Kalidou Koulibaly had a hell of game against Liverpool on the first go around. In fact, he was a stand out player for Napoli in front of the home crowd, and he had Mohamed Salah on lockdown throughout Liverpool’s largely toothless performance in Italy.
Of course, Anfield is a different animal altogether. The place has a mystique. An aura. A belief by players and crowd alike that the lads in Reds will drag themselves over the line, especially on Famous European Nights. Last night was no different.
“It was an important game, we knew they had to win,” Koulibaly explained to Sky Sports after the match.
“We could avoid that goal and we should have done more to score one. It went differently, now we will do our best in the Europa League
“Maybe, unconsciously, we feared Liverpool because we know they are very strong and that it’s not easy to play against them.
We have a strong team that can beat everyone, and we came close to scoring. A draw was enough, but we lost.”
That fear was realized, oddly, not on one of the numerous big chances on the night, but on two moments of brilliance—one each from Mo Salah and Alisson Becker.
Instead of continuing on in the Champions League, Koulibaly and Napoli are left to wonder, just as so many teams have in the past, how Anfield got the best of them. We can’t explain it either, but that fear was completely justified.