker back in October, showing Lukaku smiling in training with the caption "UCL", the acronym for UEFA Champions League, Shaw said on Tuesday: "Welcome back."

Lukaku, who left United to join Inter for a reported initial fee of €65million in August, could now face his former employers in the last 32 of the Europa League.

United have qualified from their group but must avoid defeat to AZ at Old Trafford on Thursday in order to secure top spot and enter Monday's draw as a seeded team.

If they do not, they could be drawn against Inter if Antonio Conte's side end up as one of the four best teams from the total of eight to drop out of the Champions League.

Inter are presently the third-best of the third-place teams, behind Ajax and Salzburg, with the remaining four groups to be completed on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard backed Carlo Ancelotti to bounce back at the top level after Napoli sacked the experienced Italian on Tuesday.

Ancelotti was dismissed three hours after leading the club to a 4-0 victory over Genk, which confirmed their place in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Poor results in Serie A and rumours of discontent at Stadio San Paolo had placed pressure on the ex-Milan head coach for a number of weeks.

Links to the vacant posts at Everton and Arsenal have already emerged and Blues boss Lampard, who played under Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge, suggested the 60-year-old would have no trouble finding another high-profile position.

"I have huge respect for him, I am very sorry for him," Lampard said after Chelsea's win over Lille.

"I know it was a tough job for him lately. I saw his interview before the game and I thought it was a very typically classy interview in what seemed a very tough time for him. He always handles himself brilliantly.

"I think he can work anywhere in the world at the top level, of course."

Ancelotti is a three-time Champions League winner as a coach and boasts league titles in Italy, Germany, France and England, but his most recent jobs have produced mixed results.

He spent just over 18 months in charge of Napoli and leaves with the club sitting seventh in Serie A.

Former Partenopei player Jorginho said: "I didn't know about it. I'm really sorry. I never met him but I heard a lot of good things about him from my former team-mates.

"They told me he is a great man and manager. I'm sorry for everything that is happening in Napoli. It's a difficult moment for them.

"I hope that they will be back at the top as they were for years until this bad moment. I'm really surprised. I was not expecting Napoli [to have] trouble and I'm sorry, because I'll always love Napoli."

Napoli are expected to name Gennaro Gattuso as Ancelotti's replacement.

Erik ten Hag blamed bad luck for the 1-0 loss to Valencia that ended Ajax's Champions League campaign on Tuesday.

Rodrigo Moreno's 24th-minute goal and Chelsea's 2-1 win over Lille in London condemned last season's semi-finalists to third place in Group H.

Hakim Ziyech squandered a good chance to equalise and Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech made two saves at the death, leaving Ten Hag convinced a "miracle" had taken place in the Spanish side's favour.

Ajax finished with 10 points from six games and are now destined for the Europa League.

"In football you don't always get what you deserve. That's how I summarise this match," Ten Hag said.

"The Spanish press called it a 'miracle' that Valencia qualified, I think they're right. Luck wasn't on our side this Champions League group stage and luck wasn't on our side tonight either.

"Nevertheless, we got 10 points and played some good football. We did that tonight too. But on this big stage we made one mistake that led to the goal.

"After that we did create some chances, but we weren't efficient enough to finish them. Now we're left empty-handed. We did reach our personal goal, to play European football in 2020 too, but we wanted and we should have done that in the Champions League.

"That we're now knocked out is a very big disappointment."

Ten Hag described the setback as a different feeling to the heartbreak of last season, when their thrilling run came to a dramatic end at the hands of Tottenham.

"I do see comparisons with last year, but the feeling is different," he said.

"Last year, being knocked out was much more intense, because we were so close to the final. The league game after that, we could crown ourselves champions. So that explains the difference in emotion.

"But it's very clear that it's a big blow for everybody in the dressing room. Everyone's very disappointed. But we also know that we have a huge league game coming up on Sunday [against AZ]."

Virgil van Dijk believes Liverpool again proved their quality in a 2-0 win over Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Premier League leaders kept their European defence alive thanks to second-half goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah, moving into the last 16 as Group E winners.

Van Dijk felt Jurgen Klopp's side showcased their quality during a tricky away clash.

"I think it says a lot about the quality we have, first of all," the defender told reporters.

"I think it's tough to come here. It's their chance of a lifetime to go through to the knockout stages.

"We knew what to expect, especially in the beginning, it was tough. They're a very good side. They have good players, a lot of pressure on the ball, a lot of hard work, a lot of desire.

"We had to manage that and deal with it and I think we did that pretty well."

The win extended Liverpool's unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions ahead of hosting Watford on Saturday.

Liverpool hold an eight-point lead over Leicester City in the Premier League, but Van Dijk said his side were only concentrating on themselves.

"We're going to think about ourselves, not about the rest. We are not even halfway through," he said.

"For us now it was important to give everything [against Salzburg]. We did that, we go through to the knockout stages and then we'll focus on Watford on the weekend, and after that we go to Qatar [for the FIFA Club World Cup]."

Lucien Favre saluted goalkeeper Roman Burki and the rest of his squad after Borussia Dortmund squeezed through to the Champions League's last 16.

A nerve-jangling 2-1 home win over Slavia Prague and Inter's late loss to Barcelona saw Dortmund finish second in Group F on Tuesday.

Tomas Soucek cancelled out Jadon Sancho's opener before Julian Brandt restored the Bundesliga side's lead just after the hour.

Julian Weigl's subsequent dismissal for two bookable offences led to a tense finale, but Burki brilliantly denied Milan Skoda and Abdulla Yusuf Helal to secure all three points.

"Everyone, without a single exception, played a part in this win," Favre said.

"It was a crazy match. Constant chances. We had to win this game – it's what we were aiming for and we did it, but it was difficult.

"Slavia were very tough as expected. They had drawn their previous games, we hadn't.

"Roman Burki was unbelievable, he was fantastic. But just to reiterate: we achieved this victory together. We created a lot of scoring opportunities and should've been winning more than 1-0.

"We were too open at certain points. It's a win but we need to continue to work hard."

Burki made seven saves in total to confirm Dortmund's place in the knockout rounds at the expense of Inter, who succumbed to an Ansu Fati winner in the 86th minute at San Siro.

"The whole team felt a huge sense of relief after the final whistle," Burki said.

"Hardly anything had filtered through to us. It was only when the spectators were celebrating shortly before the end that we looked at the screen. That gave us an additional boost at that point.

"We're a team, we battled well. It was clear that I could be in for a busy evening. But that's what I'm there for – perhaps today I might even say that I did fairly well."

Bottom-placed Slavia exit the competition without a win but coach Jindrich Trpisovsky was delighted with how his side equipped themselves in Germany.

"My boys gave a performance that was worthy of the Champions League," he said. "I am proud that they showed such a display against Dortmund, who were playing for everything."

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde described Ansu Fati as a "born scorer" after the teenager made history against Inter in the Champions League.

Fati, 17, became the youngest goalscorer in the competition's history, netting a late winner in a 2-1 victory at San Siro on Tuesday.

The attacker has three goals this season and Valverde praised the Spain youth international, whose strike came after Romelu Lukaku had cancelled out Carles Perez's opener in the Group F clash.

"They [Fati and Perez] are two players who have reached the first team this year. Young players, very young in the case of Ansu," Valverde told a news conference, via AS. 

"The game was complicated, especially for Carles Perez because they had an experienced defence and he started, but he has a goal because he hits the ball well. 

"Ansu has been going through some physical difficulty, with some discomfort, but he is a born scorer."

Barcelona had already booked their place in the last 16 and they finished top of the group as Inter were eliminated.

Valverde talked up the importance of the Champions League to the Catalans, who last lifted the trophy in 2015.

"We have a very big obligation with our club and with this competition," he said.

"We have shown that you have to win everywhere and today's game was not going to be an exception."

After criticism earlier in the season, Barcelona top LaLiga and are on a six-match winning run in all competitions.

But Valverde wants to see more from his team, who make the trip to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

"We are fine, but I like to see everything in a more continuous way. At first we had difficulties," he said.

"This group phase has been difficult for us. We suffered to overcome Inter, to win at Slavia [Prague]. But we are here and we have a tremendous challenge with three games in a week and we want to close well."

Memphis Depay lashed out at Lyon supporters after confronting a fan who brandished a banner insulting defender Marcelo following the draw against RB Leipzig.

Lyon edged through to the Champions League's last 16 as goals from Houssem Aouar and star winger Depay completed a second-half fightback, but the achievement was overshadowed by the unsavoury events that followed the final whistle.

An individual crossed the advertising hoarding and unfurled a flag featuring an image of a donkey that read: "Marcelo leave the club".

Depay, the captain, ran over and attempted to rip the banner out of the fan's hands, before he was restrained by team-mate Jason Denayer.

In an emotional post-match interview, he told RMC Sport: "Look at my eyes, what do you see? I am furious, angry. I do not know what to say.

"It was not our best game, but we qualified. The players on the pitch gave everything. We played with our hearts and we qualified.

"It is extremely difficult for us knowing someone on the team has problems with the fans, that he's not supported.

"What do you expect from our team? That we're going to go over and thank them? They say crazy things about someone's family, someone's children. I have no words."

He continued: "Frankly, I have to be a little bit careful. It reminds me of my past. I do not want to be that man any longer. I have matured, I am calmer.

"It has no meaning if we cannot celebrate with the fans after the game. As a team, we trust the player, we trust the fans, but they do not trust the team. It hurts to leave the field like this.

"I ran over to try to remove the banner. Who has time to paint a donkey on a flag? If you have time for that, you really have to do something better with your life.

"If you come to the stadium to support us we appreciate it, but you have to appreciate everyone. They have spat on us, on some staff members, some players. I have never seen anything like this."

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas said he would seek talks with supporters and vowed to "take sanctions".

"I'm focused on the qualification," Aulas added.

"It's a shame some fans wanted to spoil the party. We had a regrettable incident after the match but Memphis showed he is an incredible captain who defends his team-mates."

Benfica midfielder Pizzi felt his side's performances in the Champions League warranted more than a third-place finish in Group G, even if it secured them a spot in the Europa League.

The Portuguese team signed off the group stage with an emphatic 3-0 win over Zenit on Tuesday.

It was a victory which ensured they will play European football next year, albeit in the second-tier competition, courtesy of their superior head-to-head record with Zenit.

However, Pizzi claimed what they showed overall across the campaign should have led to a spot in the last 16, with RB Leipzig and Lyon instead progressing to the next stage.

"I think that we deserved a bit more in this competition," Pizzi told reporters after their triumph over Zenit.

"It was not these last two games that dictated this outcome. In this last game, we could no longer look back. 

"We wanted to play and win this game and that's what we did. We won convincingly."

Pizzi provided the assist for Benfica's opening goal, scored by Franco Cervi, and then found the net himself from the penalty spot.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful season in Europe and has scored in three of his last four Champions League games for Benfica, having failed to score in any of his first 33 appearances in the competition.

"I am in a very good phase. Fortunately, things have gone well," he added.

"I have support from the whole structure at Benfica. Our dressing room is strong and united, we all row for the same side. It's everyone's work that is involved here.

"Once again, I was able to help the team with an assist and a goal, but the most important thing is the team's victory."

Benfica head coach Bruno Lage shared Pizzi's sentiment of frustration that they were not able to progress.

He said: "Could we have gone further? Yes. But we have to come to the games without negative emotions of the past, whatever the competition."

Despite their own lacklustre display, Zenit looked set to qualify for the knockout stage ahead of Lyon, only for an equaliser from Memphis Depay and send the Ligue 1 side through.

The result, combined with their own loss, means Zenit finish at the bottom of the final table.

Head coach Sergei Semak said: "Everyone did know the result of the other match at half-time when RB Leipzig led 2-0 at Lyon. 

"But I don't think it influenced our performance, made them relax or anything. It's all about the mistakes we made on the pitch."

Antonio Conte was rueful regarding Inter's poor finishing in Tuesday's costly 2-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona but insisted he had "no complaints" after elimination from the competition.

Inter needed to at least match Borussia Dortmund's result against Slavia Prague, but the Germans claimed a 2-1 victory and the Nerazzurri did not do enough in San Siro.

Despite early dominance and a flurry of chances, Inter found themselves trailing in the 23rd minute when Carles Perez swept home in composed fashion.

Romelu Lukaku equalised before half-time, but he was otherwise wasteful and Ansu Fati, 17, secured Barca the three points four minutes from time to become the youngest Champions League scorer in history.

Conte acknowledged Inter had enough clear-cut opportunities to beat Barca.

"We had the chances to win the game, we created those opportunities, but lacked that clinical edge to convert them," he told reporters.

"I have no complaints to make, as my players gave their all. We just lacked a goal and instead conceded at the other end to go 2-1 down, which really killed us.

"Watching that Ansu Fati goal is painful, as it killed us in every way. We were pushing, creating the chances to score and go 2-1 up.

"I was also disappointed for the fans in San Siro, as they pushed us from start to finish and created a wonderful atmosphere. It should've ended differently.

"I think we deserved more in this group. Still, I think it's all valuable experience. We wanted to qualify, so there is disappointment from everyone right now, but as I told them, we have to raise our heads again."

Inter finished third in the group, meaning they will drop into the Europa League in the New Year. They will find out their next opponents in Monday's draw.

Rodrigo Moreno labelled Valencia's win over Ajax and progression to the last 16 of the Champions League a "miracle".

The Spain forward scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory in Amsterdam on Tuesday, sending Valencia through from Group H and eliminating last season's semi-finalists.

Rodrigo, whose team held on despite Gabriel's late red card, lauded Valencia's effort.

"We put in such an effort against Chelsea and didn't get the job done, but this side doesn't get tired of working miracles and we've done another tonight," he said, via UEFA.com.

Rodrigo's 24th-minute goal sent Valencia into the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since 2012-13.

The 28-year-old was thrilled for Valencia, who are two-time runners-up in Europe's premier club competition.

"I'm delighted because this side is a big family. I don't have the words to describe my team-mates," Rodrigo said.

"These last three years we've created something special and we're so together.

"We've taken a great club back to where it's not been for a long time."

Frank Lampard has indicated Chelsea will look to sign at least one new attacker in January after having their transfer ban halved.

An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport brought an early end to the original two-window embargo last week, enabling the Blues to become active participants in the transfer market.

An inexperienced squad reached the Champions League last 16 with Tuesday's 2-1 home win over Lille and could now be reinforced.

Chelsea scored 11 times in their six Group H games and have notched a further 31 goals in the Premier League, but head coach Lampard outlined plans to seek a replacement for Eden Hazard.

"I think it will be a bit fluid," Lampard told BT Sport after beating Lille at Stamford Bridge.

"There will be discussions that go on from now about where we can strengthen, because of course with Eden leaving we lost a lot of goals, a lot of creation in his particular position.

"What I'm talking about today is that we missed some chances and I think we can probably look at strengthening and pushing and getting maybe more competition in those areas."

First-half goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta confirmed the club's progression in Europe, although the result was made narrower than it should have been by Loic Remy's belated response in the 78th minute.

The Blues, who finished second in the group behind Valencia, would have slipped into the Europa League had Lille pinched a late equaliser.

Lampard said: "With the youth, we understand those bumps in the road will come, whether individually or collectively.

"I push them a lot, I'm quite tough with them, and I want them to work and improve. But at the same time, you do have to be a bit patient. That's where the balance of the team and the squad is important – the older, more experienced players do help them.

"We have got a good balance but I think today was a strong sign of how much work we have to do. It should have been a game that was finished much earlier.

"It's been a little bit the story of our season at times and that's the biggest thing, for me, we need to improve."

Carles Perez revelled in the fact he and fellow Barcelona academy product Ansu Fati made the difference in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Inter, proving La Masia has not lost relevance.

Barca endured a real tussle with Inter at San Siro, only securing a late win thanks to Fati's 86th-minute strike.

That goal made the 17-year-old the youngest scorer in Champions League history and sealed Inter's fate, as the Serie A side drop down to the Europa League after finishing third in the group.

Perez had opened the scoring with a composed finish, and his thoughts quickly turned to Barca's La Masia after the match, with the famed academy receiving criticism in recent years for a perceived lack of homegrown players reaching the first team.

"It is something incredible that we are both living," Perez told Movistar. "Both Ansu and I are an example for La Masia if you think you can get there [to the first team].

"Barca trust the people of academy and that is the most important thing."

Coach Ernesto Valverde also spoke of the two goal-scorers and was particularly thrilled by Fati's record.

"Carles has the nose for more goals and strikes the ball really nicely," he said. "Ansu is a born scorer and, although he's had some niggling pain, we wanted him to have some minutes.

"That it's a Barca lad who's the youngest ever scorer in this competition delights us."

Barca had already secured top spot in the group and will find out their next opponents in the Champions League during Monday's draw.

The Catalans face Real Sociedad at the weekend before then going head-to-head with bitter rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico on December 18.

Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Napoli despite steering the Serie A club into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.