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Outrun, outsprinted & Thiago’s tackles – 6 alarming stats from Liverpool’s Napoli nightmare

As defeats go, Liverpool’s 4-1 loss in Napoli on Wednesday was perhaps the most humiliating of the Jurgen Klopp era, and the stats are there to prove it.

Perhaps more worrying, though, is the fact a lot of supporters saw this coming.

Bar the Community Shield win over Man City and a freak 9-0 victory over Bournemouth, the Reds haven’t been right all season.

Delve deeper into the numbers behind a terrible night in Naples and the problems are there for all to see.

Here, we pick out six alarming stats from a dreadful start to Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.

 

Outrun and outsprinted yet again

Liverpool got Liverpool’d by Napoli, and Luciano Spalletti’s side aren’t the only team to run the Reds off the park this season.

In fact, Liverpool have been outrun and outsprinted by all seven teams they have faced this season.

That can’t be right. Even in defeat, Klopp’s side usually pride themselves on their work ethic and full throttle style of play, on and off the ball.

Is this team exhausted?

 

Conceded first in five of the seven games this season

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: SSC Napoli's Piotr Zieli?ski scores the first goal from a penalty kick 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)

This team really are struggling to snap out of the sloppy starts.

Yet again, they fell behind first, just as they have done in five of the seven games they’ve played in 2022/23 so far, the joint-most of any Premier League side along with Southampton.

In fact, apart from that Bournemouth win and a few seconds against Newcastle, Liverpool haven’t ben in front at any point in their other games this season.

 

Big Virg not at the races

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk after 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)

Virgil van Dijk has done so much for this club, and I’m sure he’ll rise again, but right now, for whatever reason, he is struggling.

In the first half, he brought down Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for the hosts’ second penalty.

After a run of 150 matches without giving away a penalty in all competitions for Liverpool, he’s now given away two penalties in his last seven appearances.

If Liverpool are to get this season back on track, they need their defensive rock at his best.

 

Thiago showing what we’ve been missing

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara 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 difference in quality in midfield when Thiago made his return from injury in the second half was clear for all to see.

He was on the field for 28 minutes but made six tackles – more than the starting midfield three and the two full-backs combined.

Thiago also won seven of his nine duels, with Fabinho winning two out of eight and Milner just three out of 11.

The Spaniard had 42 touches of the ball, just two fewer than Milner, who was on the pitch for an hour, and completed 30/33 passes.

Good to have him back, but he can’t be solely relied on!

 

9 big chances to 1

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: SSC Napoli's André-Frank Zambo Anguissa celebrates after scoring the second 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)

One general match stat stood out from the others that were actually fairly evenly contested.

In the full 90 minutes, Napoli had nine big chances, eight more than Liverpool, who could only manage one.

That outlines all of the Reds’ problems right now. Yes, they have had defensive problems in recent years, but much of those were without Van Dijk.

The fact these problems exist with the Dutchman playing every game so far is all the more worrying.

 

Joint biggest Champions League defeat

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)

How not to start a new Champions League campaign.

This was Liverpool’s joint biggest Champions League loss, alongside the 3-0 defeats to Real Madrid in 2014 and Barcelona in 2019.

It was also the heaviest defeat by an English Premier League side in their opening game of a UEFA Champions League campaign since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Inter Milan in 2003-04.

Napoli are a good team, but they simply shouldn’t be putting four past any Liverpool side, and it could easily have been more.

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