The English are on the march again in the Champions League.
Liverpool and Chelsea completed a sweep of Premier League clubs into the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday, a season after England had two of its representatives in the final.
Liverpool toughed out a 2-0 victory at Salzburg to advance as the winner of Group E and stay on course in its defense of the biggest prize in European soccer. The Reds are also eight points clear in the Premier League in their pursuit of a first English championship in 30 years.
Chelsea secured qualification from Group H thanks to a 2-1 home victory over Lille as Frank Lampard, a Champions League winner with the London team in 2012, maintained his impressive start to management in his first season in charge.
Manchester City and Tottenham, the other English clubs competing in the Champions League, advanced last month with a game to spare.
For the second straight season, Inter Milan was eliminated after failing to pick up a home win in the final round of the group stage. Inter lost 2-1 to an already-qualified Barcelona, which was without Lionel Messi and a number of other rested players, and dropped into third place in Group F behind Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.
Dortmund eked out a 2-1 win against Slavia Prague to squeeze past Inter.
Also qualifying Tuesday was Valencia, which won 1-0 at Ajax in the group containing Chelsea to plunge the hosts – who reached the semifinals last season – into the Europa League as one of the third-place finishers.
Napoli joined Liverpool in advancing from their group with a 4-0 win over Genk, helped by two goals gifted by the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in the competition.
Lyon won the three-way fight with Zenit St. Petersburg and Benfica to secure qualification with Leipzig in Group G. A 2-2 draw at home to Leipzig proved enough to finish a point ahead of its two rivals.
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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80