“Legitimate concerns” after “comprehensive” pre-season defeat – Media on Liverpool 0-3 Napoli

29 July 2019

Liverpool’s performance in their 3-0 pre-season defeat to Napoli raised a number of concerning issues in the opinion of many members of the media.


The Reds made their first appearance in Scotland since 2012 against Napoli on Sunday, but it was not to be a memorable occasion as they suffered their third defeat of the summer.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side struggled to impose themselves on the contest as sloppy play at both ends of the field reigned supreme and ensured many were left with more questions than answers as to how prepared Liverpool are for the start of the season.

Napoli cut through the Reds with ease and notched a deserved 3-0 victory, with the Reds’ brightest moments arising from the performances of a certain new face.

Here’s how the media viewed Liverpool’s performance in Edinburgh.

 

Reporters left little to the imagination as they assessed Liverpool’s ‘comprehensive’ defeat…

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Sunday, July 28, 2019: SSC Napoli's Amin Younes scores the third goal during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Murrayfield Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s David Maddock felt Klopp’s side were not at the races at Murrayfield as Napoli eased to victory:

The Reds were off the pace and comprehensively beaten by Carlo Ancelotti’s Serie A runners-up.

For Goal‘s Neil Jones, Liverpool left a lot to be desired at both ends of the field and despite being 11 days out from the start of the season, were below the level of sharpness many have come to expect:

They lacked quality and penetration in attack, looked suspect defensively and, perhaps most glaringly, were well below their levels in terms of fitness and sharpness.

Writing for This Is Anfield, James Nalton also shared the view that defensively the Reds were not at the races:

For the second pre-season game in a row, the back four which served Liverpool so well last season were able to take to the field alongside each other, but their display won’t have filled fans with confidence ahead of the new season.

The Mirror’s Mark Jones, meanwhile, thought there was little bite in Liveprool’s performance in a game where their fitness levels should have proved decisive:

Liverpool were too often aimless and passive in a game against opposition who should be behind them in terms of fitness.

 

Journalists felt Elliott’s appearance was a rare positive as other players struggled to shine…

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Sunday, July 28, 2019: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Murrayfield Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing for the Daily Mail, Craig Hope thought that the shining light was Harvey Elliott‘s debut for the club on the day his move to Anfield was made official:

One plus did emerge for Liverpool and that was the sight of Harvey Elliot making his debut late on.

And the performance of the 16-year-old earner him praise from Jones who felt one the teenager does not lack is confidence:

Harvey was straight into the action here, demanding the ball, getting it and, after an exchange of passes with Rhian Brewster, forcing a corner to loud applause.

He may be a kid, but he clearly lacks nothing in terms of confidence.

Nalton, similarly, felt the youngster “breathed some life” in the affair after a lacklustre performance from Liverpool in the 80 minutes preceding his arrival:

He was immediately involved, winning a corner, as these late substitutes breathed some life into the game.

He let off one of Livepool’s few shots on goal, and even though it was well wide it was still appreciated by the fans who were just happy to see some attacking intent — and that’s something Elliott has plenty of.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Sunday, July 28, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Murrayfield Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was not as much praise heading Jordan Henderson‘s way from Hope, however, who was of the belief that his distribution and attention was lacking:

Skipper Jordan Henderson was caught napping on the ball and, even when he was more alert, his distribution was errant.

And despite thriving in the role last time out against Sporting CP, Gini Wijnaldum struggled this time out according to the Mirror‘s Mark Jones:

The Dutchman was excellent off the left in the draw against Sporting Lisbon, but like everyone he struggled for rhythm during the bitty first half.

One attribute he does have are excellent runs from deep though, and he’s a more than likely option to start the season from the left in the absence of Sadio Mane.

 

The media felt Klopp has a number of concerns to address ahead of the new season…

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Sunday, July 28, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Murrayfield Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were without Alisson, Mane, Salah and Firmino on Sunday as they have been for the entirety of pre-season to date, and for Nalton their absence again highlighted how the Reds could struggle if anything were to happen to them in the season proper:

The extended break for these star players has not made for an ideal pre-season, and this disappointing defeat will only add to the worry that Liverpool might struggle without them, or if they become fatigued during the season.

For David Lynch, writing for the Evening Standard, their return will be relished after the attack failed to fire in Scotland:

How the German will relish having both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino back in the fold for that fixture after such a toothless display in Edinburgh.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Sunday, July 28, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applaud the supporters after a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Murrayfield Stadium. Liverpool lost 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A “toothless” display which had N. Jones raising concerns over the depth in strength amidst Klopp’s ranks:

There are legitimate concerns about the strength of the Reds’ senior squad right now.

And for Hope, while the fact that is pre-season must be taken into account, the performance needed to have been better – and it left plenty to be concerned over:

There is plenty to be of concern for Klopp right now and the return of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – all afforded extended breaks – cannot come soon enough.

Yes, pre-season results should be taken lightly but performances less so, and this was a very poor performance.

It lacked imagination and energy – the hallmarks of their brilliant season – and was stained further by a worrying sloppiness.

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