Napoli completed an act of demolition as a red-faced Liverpool side stumbled upon a 4-1 defeat on Wednesday evening.
James Milner’s handball in the opening fifth minute of the game provided the hosts with an early penalty. Piotr Zielinski broke the deadlock in what was just the beginning of the bloodbath.
A vigilant Victor Osimhen earned another penalty off Virgil van Dijk’s foul inside the box. However, the striker’s shot got outstandingly saved by Alisson Becker.
A few minutes later, Joe Gomez got robbed by Osimhen, who squared the ball to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. But the Georgian forward could not finish the move in style as Van Dijk pulled off a goalline clearance. A tidy bit of exchange between Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski saw the former extending Napoli’s lead.
Although Osimhen had to leave the field with an injury, his substitute, Giovanni Simeone, notched up his maiden in his debut Champions League appearance before the end of the first half.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Zielinski put the rebound past Alisson’s gloves. A reaction was needed from the visitors. Luis Díaz gave them a lifeline, with the Colombian’s right-footed inswinger opening the account for the Reds. But it was never going to be enough as Napoli managed to hold onto the three-goal lead for the remainder of the match.
Here are the player ratings from Napoli’s mighty victory against the 19-time Premier League champions in the opening round of the Champions League 2022/23 group stage matches.
Napoli (4-3-3): Alex Meret (6.5), Di Lorenzo (6.5), Rrahmani (7), Kim (6.5), Olivera (6.5); Anguissa (8), Lobotka (7); Politano (6.5), Zielinski (8), Kvaratskhelia (7); Osimhen (6).
Substitutes: Simeone (7), Zerbin (6), Lozano (6), Elmas (N/A), Mario Rui (N/A)
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson (5.5); Alexander-Arnold (4), Gómez (4), Van Dijk (5), Robertson (5.5); Elliot (5.5), Fabinho (5.5), Milner (4.5); Salah (5), Firmino (5), Díaz (7).
Substitutes: Matip (6), Núñez (5.5), Jota (5.5), Thiago (6), Arthur (N/A)
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder