Champions League Opener: Napoli Thrash Holders Liverpool

Champions League Opener Napoli liverpool
NAPLES, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 17: Hirving Lozano of Napoli takes on Joel Matip of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo on September 17, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool began the defence of their Champions League crown on a losing note as Dries Mertens’ penalty and Fernando Llorente’s injury-time strike handed Napoli a 2-0 victory.

On a balmy night at the intimidating Stadio San Paolo, Liverpool fell behind in the 82nd minute when Mertens converted from the spot after Andy Robertson had upended Jose Callejon in the area.

Substitute Llorente then took advantage of a mistake from Virgil Van Dijk to bag his first goal for Napoli after joining them earlier this month.

The Reds have started their Premier League campaign with five successive victories but largely struggled for composure in their Group E opener, while they lacked a clinical edge on a night where they were barracked throughout by boisterous home support.

They were indebted to a couple of crucial saves from goalkeeper Adrian for keeping the scores level and, though Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah went close for the visitors, their errors in the later stages proved costly.

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This was their second defeat in Naples inside a year, having gone all the way in Europe’s elite club competition despite losing all three matches away from Anfield in the group stage last season.

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