Napoli vs Liverpool
Champions League Group E
8:00pm Tuesday 17th September
Late goals in Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente made Napoli a 2-0 victory as Liverpool produced a slow start to the Champions League defence.
At the group point in Naples, the side of Jurgen Klopp were beaten for the next season in a row – final October, they lost 1-0 – and it had been sloppy defending that watched that the Group E game slip away from them.
The Reds had defended stoutly against a ongoing pressure from the home side, but were unlucky to be punished after Jose Callejon jumped inside of Andy Robertson prior to making the majority of touch with the Liverpool guardian and, even when a VAR inspection failed to give the people an reprieve, Dries Mertens took full advantage to conquer Adrian in the place.
As Liverpool pushed for a late equaliser, nicely into five moments of added-on period Fernando Llorente doubled the lead from an uncommon Virgil van Dijk error, profiting when the guardian’s mis-hit pass conducted into his path and he slotted the ball home into spark wild celebrations on the house bench with victory closed – and the reigning champions defeated their very first game for the first time since AC Milan in 1994.
Liverpool were expecting for better than their limp showing in the Stadio San Paolo last year, but found themselves trapped out on the break early on when, as they’d have emphasized, Lorenzo Insigne found space in supporting Trent Alexander-Arnold, however from his pull-back Fabian double pulled easy saves from Adrian from a good place.
Liverpool reacted when Jordan Henderson’s lob found Sadio Mane unmarked on the edge of this box, but his thick touch took him wide of Alex Meret’s place also, out of a tight angle, so it was easy enough for the goalkeeper to flip his effort around the post with his thighs.
There was more to shout about from either side before the rest although it took a last-gasp struggle from Alexander-Arnold to take the ball as he prepared to shoot.
The second half did not take much time to glow up. It was less than four minutes old when Liverpool were indebted to some world-class rescue to stay level, with all the goalkeeper tipping over Mertens’ far-post header if he seemed sure to score.
When the visitors did get chances their front three looked out of sorts; before over-hitting across a easy pass into the devious Mo Salah as Liverpool broke when Mane hung onto the ball too 29, it was ended up.
Liverpool were left to regret those attacks that were misfiring when Callejon chose a late tumble out of Robertson under stress, the referee pointed to the place and Mertens found the corner, despite a commendable attempt.
It was looking like a case of deja vu for Liverpool at this point, but things got worse in added time when Van Dijk’s uncharacteristic error set up Llorente, who’d been around the defeated Spurs aspect in last year’s closing, to slot under Adrian and seal three points for the hosts.
Former Liverpool defender Phil Babb told The Debate:”It was comfy, they made opportunities, I believe they had four target which was an improvement from last season when they just had one, so I presume. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a Liverpool performance that is standard; we didn’t see Andy Robertson or Trent bombing forward.
“Sadio Mane appeared sharp, Mo Salah looked sharp occasionally, they did create chances but it was a masterclass from Kalidou Koulibaly – that was similar to the Virgil van Dijk of past season, and also Liverpool got no joy from him. It ended up being a couple of sucker-punches.
“Then Adrian rescue, you thought , coming out of this 0-0, it’s a fantastic point, but they lost it”
Liverpool are dwell on Super Sunday when they see Chelsea in the 4.30pm kick-off, on Sky Sports Premier League.