Liverpool continued their abysmal start to the season with a 4-1 drubbing against Napoli in their UEFA Champions League group opener.
The Italian outfit managed to take the Liverpool defence apart on the night and Jurgen Klopp’s side were lucky not to concede a few more.
Napoli opened the scoring through Piotr Zielinski, who scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute. The spot-kick was awarded after a handball from James Milner. The Italian outfit doubled their advantage through Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in the 31st minute after a tidy exchange that cut the Liverpool defence open.
Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia caused all sorts of problems for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez down the right-hand side of the defence and created a number of opportunities for his teammates. The talented young Georgian winger set up a tap-in for his teammate Giovanni Simeone in the 44th minute to put the game beyond the Reds.
Napoli added to their advantage early on in the second half through Zielinski once again but the Reds managed to salvage some pride with the well-taken goal from Luis Diaz in the 49th minute.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 7, 2022
Klopp did make a number of changes after that and Liverpool improved marginally but they failed to reduce the deficit further and Napoli will be delighted with their comprehensive victory. Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at how the Liverpool players fared in their Champions League group opener against Napoli.
Alisson Becker: 6.5/10
The Brazilian goalkeeper had very little to do with the goals Liverpool conceded. However, he did produce an impressive performance and saved a penalty early on in the first half.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5/10
The Liverpool right-back has often been criticised for his defensive frailties, and he was exposed once again by the Napoli winger Kvaratskhelia. The Georgian attacker caused all sorts of problems for the right back with his pace and trickery.
Trent Alexander-Arnold now has 3 assists in his last 29 games for Liverpool.
His body language was not good at all tonight either. Are you worried about his form? pic.twitter.com/dm3YHH4YOA
— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) September 7, 2022
Joe Gomez: 0/10
The Liverpool centre-back had a nightmare outing against Napoli, and he was directly responsible for two of the four goals the Reds conceded. Gomez could have easily played a hand in conceding another goal, but Virgil van Dijk did well to make a goal-line clearance in the first half.
Virgil van Dijk: 5.5/10
The Dutchman failed to hit his usual lofty standards. He gave away a poor penalty in the first half with a rash tackle on Victor Osimhen and was dragged out of position a number of times throughout the game.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
The Scottish left-back was probably the pick of the defenders, and he looked reasonably solid at the back. However, he offered very little going forward.
James Milner: 0/10
It was a horror show from the experienced Liverpool midfielder, and he was pressed out of the game by Napoli. Milner gave away the penalty for the opening goal of the game as well. He tried to create some chances with his long passing but ended up giving the ball away for Napoli’s counter-attacks.
James Milner’s game by numbers vs. Napoli:
9 losses of possession
4 fouls committed
2/10 ground duels won
1 penalty conceded
1 time dribbled past
0/1 crosses completed
Tough night for the Liverpool captain. ? pic.twitter.com/doyCST1Hgn
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 7, 2022
The Brazilian defensive midfielder tried to gain control of the game for his side,, but he was outnumbered in the middle of the park and did not have any sort of impact on the game mainly due to the lack of support from his teammates.
Harvey Elliott: 6.5/10
The youngster is one of the few players who can come away from the game with his head held high. The talented midfielder worked hard throughout the game and tried to create chances for his teammates with his incisive passing.
Mohamed Salah: 5/10
The Egyptian had another disappointing outing, and he barely had a sniff in front of the coal. Salah worked hard on the night, but he was starved of service from his teammates, and the Napoli defenders dealt with him well.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
The Brazilian was handed a start in this game so that he can link up with the midfield and attack. However, Firmino was ineffective for most of his stay on the pitch.
Luis Diaz: 8/10
Luis Díaz vs Napoli:
89.7% passing accuracy
100% tackles won
5 duels won
2 chances created
2 shots on target
Liverpool’s MOTM ? pic.twitter.com/5VTRBpCDGH
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) September 7, 2022
The Colombian winger played with fire in his belly and scored the only goal of the game for Liverpool. He could have netted another goal in the second half with a well-executed header which was saved by Alex Meret. Diaz has been Liverpool’s best player this season, and he impressed against Napoli as well.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
The Spaniard was brought on in the second half to help Liverpool control the game, and he did not disappoint. Thiago certainly performed at a high level, and the Reds improved following his introduction.
? NEW: Thiago was on the field for 28 minutes but made six tackles – more than the starting midfield three and the two full-backs combined. He also won seven of his nine duels [78%]. Fabinho won just 2/8 [25%] and Milner won just 3/11 [27%]. #lfc [james pearce – the athletic] pic.twitter.com/mkY1rI7mvL
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) September 8, 2022
Darwin Nunez: 5/10
The big-money summer signing was brought on to help Liverpool score some goals but he barely had any opportunities in the final third.
Diogo Jota: 5/10
The Portuguese forward was brought on to add some cutting edge in the final third, but he failed to link up with his teammates and barely created any opportunities.
Arthur Melo: N/A
The deadline-day loan signing from Juventus was given a run out towards the end of the game, and he did showcase some neat and tidy passing in the midfield. However, Arthur came on too late to make any meaningful impact.
Joel Matip: 6/10
The experienced defender was brought on in place of Joe Gomez in the second half, and he helped Liverpool tighten up at the back slightly.