A truly embarrassing night in Europe for Liverpool as they conceded four against Napoli in a truly awful performance collectively and individually.
Napoli 4-1 Liverpool
Champions League Group A (1), Diego Armando Maradona Stadium
September 7, 2022
Goals and Key Events
Missed pen: Osimhen 18′
Liverpool didn’t have a good record in Naples going into this match, without a goal let alone a win in the three encounters in the last decade – and it only got worse. Much worse.
There were three changes from the Merseyside derby on Saturday, with Andy Robertson, James Milner and Roberto Firmino coming in as Jurgen Klopp went for experience in the opening Champions League game.
Liverpool’s slow starts are widely known, conceding first in 10 of the last 14 games, and it was almost the case again within 43 seconds when Victor Osimhen hit the post.
It was 1-0 for the hosts in the fifth minute though, when Milner gave away a penalty for a handball and Piotr Zielinksi dispatched the spot kick.
That was bad but it could have been worse when Van Dijk gave away a penalty for a foul on Osimhen 10 minutes later, only for Alisson to save the penalty from the forward and save Liverpool from having a mountain to climb.
It was bad enough for Klopp to change formation, moving to 4231; Salah central, Firmino behind, Elliott wide and Milner alongside Fabinho in midfield.
Napoli should have been 2-0 up when they countered just before the half-hour, Osimhen picked Gomez’s pocket, but Van Dijk got back to clear off the line. Quite simply, Liverpool looked a complete mess.
It was 2-0 soon after, Gomez again outmuscled, then a simple one-two and Anguissa slid the ball past Alisson. Embarrassing defending.
And the third arrived before the break, more awful defending. Alexander-Arnold being outrun far too easily out wide, then Gomez outmuscled again, an absolute tap-in for Simeone.
It was 3-0 at the break but could have been six for Napoli, who also missed a penalty, hit the post and had one cleared off the line.
Half time: Napoli 3-0 Liverpool
Joel Matip replaced Gomez at halftime in the only change. Somehow Milner remained on the pitch. How only one sub was used was baffling.
80 seconds after the restart, Napoli made it four. Another counter-attack, more ball watching from Alexander-Arnold, Zielinski tapped in after Alisson had initially saved. Shocking.
Two minutes later, Luis Diaz curled an effort from the edge of the box into the bottom corner to make it 4-1. The Colombian looked the only player remotely interested.
A triple sub on the hour saw Salah, Firmino and Milner replaced by Thiago, Nunez and Jota. New signing Arthur came on for the final 10 minutes.
Liverpool saw plenty of the ball but did little with it, Diaz the only player who looked threatening.
Liverpool won all six group games last season, that certainly won’t be happening this season. This result matched their worst defeat in Champions League football.
Major, major concerns for Klopp’s side at the start of this season.
TIA Man of the Match: Luis Diaz
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Subs not used: Adrian, Davies, Phillips, Tsimikas, Bajcetic
Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia
Subs: Sirigu, Jesus, Mario Rui, Ostigard, Zanoli, Elmas, Gaetano, Ndombele, Zerbin, Lozano, Raspadori, Simeone
Next Match: Wolves (home, Saturday 10 September)