Liverpool hosted Napoli at Anfield on matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League 2019/20. Liverpool side went into the fixture after winning back to back Champions League matches against Genk. Whereas, Napoli drew their last Champions League game against RB Salzburg played in Italy.
The first half belonged to Napoli through and through. They were smart enough to let Liverpool have most of the ball and tried to take advantage of defensive lapses from Liverpool. The Italian team opened the scoring through Dries Mertens who scored with a composed finish.
Liverpool started the second half on a high tempo. They won the ball up high in Napoli's box regularly and tried to press the resilient Napoli defence into submission. Liverpool finally scored through a corner headed in by Dejan Lovren. The Reds dominated the game after the equalizer but ultimately failed to get the winner.
Prior to the match, there were several reports of dressing room unrest from the Napoli camp. This was due to friction between team's senior players, coaches and the club management. A positive result in this crucial fixture was of utmost importance to Napoli's Champions League hopes.
The way Napoli started the game made it clear that they had a clear game plan of being patient and smart with their attacking instincts. They didn't over commit in order to score quickly. Instead, they sat back and let Liverpool have the ball while looking to capitalize on the Red's high defensive line in the process. This patient approach led to a breakthrough for the Naples side. Dries Mertens took advantage of Liverpool's offside trap attempt and scored a calm one on one against Alisson Becker.
There was cohesion in the visitors' play. One got the feeling that they wanted to play for each other and overcome last year's disappointment of not being able to qualify for the Knockouts.