Messi celebrates, Liverpool frustrated in Champions League

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Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, second left, celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Liverpool and Napoli at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Another day to celebrate for Lionel Messi. Another frustrating day for Liverpool against a familiar opponent.

Messi marked his 700th game for Barcelona with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund 3-1 that sent his team into the knockout rounds of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Defending champion Liverpool couldn’t replicate that feat as it struggled once again against Napoli.

The two clubs have played four times in the last 13 months, with Napoli winning two of those games. This time, Dejan Lovren’s header rescued a 1-1 draw for Liverpool, which must try again to qualify against Salzburg on Dec. 10.

Chelsea will also have to wait for qualification after drawing 2-2 with Valencia on a freak goal, while Leipzig qualified for the first time after a dramatic comeback. Talented teenager Erling Haaland scored again for Salzburg to set a record.

MESSI CLEANS UP

It’s not like Barcelona to grind out results, and beating Dortmund brought back some welcome swagger.

For the team that leads La Liga despite rarely seeming to reach top gear, Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Dortmund finally showcased the talent and creativity in the team.