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NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Napoli 4-1 Liverpool – Player Ratings

An abysmal Liverpool were humiliated 4-1 away to Napoli, with every player except Luis Diaz woefully below par.

Napoli 4-1 Liverpool

Champions League (1), Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
September 7, 2022

Goals: Zielinski pen 5′ & 47′, Anguissa 31′, Simeone 45′; Diaz 49′


Alisson (out of 10) – 6

Alisson has been a fairly blameless figure so far this season, and even on a night this grim, the same applied.

Barring one piece of indecision in the first minute, the Brazilian did nothing wrong and even saved Victor Osimhen’s penalty in the first half.

Must wonder what’s going on in front of him.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 2

Sorry Trent – no you can’t defend, on this evidence.

This was unacceptable stuff from him, with his effort levels trying to get back nowhere to be seen at least four times, including for two goals.

He looks either disinterested or shattered, or both. Infuriating to watch.

Joe Gomez – 2

Remember Dejan Lovren against Tottenham in 2017? See also: Joe Gomez against Napoli in 2022.

Gomez was again preferred to the returning Joel Matip, but had his worst-ever game in a Liverpool shirt.

He got away with a big error when Virgil van Dijk cleared off the line, but was punished twice for more shocking pieces of defending for the second and third goals, outmuscled and slow.

Put out of his misery at half-time and replaced by Matip.

Virgil van Dijk – 3

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Van Dijk has been a long way short of top form this season – sadly, there seems to be no sign of that changing.

Granted, he made one huge block on the line, but conceded a penalty and switched off for the third goal in embarrassing fashion.

What has happened to one of the greatest centre-backs of all time?

Andy Robertson – 4

Robertson returned in place of Kostas Tsimikas, but this was another lethargic showing – one that we have seen all season so far.

Others were worse, without question, but that usual fight and quality going forward were non-existent.

Robertson has been one of Liverpool’s main creative outlets over the years, but the assists have dried up alarmingly.

Fabinho – 5

There was no doubt that Fabinho would be deployed in the No.6 role against Napoli, but he was fighting a losing battle.

It felt like a one-man midfield defensively for too much of the game, and while he wasn’t blameless, he did his best to bite into tackles and bring intensity.

By the end, he was running in treacle. Feel sorry for him playing in midfield on his own.

Harvey Elliott – 5

Elliott has been one of Liverpool’s best players this season, but his lack of defensive quality was exposed badly.

The 19-year-old showed glimpses of class on the ball, proving to be one of the few forward-thinking players, but there are concerns over how he affects Liverpool’s midfield tactically.

A reminder that this is still a player very much learning his trade, though – he isn’t yet at the level to play in a team that dominates Napoli’s midfield away from home.

James Milner – 2

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's James Milner looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After an awful cameo at right-back at Everton, Milner started in midfield – a decision that may not have pleased many.

Quite why Klopp started him was only more baffling when he somehow wasn’t subbed at half time after giving away a penalty, being booked and should have been booked again.

Miles off the pace, easily beaten, not able to track back. Put him out of his misery, and ours.

Mohamed Salah – 3

In search of his pre-AFCON brilliance, Salah is still absolutely way off it eight months on. He is cutting an increasingly frustrated figure.

The Egyptian certainly isn’t getting good service, finding himself on the periphery of games, but he is also doing nothing when he has a chance to provide a spark.

Substituted.

Luis Diaz – 8

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The only positive performer from a terrible team performance. Scored the consolation goal, his fourth of the season, with a lovely finish.

The only player who showed any effort, drive or desire. The future, we need more like him.

Roberto Firmino – 3

Firmino has shown some improved form of late but he reverted to the sloppy, leggy player we have seen so often in the past year or so.

From the off, his touch was poor, playing a part in the opening goal, and every pass felt underhit or behind a teammate.

Simply not the force he used to be.

 

Substitutes

Joel Matip (on for Gomez, 46′) – 6

Was a noticeable upgrade on Gomez, shoring things up at the back somewhat. Caught cold for the fourth goal though, inside a minute.

Thiago (on for Milner, 62′) – 7

Kept things simple but immediately brought so much more control and affective aggression than Milner. Looked great, but was against a team who had stopped playing.

Darwin Nunez (on for Firmino, 62′) – 5

Really struggled to get into the game. Beat a man then turned straight into the defender on the ground.

Diogo Jota (on for Salah, 62′) – 5

Same as Nunez. Awful hold up play, outmuscled, did nothing positive.

Arthur (on for Elliott, 77′) – n/a

Talk about a horrible game to make your debut in! Poor lad.

Subs not used: Adrian, Davies, Phillips, Tsimikas, Bajcetic

 

Jurgen Klopp – 4

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) speaks with Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s rare for Klopp to ever be under any kind of pressure, but he’s feeling the heat at the moment.

The boss must be at a loss at why his team are so horribly out of sorts, but he also has to shoulder some of the blame, as all managers do.

Why is he still starting Milner? Is he doing enough to prepare his players after such a relentless 2021/22 season? Was he too content with his squad this summer?

It’s all just a bit sad, isn’t it? Here’s hoping this isn’t the end of this truly great Liverpool team.

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