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Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Three talking points as Napoli register a controversial victory

Bengaluru, Sept. 18: New season, new match but the result from last season at San Paolo did not change as Liverpool were not able to break the duck in Naples during their opening game succumbing to a 2-0 loss.

With the score tied at 0-0 until the 80th minute, the Reds looked set for a share of the points in their first group game of the new season but were undone by the late goals - the first, a controversial Dries Mertens penalty after Andy Robertson was judged to have tripped Joe Callejon; the second scored by Fernando Llorente after a rare defensive error by Virgil van Dijk.

Here are the three talking points from the game:

1) Controversial VAR call

The full-time score may look as the home side dominated the match however Liverpool were not second in any category. They matched every step of Napoli till a controversial call which put the visitors in a rough spot to come back into the game.

In the 80th minute, Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson got the piece of the ball to clear it. However, Napoli forward Jose Callejon appears to play for it, and he certainly wins it, throwing himself into Robertson and going down receiving the reward. At first glance, it looked like a blatant penalty as Robertson let his foot out. But through multiple reviews later it was seen that the call was harsh. It was a borderline decision and the referee's decision stood to put Liverpool on the receiving end.

2) Misfiring front three

Klopp would be miffed with the number of opportunities missed by his side. Liverpool is known for its profligacy but tonight was nothing but an abysmal performance upfront. The trinity of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah simply couldn’t get their game collectively for large extents, often individually and certainly linking up with one another.

Firmino was the most wasteful among the three. Statistics don't lie; with 13 shots from Liverpool, only four were on target. Firmino was guilty on two occasions while Sadio Mane was hugely frustrating on the night. Salah was probably the best of the mess, going close on two occasions but failed to achieve his final ball.

3) Adrian stood up to the test

Playing as the understudy of one of the best keepers of the world at the moment, Alisson as well for the Champions of Europe, since the start of the pressure has been on the former West ham keeper is immense. But it looks like he is ready to pass it on with flying colours every time.

There were two solid stops by him from Fabian Ruiz in the first half from the game. But the real example came five minutes into the second half when the Liverpool goalkeeper somehow negated Dries Mertens at his near post. It was a remarkable save, to say the least. He couldn't do much about either Mertens' late penalty or Fernando Llorente's soft injury-time second. He has had safe hands throughout and his distributing was also on point. Going by his performance, Klopp will surely be in no rush to call back Alisson until he's absolutely ready.

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Story first published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 13:02 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 18, 2019
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