Napoli 4 - 1 Liverpool
Napoli: Zielinski 5’ (pen) 47’, Anguissa 31’, Simeone 44’
Reds: Diaz 49’, Player XX’, Player XX’
The Reds are hardly bouncing into this tie after a sub-par start to the season. And starting off the Champions League Group Stage at a stadium where the Reds have only managed a solitary point and zero goals in three tries isn’t the most obvious way to snap us out of our slump.
Anyway, if the Reds can get anything out of Napoli tonight, it can only be a bonus, and will likely make the rest of the group much easier to navigate. Honestly, I could do without any last-ditch Anfield Heroics in the final match.
Jurgen Klopp sends out arguably his strongest side (of the players who are not out injured). Roberto Firmino gets the nod over Darwin Núñez up top, and the rest is as expected.
Alisson gets away with one right from the off. The Brazilian, who is usually so reliable in his sweeper-keeper duties, is second best to a ball at the edge of the area. He pulls out of the challenge, and in doing so allows a free look in on goal. Thankfully, the effort from a tight angle can only find the outside of the post. Liverpool are lucky early.
Penalty. James Milner makes an excellent save. And gives away a penalty in the process.
Goal. Well, Napoli have easily beaten Liverpool’s offside trap about three times in the opening four minutes, so bad things were bound to transpire. Zielinski sends Ali the wrong way and Liverpool once again find themselves trying to dig out of a hole that they dug for themselves.
James Milner goes into the book for a wild midfield challenge. He could easily be off if the ref had awarded a yellow for the handball in the box. It is...not a great start from the Reds!
Penalty. This one was given by VAR for, honestly, an incredibly soft pen. There was contact, no doubt, but the ball had already gone. And Van Dijk gets a yellow as well. This is great.
SAVE! But Ali saves the effort and Napoli sky the rebound! Liverpool are, against all odds, somehow still sort of in this. Now, please stop it with the idiocy.
Van Dijk clears one off the line, after Joe Gomez got caught out, and yes, Liverpool are really, ridiculously lucky to only be down 1-0. It is really painful to watch.
Goal. And there’s the second one. It could easily be 4 or 5 by now. Gomez is caught out again, losing the ball instead of passing it back to Ali or just out to touch. And then the simpliest throughball plays Anguissa in, who finishes with ease.
Goal. Another mistake by Gomez, and that should wrap up one of the worst first halves of Jurgen Klopp’s reign.
I don’t know what the answer is here. There are problems all over the pitch. Liverpool are absolutely toothless in attack and are a complete mess at the back. Klopp could probably use all 5 of his subs at halftime and still need extra subs.
Klopp shows restraint, deciding to only bring on Joel Matip for Gomez. Honestly though, any or all of Fabinho, Milner, Salah, or Alexander-Arnold could’ve gotten the hook at the half and it would’ve been fair.
Goal. Holy fuck. It’s as straight forward as it gets. A simple chipped through ball, easily beating our offside trap, leaving Ali 1 v 1 again. He saves the initial effort but can do nothing about the rebound. This is DIRE.
Goal? GOAL! Diaz decides to go at it alone, and curls one into the far corner with a strike from distance. Christ, Luis, save those for when we need them.
Klopp makes some more changes: brining on Diogo Jota, Núñez, and Thiago for Salah, Firmino, and Milner, respectively. No pressure Darwin, but it’s a good time for a hat trick. Some minutes later Arthur Melo makes his Liverpool debut. Go get ‘em, tiger.
That was horrible and I have nothing more to say.