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’s not, although the overdue defeat by Napoli of liverpool has been a smack in the face.
Jurgen Klopp’s unwanted had forgotten what it felt like to reduce and have coasted through their five Premier League matches this season.
This was a reminder of what happens in top-level football in case you don’t take your opportunities and also lose your focus in defence, maybe not or if you’re winners of Europe.
For Liverpool I played in the seasons when we started our defence of the Cup – 1984-85 and 1981-82 – that I was thinking’crikey, we are here in order to be shot at’ not’ah, we’re the best team in Europe’.
Yes, we’ve become the very best the prior May, however this means nothing in September.
That is some thing the side of Klopp have to address, and they need to keep screaming the outcomes out. It is a very long road back to this season’s closing in Istanbul.
Tuesday’s defeat was the sort of lesson every team needs periodically about the level you want to stay in to maintain winning matters, and it is far from a tragedy it has come in Liverpool’s first match of this Champions League campaign, contrary to the best team they will face in Group E.
The Reds did not work at their standard in attack or defence at the San Paolo Stadium, however I do not think this outcome will affect their progress to the stage.
Last year they just made it from the skin of their teeth to the last 16 after losing all three of their off group matches.
But that was when they’d Paris-St Germain within their group in addition to Napoli. This time round, the opposition is not the same calibre and I simply don’t see Liverpool finishing below Salzburg or Genk.
That is the biggest reason why I visit the defeat of Tuesday as only a, because I am sure they will still qualify.
A 0-0 draw would have been a good outcome for Liverpool, and they have been significantly much less than 10 minutes apart from getting it until things unravelled in the back.
I am far from sure it had been a penalty for Napoli’s primary goal – the very first time I saw it, I thought it was the decision that is right, but the longer I find it that the less I agree it should have been granted.
But it was a challenge by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon, which lent the chance to the referee.
It killed the match completely when Napoli scored their second goal in injury time, and Virgil van Dijk was accountable.
If they are in possession at the back to concede from a mistake like that is very unlike Liverpool normally, also Van Dijk.
Two mistakes cost Klopp’s side, however I still don’t actually think they were too bad until that point at the back.
They have been playing against a Napoli group with plenty of attacking intention, who forced Adrian into making some good saves – especially his halt from Dries Mertens .
Nonetheless, it is not as if Liverpool fought for 90 minutes, when Klopp diagnoses it, I am pretty sure he will think the biggest problem at the night was at the end of the pitch.
Liverpool saved their most lacklustre attacking performance of this season for the very best team they’ve played thus far.
Part of this was down to the opposition; Napoli were strong at the back, together with Kalidou Koulibaly striking.
But Liverpool ought to have done better if they came ahead, and it was frustrating to observe that the ball go so often when they did have opportunities.
Mohamed Salah compelled one brilliant save from Alex Meret however, if they got to some quite promising positions overall, they were simply not clinical enough.
If this occurs, when you are facing a group as good you’re going to be penalized – which is just what happened.
Mark Lawrenson was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
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