Heading to Naples is always a difficult task for any club – and yet, even though Liverpool experienced the feeling of taking on the Italian giants last season, it still didn’t matter. The European champions were unable to get off to a successful start as they attempt to defend their title, with Napoli running out 2-0 winners earlier this evening.
From the first whistle it was clear to see that the home side were in clear control of the game. Their quick movement and ability to reset whenever Liverpool came at them left Klopp’s side a little bit confused, to the point where they just couldn’t get anything moving. Sadio Mane did have a nice opportunity for the Reds, but on the other side, Adrian made a few good saves to prevent Napoli from going ahead.
After Liverpool came out with a bit more intent in the second half it seemed as if they were going to take control, but Napoli were equally as resistant. They were able to gain control of proceedings once again, and with just under 10 minutes remaining, a Robertson challenge in the box gave Dries Mertens the chance to put Napoli into the lead.
Despite getting a good hand to the ball, and making another great save earlier on in the second half, Adrian was unable to prevent the goal. Then, in injury time, an error from Virgil van Dijk allowed Fernando Llorente to score – sealing the result and gaining a measure of revenge for Tottenham, dating back to the Champions League final last year.
Napoli will now turn their attention towards a visit to face Lecce at the weekend, as they attempt to build off of what this win could mean for them and their campaign. Liverpool, on the other hand, need to get their head in the game as they travel down to London in order to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
When these two eventually go head to head in the return fixture, it’s pretty clear to see that it’s going to mean a lot for both sides. While it may not be quite as high stakes as last season, it’ll certainly be an interesting encounter.
Napoli: Meret (7.5), Rui (7.5), Koulibaly (7.5), Manolas (6.5), Lorenzo (7.5), Insigne (6), Ruiz (7), Allan (7), Callejon (7), Lozano (6.5), Mertens (7), Llorente (7), Zielinski (6.5), Elmas (6)
Liverpool: Adrian (8), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6.5), van Dijk (6), Robertson (5), Henderson (6.5), Fabinho (7), Milner (6.5), Salah (6), Firmino (6), Mane (6.5), Shaqiri (6), Wijnaldum (6)
Referee: Felix Brych
Goals: Mertens pen, Llorente
Yellow Cards: Llorente, Robertson, Milner
Red Cards: N/A
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