Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: 3 reasons why Liverpool lost | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
It's a fresh instalment of the annual extravaganza that is the UEFA Champions League. The defending champions, Liverpool, got their campaign kickstarted with a familiar away trip to the San Paolo Stadium in Naples. Carlo Ancelloti's Napoli beat the Reds last time out, and tonight they served more of the same.
Napoli may have beaten Liverpool 2-0, but the scoreline wasn't a picture-perfect depiction of the evening's battle. The game was end to end, with some resolute defending as well as goalkeeping heroics thrown in the mix. There were also botched counter-attacks and startling misses on both ends of the pitch, with the attacking players holding nothing back.
In the end, Liverpool lost their first game in a long time, as Napoli ruthlessly made the best of their opportunities late in the game, with a Dries Merten strike from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute turning the tide in favour of Gli Azzuri before Fernando Llorente put the game beyond Liverpool's reach deep in stoppage time.
In this article, we try to make sense of the events at the San Paolo Stadium.
#3 Napoli's resolute defence
It was truly a defensive masterclass, as Napoli's defenders snuffed out wave after wave of Liverpool attack. Kalidou Koulobaly, in particular, was in imperious form, as he read the game intelligently and put an end to various Liverpool attempts to breach the Napoli defence.
Gil Azzuri's goalkeeper, Alex Meret, was also on song. The 22-year-old made a couple of great saves, crucially keeping Napoli in the game. In the 21st minute, he saved a low drive from Sadio Mane, as Henderson's chip beat the Napoli defence, falling kindly for the Senegalese international. He also thwarted Mohamed Salah and Mane in the 65th and 74th minutes respectively.