UEFA Champions League 2019-20: Liverpool 1-1 Napoli: 3 Reasons why Liverpool drew the game
Liverpool welcomed Napoli to Anfield for their UEFA Champions League Group E tie on Wednesday. Both sides were aware that a win could take them to the knockout stages of the tournament. However, depending on other the result of the RB Salzburg and Genk game, even a draw would have been enough to secure qualification for both the teams.
The Premier League side headed into the game sitting at the top of the Group with nine points and were on a run of 22 wins from the last 24 games in all competitions. This season, Jurgen Klopp’s men had been outstanding in all competitions once again, however, on Wednesday, they came face to face with their nemesis. Incidentally, Napoli were the only side who have beaten the Reds this season in normal time.
As such, Liverpool had revenge on their minds ahead of the game and their opposition’s poor recent form certainly made the Reds the firm favourite to gather all three points. However, despite the fact that the Serie A side were without a win in their last six games in all competitions, Jurgen Klopp was wary of the threat carried by Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The German manager, as such, named a strong team for the game.
Liverpool Starting XI: Alisson; Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner; Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah
Contrary to expectations, it was Napoli who took the lead in the 21st minute through Dries Mertens. Liverpool had the lion’s share of the possession but failed to find an equalizer before the break. In the second half, the home side finally drew level through Dejan Lovren’s header in the 65th minute. Liverpool rallied late for the winner, but the game ended 1-1. Here are three reasons why the Reds failed to secure all three points.
#3 Fabinho's injury
While Liverpool’s brilliant front three and marauding full-backs take most of the credit during games, one of the most vital cogs in Jurgen Klopp’s tactics is Fabinho, who silently keeps this team ticking. The Brazilian doesn’t just provide a shield to the backline, he also initiates attacks with his cross-field balls and dictates play from the deep.
Against Napoli too, Fabinho was just beginning to impact the game when he picked up an ankle injury in the 14th minute, after colliding with Hirving Lozano. He was ultimately replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum in the 18th minute and Liverpool missed the Brazilian badly for the rest of the game.