Champions League: Napoli thrash Liverpool while Spurs defeat Marseille

(Football news) Liverpool got off to a disastrous start in the Champions League after being humiliated 4-1 by Napoli at the Diego Maradona Stadium. The Reds were on the backfoot right from kickoff with Victor Osimhen hitting the post inside the first minute before James Milner’s sloppy defending resulted in a penalty for Napoli in the fifth minute which was duly converted by Piotr Zielinski. To make matters worse, a badly timed tackle by Virgil Van Dijk resulted in another penalty after a VAR review but Osimhen was denied by Alisson, much to the relief of the travelling supporters. 

However, Napoli struck again 13 minutes later when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia outmuscled Joe Gomez and provided the assist to Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa who found the back of the net. If that wasn't all, substitute Giovanni Simeone, who replaced an injured Osimhen scored from a pinpoint cross just before halftime in what can only be described as terrible defending by Liverpool to leave their man unmarked. Zielinski then netted his second goal two minutes into the second half with Liverpool managing to get a consolation goal through Luis Diaz two minutes later (49th minute). It was the heaviest defeat for an English Premier League side since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Internazionale in 2003-04.

Speaking after the match, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “It was really tough to take but I would say not that difficult to explain. Firstly, Napoli played really well and we didn't. That is the first explanation for the defeat. The two penalties we concede, they were both a little unlucky. The next two goals we concede are handed to them on a plate. That is not cool and we should have defended better in the first place and, of course, in the last moment as well.

“We were not compact defensively or offensively. Until Thiago entered the pitch I cannot remember one counter-pressing situation. The reason for that is that we are just too wide. You could see it on the pitch. We were not working as a team. That is why we lose games. We play in the strongest league in the world and have a tough Champions League group too. We have to play in three days against Wolves. If Wolves saw that game tonight they would not stop laughing and would say it is the perfect moment." 

In another fixture, Tottenham Hotspur defeated 10 man Marseille 2-0 in the Champions League opening fixture. It had been two years since Spurs last competed in Europe’s top flight club competition and the hosts couldn’t find a breakthrough until the 76th minute when new signing Richarlison found the back of the net. The Brazilian went on to score another five minutes later to give Spurs some breathing room and eliminate any possibility of a comeback. The visitors looked comfortable in the fixture until they were reduced to 10 men in the 47th minute when Chancel Mbemba received a red card for denying Heung-Min Son with a clear goalscoring opportunity with a foul. It was a performance Antonio Conte will be happy with as Spurs looked solid defensively and will look to build on this performance in the fixtures ahead.

Speaking after the match, Spurs manager Antonio Conte said “Today we expected a really tough game. Marseille are a physical team but with good quality. In the first half we lost a lot of duels. When you play against this type of team, really aggressive, it's important you can keep the ball. Second half we did this. Marseille are a good team. For us it was important to get the three points and start well in this competition. We need to take confidence. They were unbeaten this season. Richarlison is in good form. We have to play in two days against Manchester City. Now we have to try to rest and recover well. City played yesterday so they have one more day to rest. In my opinion that's very important."

Also read: Mbappe and Halaand fire their teams to victory on UCL opening day


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