U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 33 mins

Champions League: Liverpool through, City streak over, Napoli out as Round of 16 set

Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane (not pictured) spearheaded Liverpool’s drubbing of Spartak Moscow. (Getty)

It does not mean anything. Pep Guardiola will hardly care. And when we all look back on what could still turn out to be a historic Manchester City season, Wednesday’s loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League will be an afterthought – for City fans, at least.

But not in Italy. Not in Naples. City’s 2-1 loss in the Ukraine, its first of the season, sent Napoli crashing out of the competition, toward another European disappointment. And the Italian side failed to hold up its end of the bargain anyway, losing 2-1 at Feyenoord.

Elsewhere, FC Porto pounced on the runner-up spot in Group G with a 5-2 dispatching of Monaco, and Liverpool tore apart Spartak Moscow 7-0 at Anfield. The Reds clinched the eighth of eight spots in the seeded pot for Monday’s Round of 16 draw (6 a.m. ET, Fox Sports 1), and helped set the field for the Champions League knockout stages:

Group winners: Manchester United, PSG, Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Besiktas, Tottenham
Runners-up: FC Basel, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Porto, Real Madrid

Here are all the scores from the final day of group action:

Liverpool 7-0 Spartak Moscow
NK Maribor 1-1 Sevilla
Feyenoord 2-1 Napoli
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Manchester City
RB Leipzig 1-2 Besiktas
FC Porto 5-2 Monaco
Real Madrid 3-2 Borussia Dortmund
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 APOEL Nicosia

Liverpool romps

Liverpool really never should have been troubled by the threesome of Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and Maribor. Sevilla probably shouldn’t have been either. And Spartak had no business entering the final matchday with knockout-round hopes alive. But Liverpool cured past ills without any trouble.

Philippe Coutinho put the Reds ahead from the penalty spot inside four minutes. He would eventually complete his hat trick. Sadio Mane bagged two, Mohamed Salah one and Roberto Firmino one. The brilliance of the front four was on full display:


Mane’s first goal was the pick of the bunch:


The 2017 group stage broke a record for the highest-scoring Champions League group stage since the competition’s inception, and Liverpool’s 23 goals – second only to PSG’s 25 – were a very big part of that.

City shocked by Shakhtar

OK, it really wasn’t all that shocking. Pep Guardiola trotted out a mostly second-string team in Kharkiv. The result was an even game, punctuated by one world-class goal from Bernard …


… and one Ederson mistake in – or rather out of – the Manchester City goal. City cut the lead in half with a stoppage-time penalty, but fell to its first defeat of the season.

The result turned out to be irrelevant all around, because Napoli failed to win at Feyenoord. But nonetheless, it was probably the most notable of the day.

Both City and Shakhtar are on to the Round of 16, which kicks off on Feb. 13.

– – – – – – –

Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.