Keeping Promise 👑🛡️
The hosts entered the battle in fine form and were eyeing a famous victory over last season’s runners-up. They won three and drawn two in their first five Serie A games, and Luciano Spalletti was eager to continue this today and get off to a fast start.
He said before the match,
The atmosphere surrounding the ChampionsLeague is fantastic. We've made it this far, thanks to our brilliant 2021/22. One mistake can prove costly in this competition. We'll give our all and deliver a performance worthy of the Champions League. We set out to win every game in which we take part.
Napoli made two changes following an impressive 2-1 away win over Lazio: Rui and Lozano made way for Olivera and Politano.
NAPOLI XI (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Amir Rrahmani, Kim Min-Jae, Mathias Olivera; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka; Matteo Politano, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia; Victor Osimhen.
SUBS: Gianluca Gaetano, Giovanni Simeone, Giacomo Raspadori, Alessandro Zanoli, Eljif Elmas, Alessio Zerbin, Leo Ostigard, Mario Rui, Hirving Lozano, Juan Jesus, Salvatore Sirigu, Tanguy Ndombele.
Liverpool, meanwhile, were still shaking off the rust following last year’s disappointment in the Champions League final. They’re seventh in the Premier League following just two wins from their first six games, and they were desperate to kickstart their season with a statement win today.
Liverpool made three changes following their 0-0 draw with Everton: Tsimikas, Fabio Carvalho, and Nunez dropped out for Robertson, Milner, and Firmino.
LIVERPOOL XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joseph Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Harvey Elliott, Fabinho, James Milner; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz.
SUBS: Stefan Bajcetic, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Harvey Davies, Adrian, Thiago Alcantara, Arthur, Darwin Nunez, Jota.
Within just two minutes, Napoli came inches from taking the lead, throwing everything toward the Reds. Kvaratskhelia sized up Alexander-Arnold and drove into the box before cutting it back to Zielinski. The midfielder fired a shot from 12 yards, and Milner stretched out an arm to block it!! The referee quickly awards a deserved penalty. Zielinski stepped up and confidently sent Alisson the wrong way before firing it into the top left corner!
Before Liverpool could come out from the shock, they conceded another penalty. Van Dijk was shown a yellow card for his foul on Osimhen, but he was lucky to still be on the pitch, considering there wasn't an attempt to play the ball. His yellow card became a cheap cost to pay when Osimhen produced a tame spot-kick that Alisson easily pushed away. It was a strange decision for Osimhen to take the penalty.
Liverpool finally found a little rhythm since Alisson's penalty save, but they didn't realize things just started to get uncomfortable. Napoli doubled their lead with a superb goal. Kvaratskhelia snatched it off Gomez and dashed to the byline. He rolled it to Zambo Anguissa, who played a sharp one-two with Zielinski to find himself clean through on goal at an angle! He took a touch before slotting it in at the near post!
Napoli were lethal, and they cut through Liverpool at will: they had already produced eight shots inside the box before the break. Napoli withstood a succession of corners as they looked to take this lead into the break.
It was a sensational assist from Kvaratskhelia to hit Liverpool to the ground. Zambo Anguissa spined past his marker and released Kvaratskhelia. The attacker skipped past Alexander-Arnold with ease before outmuscling Gomez and hitting it across the face of the goal, where Simeone's on hand to tap it in!
Napoli thrashed Liverpool in the first half at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. The hosts played at a relentless tempo, making Liverpool uncomfortable throughout.
Well, Napoli wasn't done yet. GOALL!! ZIELINSKI! 4-0. It was not even two minutes in the second half; Napoli got another. Zambo Anguissa exploited Liverpool's high line again with a superb through ball into the channel. Simeone latched onto it and squared it for Zielinski, who fired a strike at Alisson before dinking the rebound over the goalkeeper!
Napoli took Liverpool apart in the first half: they produced 11 shots and 3.28 xG. And the second half was also not kind to Liverpool. They desperately needed to tighten up to prevent this from becoming even more embarrassing. They found a quick solution through Diaz. GOAL! 4-1. Liverpool pulled one back. Robertson fed Diaz on the edge of the box, and the attacker darted inside before bending a superb curling effort into the far corner from 20 yards!
Liverpool was throwing plenty of players forward to try and get back into this, and it's presenting Napoli with chances on the break. Liverpool tightened up a little since the break, but they didn't carry much threat. They failed to produce a shot inside the box in the second half. Liverpool continued to search for a route back into this game, but their hopes remained a hope only.
The result means that Napoli made a fast start in Group A and climbed second. Liverpool will now be in third.