S.S.C. Napoli stunned the defending UEFA Champions League title holders Liverpool FC after the home team defeated the Reds 2-0. Liverpool entered the Champions League arena this season on a high, as they are unbeaten in the Premier League and are still on the top of the EPL points table. However, the Serie A side thrashed the English team’s dreams of starting their UCL campaign on the right foot. Two simple mistakes cost Liverpool their first away match of the season.
Both of Napoli’s goals came in the closing minutes of the match. At the 82nd minute, Dries Mertens’ penalty opened the sheet for the Italian side. In the 92nd minute, the Partenopei extended their lead as Fernando Llorente took advantage of UEFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk’s rare error. Van Dijk attempted to pass the ball to his colleague Joel Matip, but it found Llorente, who didn’t fail to score past Adrián.
Jurgen Klopp’s side must improve their game if they wish to replicate last year’s UCL performance. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said, “The mistakes for the goals we need to improve on, overall we can be better, of course, and we’ll take responsibility and move forward.”
According to CNN, he also claimed that Napoli is a better side at home and they created chances as per expectations. Liverpool will now face Napoli in the second leg of their tie on November 27 at Anfield. As we speak, Group E is now topped by FC Red Bull Salzburg, after they beat KRC Genk 6-2 last night. On October 2nd, Liverpool will face Salzburg at home in their next UCL outing.
Last year, the Reds lost all their away group matches. It was simply based on their incredible performances at Anfield, together with a sprinkle of luck that helped them advance to the next stage of the tournament. However, from there, the Reds took charge of their fate and performed brilliantly to emerge as the title winners. This season, Klopp will have to make some tactical changes to ensure a successful title defence.
Only time will tell if Liverpool becomes the second team to successfully defend their European crown. Only Real Madrid CF has been able to retain their UCL title before and that too, on two occasions. Liverpool’s road ahead will be tough, but thankfully, football is an unpredictable sport, and anything can happen until the final whistle blows.