Even defeat had appeared to offer an omen for Liverpool when, a short drive from Vesuvius, they left Naples badly burnt by a 2-0 defeat at the start of this tournament. They’d lost there last year and gone on to lift the Champions League trophy.
After trailing for more than 40 minutes on Wednesday night, Dejan Lovren’s headed equalizer secured the draw that an improved second half performance warranted, though it was a struggle – demonstrating how complex and fragile a grip on a Champions League campaign can be.
The dropped points leave Liverpool requiring a draw from their last fixture against free-scoring Salzburg if they’re to succeed in a third successive Champions League final: level of tension they could certainly do without.
The Austrians’ Norwegian forward Erling Haaland became the first teenager in the history of the elite European competition to score in 5 consecutive appearances.
Their emphatic 4-1 win against group E whipping boys Genk took their tally in group E to 16 in 5 games.
Napoli, who retain qualification hopes of their own, illustrate the hazards which lurk behind the big beasts of the competition.
They arrived here beset by internal strife – players penalized, a coaching camp spurned – yet displayed the same intransigence Liverpool always find once up against them.
It had been 17 days since an ambitious team in sky blue were place to the sword by Liverpool in this stadium but the team wearing those colors this time displayed qualities that Manchester city lacked.
Defensive qualities. A capacity to tackle, to block and form 2 disciplined banks of resistance,
There was the wonderfully balanced Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly rising to go away Jordan Henderson’s early dangerous cross and later repelling the singular exquisite liverpool moment of the first half: a return ball from Roberto Firmino’s heel that sent Sadio Mane into the left hand side of the box.
There was the just about prone Mario Rui taking the ball from Mohamed salat – who struggled to form any impact – just as the Egyptian threatened to get past him.
The worst excesses of power unit – as much of a plague in Europe as in the Premier League – created a farce of the gap goal that illustrated that the Italians had brought a heavy counter-attacking dimension, too.
Two separate reviews were needed when Dries Mertens accelerated past a statuesque Liverpool defense in pursuit of Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s 20-yard ball and allowed it to require one bounce before like an expert drilling it past Alisson on the acute.
There defense was a massive turn out during the game Liverpool is very good
There was a suspicion – undue – that the Belgian had fouled virgil van Dijk as he won the ball aerially in the initial place. Van Dijk had simply landed awkwardly on his right foot when the 2 had leapt up together.
Dejan Lovren had merely did not cowl Mertens’ run.
Hirving Lozano and Mertens were a constant threat in Carlo Ancelotti’s throwback 4-4-2, making Lovren look uncomfortable on many occasions.
Fabinho’s early departure with a freak ankle injury, sustained once forward Lozano fell into him, depleted Liverpool’s Centre. Andy robertson came second in the match-up with Di Lorenzo down Liverpool’s left.
Klopp’s mounting agitation over what he perceived as Mertens’ foul in the build-up to the goal and an infringement on Sadio Mane in the box saw him booked in the closing minutes of the first [*fr1]. His sense of injustice did not really seem valid.