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


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By Mark Lawrenson
MOTD pundit and former Liverpool defender
The late defeat by Napoli of liverpool was a slap in the face, but sometimes that is not the worst thing that can happen to a group.
This season has coasted through their five Premier League matches and had forgotten what it felt like to drop.
This was a reminder of what happens in top-level football if you lose your focus in defence, if you’re winners of Europe or never and don’t take your chances.
Liverpool I’ve played in the seasons when we began that our defence of the European Cup – 1981-82 and 1984-85 – I had been thinking’crikey, we’re here to be taken ‘ not’ah, we are the best team in Europe’.
Yes, we’ve been the best the previous May, but this means nothing in September.
That is something the side of Klopp need to address, plus they need to keep screaming the results out. It is a long road back to the season’s final in Istanbul.
Tuesday’s defeat was the kind of lesson every team requires sometimes about the amount you want to remain in to maintain winning things, and it is far from a disaster that it has come in Liverpool’s first game of the Champions League campaign, contrary to the best team they will face in Group E.
The Reds didn’t perform at the San Paolo Stadium at their standard standard in defence or attack, but I still don’t believe this result will affect their progress.
Last year they made it by the skin of the teeth to the last 16 after dropping all three of their away group games.
But this was when they had Paris-St Germain in their group in addition to Napoli. This time round, the other opposition is simply not the exact identical calibre and that I do not see Liverpool finishing under Genk or Salzburg.
That is the biggest reason I visit Tuesday’s defeat as merely a, since I am totally sure they will qualify.
A draw would have been a great result for Liverpool, and they have been much less than 10 minutes apart from getting it until things unravelled in the back.
I’m far from sure it was a penalty for the primary goal of Napoli – the very first time I saw it, I thought it was the appropriate decision, but the longer I find it the less I agree it ought to have been granted.
Nevertheless, it was a challenge by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon, that lent the referee the opportunity to award a spot-kick in the first location.
It killed the game completely After Napoli scored their second goal in injury time, and Virgil van Dijk was obviously accountable for this.
When they’re in possession in the back, to concede from a mistake like that is quite unlike Liverpool generally, also Van Dijk notably.
So two errors cost the negative of Klopp, but that I still do not really think they had been too bad at the back until that point.
They played against a gifted Napoli team with plenty of goal, who forced Adrian into creating some good saves – especially his stop from Dries Mertens after half-time.
But it is not as if Liverpool struggled for 90 minutes, I am sure he will think the largest problem at the night when Klopp investigations it was at the end of the pitch.
Liverpool likely saved their lacklustre attacking performance of the season for the team they have played thus far.
Part of this has been down to the opposition; Napoli were quite strong at the back, with Kalidou Koulibaly particularly impressive.
But Liverpool should have done better when they came and it was irritating to see the ball go astray often when they did have opportunities.
Mohamed Salah forced one save however, overall, they were just not clinical enough if they got into some rather promising positions.
If this occurs, whenever you are facing a team as great you are always going to be punished – which is precisely what happened.
Mark Lawrenson was talking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
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