Liverpool, the champions of the previous season, began their 2022–23 Champions League campaign on Wednesday night by traveling to Napoli (September 7). Even while the Reds knew their Group A start would be challenging, few could have predicted how quickly they would crumble.
Jurgen Klopp’s team suffered a humiliating 4-1 loss in Naples after being overpowered by a flamboyant Napoli. Piotr Zielinski scored a brace, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Giovanni Simeone, and each scored one to give the home team a convincing victory. The only respite for the guests came from Luis Diaz.
Three minutes later, James Milner used his outstretched arm to block Zielinski’s shot from 12 yards, forcing the referee to give the home team a penalty. Alisson was sent the wrong way by Zielinski, who then comfortably struck the top-left corner.
Twelve minutes later, they were awarded another penalty after Virgil van Dijk fouled Osimhen, this time by the VAR. The Nigerian striker took it but was unable to finish because Alisson expertly parried away his feeble attempt.
Trent Alexander-Arnold struck a beautiful free kick that appeared headed for the top corner in the 22nd minute. The Englishman’s attempt was acrobatically deflected over the bar by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, who would not yield.
Nine minutes later, Anguissa successfully completed a one-two with Zielinski before positioning himself and doubling Napoli’s lead. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia played a pin-point pass for Giovanni in the 44th minute after eluding Alexander-Arnold and outmuscling Joe Gomez. The Argentine scored a goal from a tight angle to give Napoli a 3-0 lead.
Napoli finally won the match 4 -1, which was one of most humiliating results in the league under Klopp.
The following list includes five Liverpool players who performed very poorly during their dismal loss in Italy:
#5 Roberto Firmino
For the Reds’ opening Champions League match on Wednesday, Roberto Firmino was chosen over Darwin Nunez. Unfortunately for Klopp and company, the assured center-forward, who scored twice in a 9-0 rout at Bournemouth, was not present in Naples.
Firmino failed to generate any chances, had no shots that were on goal, lost three of four ground battles, and turned the ball over nine times against Napoli.
#4 Trent Alexander-Arnold
At least two of Napoli’s four goals on Wednesday would have been avoided if Alexander-Arnold had taken additional action. When Anguissa broke through Liverpool’s defense for Napoli’s second goal and was easily skipped over by Kvaratskhelia for their third goal, he declined to assist.
The right-back on Wednesday night dropped three of five ground battles, was outmuscled twice, gave up the ball 22 times, and missed eight crosses (of 15).
#3 James Milner
The captain struggled against Napoli, losing two of ten ground battles, giving up possession nine times, and committing four fouls, one of which resulted in a booking (10th minute foul on Anguissa). Klopp’s decision to give him 62 minutes on the field on Wednesday was unexpected.
#2 Joe Gomez
Gomez lost two ground battles, committed a foul, turned the ball over six times, and was rightfully substituted by Matip at the half. He also misplaced two of his four attempted long-ball deliveries.
#1 Mohamed Salah
In the 24th minute, Alexander-Arnold brilliantly played Salah through in the six-yard box, but surprisingly failed to control the delivery, squandering a fantastic chance for a goal.
He made no critical passes, misplaced all three of his crosses, and missed both of his long balls during his terrible delivery. Salah turned the ball over ten times, dropped all three of his duels, and completed just 13 correct passes before being hooked in the 62nd minute.