Liverpool was crushed by Napoli in their first Champions League Group A encounter on a night to forget in Italy.
At the break, Jurgen Klopp’s team trailed 3-0, but it might have been worse when Alisson saved a penalty and Virgil van Dijk stopped a shot at the goal line.
In the fifth minute, after Victor Osimhen had struck the post, Piotr Zielinski gave Napoli the lead from the penalty spot.
Before Zielinski scored again after the interval, Napoli’s advantage had been increased by Andre-Frank Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone.
Joe Gomez had difficulty controlling Osimhen in the first half, so it was a relief when the Napoli striker hobbled out before halftime due to an injury.
Simeone, who took his place, scored in his Champions League debut after three minutes as Liverpool was utterly taken aback by the home team’s persistent forward pressure.
The visitors had opportunities; Van Dijk’s header was well saved. Mohamed Salah sent a shot at the goalie, and a teaser cross dangerously deflected Harvey Elliott’s leg at the back post.
However, Liverpool was careless with the ball—even Salah mishandled a great pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold when well-positioned in the box. And an exuberant Napoli team rewarded their defensive errors.
Zielinski’s close-range strike to make it 4-0 ended hopes of a comeback in the second half.
Although Luis Diaz curled in for an instant reaction and just missed with a diving header, Liverpool was rightfully defeated.
Day-of-deadline signing Late in the second half, Arthur Melo made his professional debut. At the same time, fellow midfielder Thiago returned from injury to make a brief appearance.
But Liverpool will return home after winning only two of their previous seven games.