Liverpool’s Champions League trophy defence got off to a lacklustre start thanks to a late 2-0 loss in Naples. It was the second straight season in which Liverpool allowed Napoli to score a late goal to claim a victory in the Champions League group stage.
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The Reds were deserving of a point having played Napoli strongly for 80 minutes of the match. However, Andy Robertson conceded a penalty to Jose Callejon after a clumsy tackle sent the Spaniard to the ground.
Dries Mertens’ ensuing penalty was nearly saved by Adrian as he dove to his right. However, the Liverpool goalkeeper could only slow it down with his right hand.
In truth, Adrian kept Liverpool in the game making several fine saves earlier in the match. His best came in the second half when he made a leaping one-handed save to keep Mertens out of goal.
Liverpool went onto make a second mistake with Napoli’s Fernando Llorente pouncing on a loose ball from Virgil van Dijk to slot home past Adrian.
It was Liverpool’s fourth straight Champions League group stage loss.
Klopp’s strong squad fires blanks
Jurgen Klopp selected a strong side for Champions League matchday 1 at the San Paolo. The side saw the return of midfielder James Milner to the team in the place of Georginio Wijnaldum. Milner failed to really make a mark on the match which could be a result of his limited playing time this term. Milner was able to complete 78% of his passes and make three tackles.
Napoli took Liverpool’s attacking full-backs Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold completely out of the match. Neither full-back could get forward with regularity and put balls into the box.
Klopp will be extremely frustrated that Napoli’s penalty came during a time in which Liverpool were pushing for a goal. The Reds were on top and Robertson conceded the penalty from a weak counter-attack by the Partenopei.
Chelsea at the weekend in the Premier League
Liverpool have little time between their Champions League loss in Naples and their next Premier League match at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. The Reds have already defeated Chelsea this season as they lifted the UEFA Super Cup thanks to a penalty shootout win.
The Reds are atop the Premier League with 15 points from 15 possible. They are the only Premier League team to have a 100% winning record.
Chelsea lost on Tuesday night in the Champions League to Valencia, 1-0. The Blues squandered a golden opportunity to claim a victory over a Valencia side still reeling from manager Marcelino’s sacking over the weekend.
However, Rodrigo Moreno scored from a Dani Parejo free-kick to give Valencia the spoils. Ross Barkley had the chance to equalise in the 86th minute after taking charge of the ball after Chelsea were awarded a penalty. However, the midfielder missed dooming the Blues to another loss.
Frank Lampard has not won a match as Chelsea boss at Stamford Bridge this season. Liverpool will be confident going back to Premier League play.
Despite the loss on Tuesday night to Napoli, Liverpool are expected to progress to the knockout stage of the Champions League. They will face Red Bull Salzburg on matchday 2.
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