Liverpool began their Champions League campaign with a 4-1 loss to Napoli on Wednesday evening at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Italy.
Slow start for visitors Victor Osimhen saw the Serie A side put the Serie A side ahead after he dribbled past Alisson before hitting the post, but it was only minutes before the deadlock was broken with a penalty awarded after James Milner’s handball.
And Napoli got a second penalty after judging Virgil van Dijk for blocking Osimhen, only in order to stop Alisson to ensure that the difference remained on one goal. But that was short-lived after the Reds found themselves 2-0 down when Andre-Frank Zambo-Anguisa linked Zielinski’s pass, before superb solo action from Khvicha Kvaratsellia down the left flanked him in place of substitute Giovanni Simeone. Third place for Napoli before the whistle at the end of the first half.
Jurgen Klopp introduced Joel Matip at the break, but that did little to stem the storm as Napoli scored within 90 seconds of the break. Despite Luis Diaz’s quick response with a fine finishing touch from outside the penalty area, Liverpool were unable to return to the match.
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It’s hard to find pros in a performance that was one-sided at night, but Luis Diaz’s show was something of a standout.
The left winger scored another goal after cutting with his favorite right foot, and he was the only player who looked like he could achieve something on the offensive line.
Liverpool started the game very slow and didn’t seem to stop the relentless Napoli side. The defense was gullible throughout the match, while there was no structure between the midfield and the defensive line. Too bad a show from the 21/22 Champions League runners-up.
Director rating (out of 10)
Jürgen Klopp, 5 Fitness issues may have forced Klopp’s hand in terms of team selection against Napoli, but his insistence on the fine line is something that may need adjusting after how he was exposed.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players presented after 70 minutes do not get a rating)
A goal keeper Alison6 There was not much the Liverpool goalkeeper could do about any of the goals, having made a number of strong stops. His defense has let him down on many occasions in the night.
defender Andy Robertson5 Liverpool’s key left-back took a while to get started, but he was one of Liverpool’s best players in the second half as he looked to move forward to merge with Luis Diaz who started to work more centrally.
defender Virgil van Dijk4 The Netherlands star has to do a lot to help lead Liverpool’s defense as the most experienced player on the side. Jurgen Klopp’s team was all over the place in the back, which made the climb up the mountain very difficult in the second half. Napoli was denied crossing the goal line in the first half, but awarded a penalty kick afterwards.
defender Joe Gomez4 Nothing seemed to be going well for Joe Gomez tonight as he was caught on several occasions, and in the moments he made contact the ball seemed to turn once again into dangerous territory. The position of the 25-year-old left much to be desired. He was substituted in the first half for Joel Matip.
defender Trent Alexander Arnold4 – An elaborate pass in the feet of Mohamed Salah after half an hour almost made the Egyptian team score a goal in the first half, but Alexander-Arnold was easily defeated by Kvisha Kvaratskhelia in preparation for Napoli. The third goal.
mf Fabinho5 The Brazil international doesn’t seem to be imposing himself on the match, with Napoli playing through their pressure with relative ease. This factor was not helped by the overall poor performance from Liverpool in midfield as a team.
mf James Milner5 Handball inside the penalty area from Milner made Napoli award a penalty to put himself in front early. The experienced midfielder was careless in possession, with the Serie A team’s defense handling many of his long balls with ease.
mf Harvey Elliott6 Liverpool’s brightest midfield player was Elliott looking to take the ball forward into the positive areas. Elliott often made the right decision despite being the youngest Reds player on the field.
attacker Luis Diaz7 The Colombia international had the brightest spark for Liverpool that night, even in a match that seemed out of reach. His finish outside the box at the start of the second half was excellent, while he came close afterwards with a header that Merritt saved.
attacker Roberto Firmino5 The heart of the Liverpool striker was unable to get into the match and often found himself crowded by defenders. A semi-anonymous show from the Brazilian international.
attacker Mohamed Salah5 Salah had one real chance for Liverpool in the first half, but his effort was simple and simple. Alex Merritt to save. Napoli kept the Egyptian international calm overall, in a match in which he struggled to make an impact from the right wing.
Joel Matip (Gomez, 45 inches), 6 He came in the break for Joe Gomez but could have done more for Napoli’s fourth goal. He shot the ball forward from the defense well, and managed to break the lines with his passes.
Darwin Nunez (Fermino, 62 in.), 6 Nunez seemed to run backwards to extend play, but Liverpool didn’t find him in enough space. The decision of the former Benfica striker looked positive, and he did a good job of picking Diogo Jota late in the game who could not finish the match.
thiago (Milner, 63 inches), 7 Returning from injury from Thiago made him add more control to Liverpool’s midfield, a factor he desperately needed after Napoli’s continued success. He recovered the ball on a number of occasions.
Diogo Jota (Salah, 63 inches), 5 Jota found himself in positive territory but was soon crowded out by defenders. Regardless, vital minutes after coming back from the injury she sustained in pre-season will be beneficial going forward.
Arthur (Elliott, 77 in.) N/R Introduced to Elliott in the 77th minute on Liverpool’s debut against a familiar rival to the loaned Juventus midfielder, he seemed to be enjoying his minutes playing alongside Thiago.