Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: ‘Slap in the face’ will do Reds some good – Mark Lawrenson


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From Mark Lawrenson
Pundit and former Liverpool defender
Sometimes that is not, although liverpool’s late defeat by Napoli has been a real smack in the face.
The unwanted of jurgen Klopp had forgotten what it felt like to shed and have coasted through their five Premier League matches this year.
This was a reminder of what happens in top notch soccer in case you don’t take your opportunities and lose your concentration not or if you are winners of Europe.
In the seasons I’ve played for Liverpool when we started that our defence of the European Cup – 1981-82 and 1984-85 – I had been thinking’crikey, we’re here in order to be shot at’ not’ah, we are the best group in Europe’.
Yes, we might have been the best the prior May, however that means nothing in September.
That’s something Klopp’s side have to deal with, plus they need to keep churning the consequences out. It is a long road back to this season’s closing in Istanbul.
Tuesday’s defeat was the kind of lesson every team requires sometimes about the level you want to remain at to keep winning things, and it is far from a tragedy it has come in Liverpool’s first game of this Champions League campaign, against the best team they’ll face in Group E.
The Reds didn’t work in the San Paolo Stadium at their standard in defence or attack, but I still do not think this outcome is going to affect their progress.
After dropping all three of their away group games last year they only made it into the last 16 from the skin of the teeth.
But that was when they had Paris-St Germain within their group as well as Napoli. This time around, the opposition is not the identical calibre and that I do not see Liverpool completing below Salzburg or Genk.
That’s the biggest reason why I visit Tuesday’s defeat as a minor set-back, since I am totally sure they will still qualify.
A 0-0 draw would have been a great outcome for Liverpool, and they were less than 10 minutes away from getting it – until things unravelled at the back.
I’m far from convinced it was a punishment for the first target of Napoli – the first time that I watched it, I thought it was the decision that is appropriate, but the more I see it that the less I agree it should have been granted.
However, it was a challenge by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon, that gave the referee the chance to award a spot-kick at the first place.
It killed the game entirely when Napoli scored their second goal in injury time, and Virgil van Dijk was responsible for that.
When they are in possession in the back to concede out of a mistake like that is very unlike Liverpool also Van Dijk.
So two errors cost Klopp’s side, however I do think they were too bad until there at the back.
They have been playing with a gifted Napoli team with lots of attacking purpose, who pressured Adrian into making some good saves – especially his stop by Dries Mertens shortly .
Nonetheless, it isn’t as when Liverpool struggled for 90 minutes, I am pretty sure he will think the largest problem at the night when it is analysed by Klopp was at the end of the pitch.
Liverpool probably saved their lacklustre attacking performance of the season.
Part of this has been down to the resistance; Napoli were powerful at the rear, with Kalidou Koulibaly.
But Liverpool must have done better if they came and it was frustrating to find that the ball go astray often when they did have opportunities.
Mohamed Salah forced one brilliant save from Alex Meret however, when they got to some very promising places overall, they were not clinical enough.
If this occurs, you are always going to be penalized when you are currently confronting a team as great – which is exactly what occurred.
Mark Lawrenson was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
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