Jordan Ibe handed Liverpool a crucial 1-0 victory over Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday, as Celtic flopped at the hands of a 40-year-old Norwegian.
After three successive draws, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp was hoping his team could carry over the momentum from Saturday’s Premier League 3-1 win over Chelsea when they travelled to Russia.
And they did not disappoint, dominating for much of the match and Ibe’s 53rd-minute strike ensuring a first away win in Europe in three years against a side that has in the past claimed the scalps of Chelsea, Tottenham and Wigan.
“Jordan is a skilful player and a big talent — fast, strong, good at dribbling,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo newspaper.
“He has to learn so much but has a real good base. He feels good. You could see it in this match.
“Like everyone, he has a long way to go. If he’s prepared to listen then he will be very good,” said Klopp, who was seen searching out Ibe after the game to embrace the 19-year-old London-born winger.
Group B leaders Sion had Veroljub Salatic to thank for a 94th minute goal that secured a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux, who are next up for Liverpool, on six points two behind Sion and three ahead of the French team.
A fine double save by Sergei Ryzhikov kept Rubin Kazan in the game at half-time against Liverpool, the goalkeeper reacting smartly to a poor defensive header from teammate Solomon Kverkvelia before palming the ball away.
Ibe provided the breakthrough when he sprinted away midway inside the Rubin Kazan half before shooting low into the far left corner for his first goal in a Liverpool shirt.
James Milner had an effort tipped over and Ibe then had a shot saved by the impressive Ryzhikov on the counter.
Ruslan Kambolov sent a free-kick over the crossbar as Liverpool rode out a nervy few closing minutes as the home side pressed.
Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund and Napoli both secured their places in the knockout stages, the Germans beating Qabala of Azerbaijan 4-0 and the Italian club notching up a 5-0 thrashing of Midtjylland of Denmark.
There was more heartbreak for Celtic, however, the Scots going down 2-1 to Norwegian outfit Molde at home.
It meant Molde also qualified for the last-32 knock-out stage, with Celtic bottom with just two points from four matches.
Molde, coached by former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, celebrated the three points courtesy of a goal from 40-year-old skipper Daniel Helstad.
Helstad became the oldest scorer in the history of the tournament.
“This means a lot to me -– it’s a nice record to have,” Helstad told uefa.com.
“I am from Molde; I have played there all my life and I have such a strong feeling for this small club and city. For us to shock Europe like this is an amazing feeling and the highlight of my career.”
In Group E, Rapid Vienna also went through to the last-32 when the Austrians made it four wins in four with a 2-1 win at Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic.
Tottenham stayed on course for the next stage with a 2-1 home win over Anderlecht with Mousa Dembele grabbing a winner three minutes from time as the Londoners went top of Group J.
They are a point ahead of Monaco who drew 1-1 at Qarabag in Azerbaijan. – Agence France-Presse