Football: Goalless draw secures top spot for Liverpool

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (left) vies for the ball with Sion's Elsad Zverotic.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (left) vies for the ball with Sion's Elsad Zverotic.PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Liverpool advanced to the knockout stages of the Europa League as winners of their group on Thursday after a 0-0 draw with Sion in the bitter chill of Switzerland.

Jurgen Klopp's side had already progressed so the German handed starts to the likes of Kolo Toure, Divock Origi and young left-back Brad Smith against opponents who required a point to confirm their own qualification for the last 32.

Smith's performance was one of the biggest plusses in a game of few chances played in freezing temperatures and it was a result that suited both teams in the end.

Liverpool finish top of Group B after going unbeaten through their six games, while Sion advanced as well, although even a defeat would have sufficed for them because Rubin Kazan drew 2-2 at Bordeaux in the other match.

Elsewhere, Fenerbahce qualified from Group A after a 1-1 draw with Celtic in Istanbul.

Lazar Markovic, on loan from Liverpool, put the Turks ahead but they had the Brazilian midfielder Diego sent off before Kris Commons came off the bench to secure a point for the already eliminated Scottish champions.

Norwegian side Molde topped the group after drawing 1-1 at Ajax, who go out.

Marseille qualified from Group F thanks to a 4-2 victory over Slovan Liberec in the Czech Republic as Michy Batshuayi, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Abdelaziz Barrada and Lucas Ocampos all scored for the French side.

Danish side Midtjylland, who knocked out Southampton earlier in the competition, held Club Brugge of Belgium 1-1 to go through from Group D behind Napoli.