Just like last season, Liverpool have again lost a Champions League group game away to Napoli and Jurgen Klopp would be fuming a bit.
Liverpool were unable to start their Champions League defense on a positive after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Napoli. The Italian giants were in commanding form at home and deserved three points on the night.
Dries Mertens scored from the spot after a very poor challenge by Andrew Robertson. Fernando Llorente then scored at the death after an uncharacteristic mistake by Virgil van Dijk.
Even though they lost the game it was clear from the onset that Klopp wanted Liverpool to play on the counter. The Reds remained patient and didn’t make any mistakes. Napoli were worn down while their quick passing ensured that the Italians were never comfortable.
However, it became quite clear that Liverpool were giving the home side too much respect. Moreover, the Reds seemed too ill at ease every time they had the ball. That slow pace eventually cost them the game.
This time around, Klopp decided to add more of a physical element to the starting XI which actually helped. However, the German was unable to make changes on time especially in the second half when the team started showing more attacking intent.
No one can blame Adrian for conceding twice given that both goals were simply unsaveable. The Spaniard made a double save from Fabian Ruiz and then produced what could go down as one of the best saves of the tournament from a Mertens strike.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was very composed throughout and didn’t shirk from his defensive duties. Joel Matip remained solid throughout the game but in an unexpected turn of events, van Dijk’s error saw Llorente score a goal in the 92nd minute.
While Andrew Robertson did look lively down the flanks, the youngster was unable to deliver the sort of crosses that have made him such a huge star. It was his tackle that resulted in the penalty which consequently led to the first goal of the game.
Jordan Henderson did lead by example but was unable to dictate the state of play. Fabinho on the other hand, showed that he should be starting for Liverpool more regularly and never let his teammates down with his positioning.
James Milner had been slotted alongside the Brazilian but the veteran midfielder was not at his best and was clearly frustrated at how things were going in the second period.
The likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were unable to get themselves involved in the game and were easily countered by a really good Napoli defense.
Clearly, Carlo Ancelotti had Klopp’s number yet again. The Italian tactician is a wily customer and the fact that Liverpool were unable to play their usual game, speaks volumes of the coaching acumen he has.
While Napoli might not be considered favorites to lift the title, the Italians might end up going further in the competition than Liverpool.