Jurgen Klopp has been hailed as the world's best coach by Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch, whose side are preparing to face Liverpool in a crunch Champions League clash.

Liverpool hold an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League after 15 games, having missed out on the title by one point last season.

That disappointment was tempered by victory in the Champions League, as the Reds claimed their sixth European Cup title.

However, Liverpool could miss out on the last 16 of this season's competition if they slip to a defeat against Salzburg – who, spearheaded by Erling Braut Haaland, have impressed in Group E.

Former United States midfielder Marsch, who was an assistant at RB Leipzig last season following spells of coaching in MLS, took over at Austrian champions Salzburg in June.

Salzburg currently lead the way in the Austrian Bundesliga, and Marsch has lauded Klopp as world football's leading coach.

"Jurgen Klopp is probably the best coach in the world right now," Marsch told Omnisport.

"I think you can fairly say that from the way his team is performing and the history he has in the game, and the way that he's had success in Germany and England.

"Trying to match up against his team is not so easy for us, especially when you talk about the talent that he has on the pitch. So what? We're going to play the game and it's going to be more about the two teams than it is about the two coaches.

"For me, it would not mean anything more to beat Klopp, it would mean a lot more for our team to be successful against this team, against Liverpool, against his team.

"That's the focus. I don't get too much into ego-driven, personal relationships. It's always going to be about our team and how good is our team on the day and how prepared are they."

Liverpool will be without Fabinho for Tuesday's encounter, with the midfielder having suffered an injury against Napoli which will keep him out until 2020.

Marsch, however, insists Liverpool will be no easier to play against.

"For me, Fabinho is one of their most important players. His ability to control the game with and without the ball and understand moments of the game is what makes them partly so good," Marsch said.

"But they've played without him a lot. They played without him last year in the Champions League. So they've been in this situation before without Fabinho.

"They have so many good, quality experienced players that I don't expect them to miss him too much, but he's certainly a key player for them."

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."

Erling Haaland became just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances with his goal in Salzburg's rout of Genk on Wednesday.

Haaland has taken the Champions League by storm this season, with the 19-year-old Norwegian's 87th-minute strike in the 4-1 victory over Genk taking his tally to eight goals in just five games.

The in-demand Salzburg star joins former Juventus attacker Alessandro Del Piero and Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa as the only players to score in their first five matches in Europe's premier club competition.

Haaland – who has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League giants Manchester United – earlier had a goal ruled out for a perceived foul on a defender, although the judgement looked harsh.

Salzburg's Group E win in Belgium means the Austrian club face Champions League holders Liverpool on December 10 knowing three points will give them a chance of reaching the last 16.

Salzburg cruised past Genk 4-1 on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Jesse Marsch's side did not hit the heights of the 6-2 thumping of their Belgian opponents in September but they scarcely needed to get out of second gear against Hannes Wolf's limited outfit.

Patson Daka – who had earlier missed a glaring opportunity – put the Austrian side ahead after 43 minutes before Takumi Minamino doubled their advantage just 98 seconds later.

The impressive Hwang Hee-chan added a third in the second half before Mbwana Samatta headed in a consolation five minutes from time. 

Erling Haaland added a final flourish for Salzburg, though, to ensure they go into their clash with Liverpool on December 10 knowing they will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Jurgen Klopp's side.

Daka was guilty of a glaring miss 10 minutes before the interval, blazing over from eight yards after being teed up by Hwang's clever backheel.

He made up for that two minutes before the interval, though, by bundling home after Gaetan Coucke had failed to hold onto Dominik Szoboszlai's half-volley from long range.

The hosts' misery was compounded just two minutes later when Minamino lashed home from 15 yards after being picked out inside the penalty area by Enock Mwepu.

Genk came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit shortly after the hour mark but Sebastien Dewaest's header from a corner crashed back off Carlos' right-hand post.

Any hopes of a grandstand finale were extinguished in the 69th minute when Hwang slotted home from substitute Haaland's low cross.

Haaland bizarrely had a goal ruled out for a perceived foul before Samatta nodded in from close range after Carlos had failed to hold a tame shot from distance.

Teenage Norwegian Haaland did get on the scoresheet to keep up his record of scoring in every Champions League game this season three minutes from time, with Salzburg's attention now turning to that clash with the Premier League leaders in two weeks.

 

What does it mean? Salzburg take it to the final matchday

It is testament to the job that Marsch has done at Salzburg that his side will take on Liverpool in two weeks knowing a win will see them progress to the last 16.

If that happens and Napoli beat Genk – which would be expected after this woeful display from the Belgian side – then the reigning champions would be knocked out.

Haaland belatedly makes his mark

Haaland was a surprise absence from the starting XI and he certainly made up for lost time after his introduction. He created a goal, had one disallowed and then struck late on to become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances, joining Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Costa in that illustrious group.

Coucke gift wraps opener for Salzburg

Genk's capitulation before the interval was kick-started by some woeful goalkeeping from Coucke. Szoboszlai's shot should have been gathered with the minimum of fuss but the Genk goalkeeper fumbled it right into the path of Daka, who could scarcely believe his luck.

What's next?

Genk are in domestic action on Saturday against Sint-Truiden before concluding their Champions League campaign against Napoli on December 10. Salzburg, meanwhile, face Admira in the Bundesliga on Sunday before that crunch clash with Liverpool in a fortnight.

Lionel Messi is bidding to score at home in the Champions League for the first time this season as Barcelona take on Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentina international fired his latest blank in the 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague three weeks ago, leaving his side with work to do if they are to progress to the last 16.

Barca will be through if they beat Dortmund or if they draw and Inter fall to defeat at Slavia in the other Group F contest taking place on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, holders Liverpool host Napoli at Anfield aiming to avenge a 2-0 defeat from the reverse fixture, while Chelsea will reach the knockout stages with victory against Valencia.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's eight matches.

Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund

12 - Barcelona forward Messi scored with his last shot at Camp Nou in the 2018-19 Champions League season. He has attempted 12 without success this term, failing to score in both home matches. Should he not to score in this game, it would be first time since October 2011 he has failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive home games in the competition (a run of four).

4 - Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi has scored four Champions League goals this season – only one Moroccan player has ever netted more in a single campaign, with Marouane Chamakh scoring five for Bordeaux in the 2009-10 campaign.

Slavia Prague v Inter

3,119 - Slavia Prague have given 3,119 minutes to Czech players in the Champions League this season – the most by players of the nation of the club they are representing in the competition this campaign.

3 - Lautaro Martinez has scored in his last three Champions League appearances for Inter. He could become the fifth Argentinian to score in four consecutively, after Hernan Crespo (2002), Lionel Messi (six occasions), Sergio Aguero (2019) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (2013).

Liverpool v Napoli

2 - Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in his last two Champions League appearances – the only Englishman to score in three consecutive matches for the Reds is Steven Gerrard (five in a row in 2007-08).

3 - Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti was the last manager to win an away Champions League match at Anfield, leading Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory in October 2014. No coach has won more away Champions League games in England than Ancelotti (three – level with Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri).

Genk v Salzburg

0 - Genk remain winless in all 16 of their Champions League matches (W0 D8 L8). It is the fifth longest winless run in the competition's history and the longest since December 2017 (Maribor – 17 matches).

5 - Salzburg striker Erling Haaland will become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances if he scores in this match. The two to do so are Alessandro Del Piero (1995, Juventus) and Diego Costa (2013-14, Atletico Madrid).

Valencia v Chelsea

3 - Valencia have won three of their last four home Champions League games (W3 D0 L1), having lost four of their previous five (W1 D0 L4).

14 - Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has had more shots than any other Chelsea player in the Champions League this season (14). However, he has found the net with just one of those shots and has scored as many own goals as he has goals (one).

Lille v Ajax

10 - Lille are winless in 10 home Champions League matches (W0 D4 L6). Only two teams have ever had longer home winless runs – Spartak Moscow (11 between 2001 and 2006) and Steaua Bucharest (13 between 1996 and 2013).

10 - Ajax's Hakim Ziyech has been involved in 10 goals in his last 12 Champions League appearances (four goals, six assists). The Moroccan has either scored or assisted in each of his last six away games in the competition (two goals, five assists).

RB Leipzig v Benfica

30 - RB Leipzig are one of only two teams yet to give a single minute to a player aged 30+ in the Champions League this season, along with Genk. In his 10 games as coach in the competition, Julian Nagelsmann has only used one player aged 30 or older – Hungarian striker Adam Szalai for Hoffenheim last season.

10 - Benfica have lost all 10 of their away matches in Germany in the European Cup/Champions League, facing six different teams without success.

Zenit v Lyon 

2 - Zenit have lost two of their last three home European matches (excluding qualifiers) – one more than they had lost in their previous 21 home games (W18 D2 L1).

4 - Lyon's Memphis Depay has scored in all four Champions League matches this season. No Lyon player has ever scored in five consecutive appearances, while only three Dutchmen have scored in five or more – Roy Makaay (2002), Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002, 2003 and 2007) and Arjen Robben (2013).

Paul Pogba has decided where he wants his next move to be, while Mauricio Pochettino is nearing a Tottenham exit.

Pogba, 26, was linked with a Manchester United departure during the close season but ended up staying at Old Trafford.

However, the France midfielder's future remains a talking point.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA PREFERS JUVENTUS RETURN OVER MADRID MOVE

Pogba would prefer to return to Juventus but would not say no to Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

The Serie A champions and LaLiga giants were the two clubs most heavily linked with a move for Pogba – who is contracted until 2021 – during the close season.

A potential Juve deal for Pogba could see Mario Mandzukic head to Manchester United, the report says.

ROUND-UP

- Pochettino has held "crisis talks" with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as he nears an exit, according to The Telegraph. Spurs have struggled this season and sit 14th in the Premier League table through 12 games.

- While Mandzukic is wanted by United, Borussia Dortmund are ready to compete for the striker, according to Kicker. Mandzukic starred during two seasons with Bayern Munich before leaving the Bundesliga in 2014.

- Spain have offered Luis Enrique a chance to lead the nation at Euro 2020, according to AS. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have called a news conference for Tuesday, with Luis Enrique reportedly set to replace Robert Moreno at the helm.

- Manchester United are preparing to try to sign both Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and RB Salzburg's Erling Haaland in January, according to Goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to try and strengthen his squad with United nine points adrift of the top four in the Premier League.

- Chelsea attacker Willian and Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz have slowed contract talks with their respective clubs amid interest from Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo. Willian is out of contract at season's end, while Fabian's deal runs until 2023.

- Manchester City are considering making a move for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, according to the Mirror. The Premier League champions lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee injury in September and may look to strengthen, although the Frenchman is expected to be back in early 2020.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid keen to strengthen their defences, one Inter star is attracting interest.

Milan Skriniar is reportedly wanted by LaLiga champions Barca and Spanish rivals Madrid.

Will Inter be able to retain the centre-back?

 

TOP STORY – SKRINIAR WANTED BY LALIGA GIANTS

Barcelona and Real Madrid have set their sights on Inter defender Skriniar, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Skriniar – contracted to Inter until June 2023 – has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since moving to Milan from Sampdoria in 2017.

The likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked to the 24-year-old Slovakia international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are desperate to strengthen their squad and ESPN claims the Premier League side have an eight-man shortlist, which includes Leicester City's James Maddison, Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Salzburg's goalscoring machine Erling Haaland, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, as well as Aston Villa pair Jack Grealish and John McGinn.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are monitoring Sporting CP's Matheus Pereira, who is on loan at Championship outfit West Brom. It comes as The Sun reports the Red Devils could sign Gareth Bale and send Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.

- Bild says Borussia Monchengladbach have no plans to sell midfielder Denis Zakaria in January. Zakaria has reportedly attracted interest from United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others.

Manchester City are circling Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi, according to Calciomercato. Sensi moved to Inter on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo and the 24-year-old has starred at San Siro.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are looking at Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri amid their injury crisis in Turin.

- Brescia sensation and Italy international Sandro Tonali is being chased by Serie A champions Juve and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, reports Corriere di Torino.

Manchester United have hatched a plan that could help bring Erling Haaland to Old Trafford.

The Premier League side are reportedly contemplating a compromise that will curry favour with Salzburg, the young star's present employers.

Considered the favourites in that chase, United also appear set to jump the queue for another of Europe's most admired teenage talents.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WILLING TO WAIT FOR HAALAND

Manchester United are prepared to consider loaning Erling Haaland straight back to Salzburg if a deal can be struck in January, such is their determination to land the sought-after striker.

According to ESPN, United could allow Haaland to stay in Austria until the end of the season in an attempt to defuse a potential bidding war.

Spanish newspaper AS suggest the Red Devils are "pushing the hardest" for the 19-year-old, who has been valued at €100million – a figure that might price even Real Madrid out of the market.

 

ROUND-UP

United are unlikely to stop at Haaland when the transfer window reopens. The club are weighing up whether to bring forward a planned end-of-season approach for Jadon Sancho in order to capitalise on uncertainty over the winger's Borussia Dortmund future, reports The Guardian.

Juventus are becoming concerned about the increasing level of interest from Spain and England in highly rated Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions could be forced to make a move sooner rather than later as his suitors gain in number and his price tag rises above €40m.

- That sum, Calciomercato claims, is the minimum Juve will demand for out-of-favour defenders Daniele Rugani and Merih Demiral. Both players have been linked to Arsenal.

Boca Juniors are eyeing another showpiece signing. Argentina-based football journalist Martin Castilla told CNN Deportes the South American giants are keen on luring Luis Suarez away from Barcelona. San Lorenzo vice-president Marcelo Tinelli expressed interest in the 32-year-old earlier in the week.

- Returning to Serie A and it looks like Wojciech Szczesny will be staying in Turin. Sky Sport Italia reporter Gianluca Di Marzio says the Polish goalkeeper has agreed a contract extension with Juve through to 2024.

Lionel Messi has earned his first inclusion in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week this season following his stunning hat-trick in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo.

Barca – who went into the game having not won either of their previous two matches – appeared to be in a spot of bother on Saturday when Lucas Olaza cancelled out Messi's penalty.

But two stunning free-kicks either side of the break lifted a generally sloppy Barca and Sergio Busquets completed the scoring late on.

Messi is joined in the TOTW's attack by arguably Europe's deadliest striker in Robert Lewandowski, whose brace in the 4-0 crushing of his former club – and Bayern Munich's bitter rivals – Borussia Dortmund took him to a remarkable 16 Bundesliga goals from 11 matches.

Salzburg hotshot Erling Haaland is enjoying a similarly incredible campaign. The Norwegian youngster netted hat-trick number five of the season at the weekend, but he only takes a place among the substitutes.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is now up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) – 87

RB: Ander Capa (Athletic Bilbao) – 82

LB: Alex Telles (Porto) – 86

LB: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) – 86

RB: Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) – 84

CM: Nicolo Barella (Inter) – 83

CDM: Donny van de Beek (Ajax) – 84

LW: Dimitri Payet (Marseille) – 84

CAM: Radja Nainggolan (Cagliari) – 86

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 91

RW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 95

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ben Foster (Watford) – 83

CB: Sergiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk) – 81

LM: Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb) – 82

LM: Denis Bouanga (Saint-Etienne) – 81

RW: Patrick Herrmann (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

ST: Erling Haaland (Salzburg) – 82

ST: Rouwen Hennings (Fortuna Dusseldorf) – 80

RESERVES

CF: Henry Martin (Club America) – 80

LM: Victor Rodriguez (Seattle Sounders) – 79

RWB: Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin) – 79

ST: Cyriel Dessers (Heracles) – 76

ST: Christian Doidge (Hibernian) – 75

AC Milan are desperate to add some firepower, but the Serie A side may not be opting for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic, 38, has been linked with a return to San Siro as the superstar prepares to leave LA Galaxy at the end of his contract.

However, Milan are considering their options.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN LOOK ELSEWHERE AMID IBRAHIMOVIC LINKS

AC Milan are eyeing Napoli star Dries Mertens and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, according to Tuttosport.

Stefano Pioli's men are struggling in 14th in Serie A, having scored just 11 goals in 12 league games.

Krzysztof Piatek is Milan's leading goalscorer in the league, but he has managed just three in 12.

The report says Ibrahimovic remains an option in the background.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus stars are expecting an apology from Cristiano Ronaldo after his outburst on Sunday, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Ronaldo reportedly left the stadium after being substituted in the second half of Juve's 1-0 win over Milan.

- Expect movement at Barcelona in January. Sport reports the LaLiga champions could sell Ivan Rakitic, Carles Alena and Moussa Wague without making any additions. Meanwhile, ESPN FC says Barcelona consider €100million too high a price to pay for Salzburg star Erling Haaland.

- Dani Olmo is still attracting interest from Europe's biggest clubs. CalcioMercato reports the Spanish attacker is ready to leave Dinamo Zagreb, who want €40m amid interest from Manchester City, AC Milan and Roma.

- Amid a lack of playing time at Real Madrid, Brahim Diaz and Mariano have been offered to Espanyol, according to Sport. Brahim has played just 18 LaLiga minutes this season, while Mariano is yet to feature in 2019-20.

- Andrea Belotti is set to re-sign with Torino. The striker – who has scored seven goals in 12 Serie A games this season – will get higher wages and a release clause of €100m, which will apply only for foreign clubs, according to CalcioMercato.

- Inter want to make as many as three signings in January, according to Tuttosport. Second in the Serie A table, one of those additions is set to depend on how much Inter bring in from the sale of Gabriel Barbosa – the forward is on loan at Flamengo.

In-demand Salzburg striker Erling Haaland has ambitions to play in the Premier League, according to his father.

Former Leeds United and Manchester City defender Alf-Inge Haaland confirmed his teenage son, one of Europe's most sought-after young players, would like to play in England at some point in his career.

Serie A champions Juventus have been linked to the 19-year-old, as have LaLiga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The younger Haaland has scored seven goals in four Champions League appearances in what is his first full season with Salzburg.

While expecting his Leeds-born son to follow in his Premier League footsteps, Alf-Inge suggested the path he took would have no sway over Erling's potential destination.

"He was a Leeds fan and a [Manchester] City fan and a Nottingham Forest fan. He followed me but that's what you do in your youth," Haaland senior told talkSPORT.

"There's a difference between being a supporter and having it as a job.

"I think at one stage he would like to play in the Premier League. When that's going to happen, I don't know. It's a very tough league.

"Up to now he's ahead of the stage we thought he would be at. He's built for the Premier League at one stage, I think. Whether that happens now or at a later stage, we don't know."

Recent reports have suggested Salzburg could ask for up to €100million for the impressive centre-forward, already a two-cap Norway international

Alf-Inge doubts the club would demand such an exorbitant fee, however.

"There are always stories," he said.

"He's at Salzburg and he's at a fantastic club and playing in the Champions League, so in a way there's no hurry.

"But Salzburg have shown in the past they're sort of a middle-step club and if they're going to recruit players in the future they can't put a stupid price tag on the players, otherwise nobody would like to go there."

Paul Pogba is injured, Juan Mata is on the fringes and Manchester United are in desperate need of creativity.

Kai Havertz, the talented Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, might hold the answer.

According to a new report, the Germany international could soon be the subject of a massive transfer bid from Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ HEADED TO MANCHESTER?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 20-year-old Kai Havertz his top transfer target, says the Daily Star.

But the report suggests Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to wait until the end of the season before making an £80million offer.

Havertz, who has been linked with Bayern Munich, is one of the most admired young midfielders in Europe.

He scored 17 Bundesliga goals last season and has notched twice in nine appearances this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claim Barcelona have joined the race for sought-after Salzburg striker Erling Haaland. The teenage sensation scored his seventh Champions League goal in Tuesday's draw at Napoli and has reportedly attracted interest from Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, among others.

- Barcelona do have at least one exciting prospect dreaming of joining them. Highly rated Ajax defender Sergino Dest told Bleacher Report his "biggest goal" is to play for the Blaugrana, while the United States international also has his eye on a stint in the Premier League.

- Trouble is brewing in Naples. Gazzetta dello Sport suggest Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are in rebellion against president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who ordered the team to enter a training retreat amid a poor run of results. Ancelotti did not appear for the customary post-match news conference following the 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stadio San Paolo.

- Another successful Italian coach, Massimiliano Allegri, should reject any approach from managerless Bayern Munich and instead focus on becoming the next Manchester United boss. That is the view of Fabio Capello, who told Radio Anch'io Sport his compatriot would be the "best choice" for the Red Devils.

- Back to the Premier League and England, where Granit Xhaka is dealing with the fallout from being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. The Daily Mirror report the Gunners could now look to offload the midfielder in January, given his fractured relationship with the club's fans.

Lorenzo Insigne mounted a strong defence of Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti following the frustrating 1-1 Champions League draw against Salzburg.

Hirving Lozano cancelled out Erling Haaland's early opener at Stadio San Paolo but the Serie A side failed to find the winner that would have confirmed their place in the knockout rounds.

Tuesday's draw extended Napoli's winless run to four games in all competitions and Ancelotti's failure to appear for the customary post-match news conference did nothing to dispel rumours of division at the club.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss has reportedly been at odds with Aurelio de Laurentiis over the outspoken president's decision to order the first-team squad into a training retreat.

Ancelotti appears to be under an increasing amount of pressure but retains the backing of his captain. 

"We're a close-knit group and that's down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell," Insigne said.

"We're grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

"We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we're determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games."

Napoli are a point behind leaders Liverpool in Group E and four ahead of third-placed Salzburg, who were on the back foot for much of Tuesday's match.

"We deserved to win the game – we created loads of chances but needed to be more clinical with our finishing," Insigne added.

"We have to play with this same spirit and belief all the time because our luck will turn."

Despite his exceptional pedigree, Ancelotti has struggled to extract the best from Napoli since taking over in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's acrimonious exit.

The Partenopei finished well off the pace of Serie A champions Juventus last term and sit seventh – 11 points behind the titleholders – after 11 games of the new season.

Napoli missed the opportunity to secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Salzburg at the San Paolo on Tuesday.

Liverpool's win over Genk in the other Group E game meant Carlo Ancelotti's side could have qualified for the last 16 with two pool games to spare with victory, but it was not to be against Jesse Marsch's spirited opponents.

Erling Haaland gave the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot, his seventh goal in four games making him the highest-scoring teenager in a single Champions League campaign.

Hirving Lozano pulled the hosts level shortly before half-time but, despite carving out a number of excellent opportunities to score a winner, Napoli were ultimately frustrated in their efforts to secure an early progression to the next stage.

Ancelotti's men remain well placed to advance, though, as Salzburg's hopes are now hanging by a thread despite an entertaining campaign.

Carlos Miguel Coronel made a wonderful reaction save to keep out Lorenzo Insigne's deflected effort early on, while an unmarked Jerome Onguene inexplicably headed wide from eight yards at the other end.

Haaland then handed the visitors the lead after 11 minutes, stroking home from the spot after Kalidou Koulibaly had brought down Hwang Hee-chan inside the area.

The first half continued at a frantic pace and Jose Callejon crashed against the post before Lozano's whipped effort was kept out by Coronel.

Napoli's pressure finally told a minute before the interval when Lozano cut in from the left and fired a low drive past the Salzburg goalkeeper.

The second half started at a more sedate pace, with Salzburg finding a way to stem the Napoli tide.

Lozano thundered narrowly over shortly before the hour mark, while Dries Mertens was denied by a low save from Coronel.

The Salzburg stopper then almost inadvertently handed Napoli all three points as Insigne's deep cross bounced back off the post and hit him before going out for a corner, yet the spoils were ultimately shared.
 

What does it mean? Liverpool leapfrog Partenopei

Napoli's failure to make their chances count means they have surrendered top spot in the group to Liverpool. They still hold a four-point advantage over third-placed Salzburg, but Ancelotti will be hugely frustrated that his side were unable to book their spot in the last 16, denying him the opportunity to rest players in the clash with Jurgen Klopp's side later this month.

Haaland's dream start continues

The Salzburg youngster has been electric in the Champions League so far this season and once again showed a maturity that belies his age, coolly slotting home an early penalty that ensured his side return to Austria with an impressive point.

Koulibaly recklessness costs his side

Koulibaly is one of Europe's best and most experienced defenders. Quite why he decided to fly in so rashly on Hwang remains a mystery.

What's next?

Napoli return to Serie A action on Saturday with a home game against Genoa, while Salzburg travel to Wolfsberger in the Austrian Bundesliga.

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