Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Napoli in the Champions League was, for Liverpool fans at least, not an enjoyable experience. The players looked lethargic, frequently misfired on simple passes, and failed to create anything of note going forward.
At times, it looked like they had shown up hoping for a nil-nil draw—something they very nearly still managed to get despite their generally poor play. And if the fans didn’t enjoy watching what was put on display, the players didn’t, either.
“We didn’t play well and they deserved to win,” Gini Wijnaldum said following the match. “They were calmer than us on the ball, they defended well and stopped us creating chances. It was not a good day for us. They deserved to win.”
It was a game that, had Liverpool won, they would have had one foot in the knockout rounds of the Champions League already. Instead now the group sees Napoli with four points after three games while Liverpool and PSG have three.
The remaining four group games will be a fight for qualification now, and Liverpool will need to be much better than they were on Wednesday night to advance. The more immediate problem, though, is Manchester City in the league on Sunday.
“We know what we can bring, we still have confidence,” Wijnaldum added. “But this was a reality check on how things must not go. It’s a good lesson for us to get better. We have to take it as a lesson and then we have to carry on.
“We wanted to rush things instead of keeping the ball and waiting for the moments. We have done it better this season, so we can do it—but we have to do it every game. That’s why we’re all so disappointed, because we expect more.”