Dries Mertens’ penalty and Fernando Llorente’s late aim following an uncharacteristic Virgil van Dijk error consigned the Reds to a fourth successive defeat on the street within the Champions League group levels.
Liverpool got here into the match in tremendous kind and with an air of invincibility, successful all 5 of its Premier League video games to this point this season and exhibiting no indicators of a Champions League hangover.
However defending the European crown will not be straightforward; just one membership within the competitors’s historical past has efficiently retained its Champions League title, Actual Madrid on two events.
Nevertheless, Liverpool will definitely not be panicking — maybe some will even see this as a great omen. On its solution to lifting the title final season, Jurgen Klopp’s aspect narrowly escaped the group levels regardless of dropping all three of its matches away from residence.
The remainder, as they are saying, is historical past.
However Klopp will know his aspect wants to enhance, particularly away from residence, as there are solely so many magical nights will probably be in a position to conjure up at Anfield.
“First half we performed some great things,” captain Jordan Henderson advised BT Sport. “Simply that final bit we have been lacking at the moment. At residence Napoli are a great aspect and they will create some possibilities.
“The errors for the objectives we have to enhance on, general we may be higher after all and we’ll take accountability and transfer ahead.”
Within the first half, Napoli was by far the higher aspect and had the ball within the internet early on.
The Stadio San Paolo, Napoli’s famed crumbling colosseum, erupted as Mertens headed residence from Adrian’s save, solely to fall quiet after seeing the linesman’s flag raised for an apparent offside.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti may have been delighted with the depth proven by his aspect on a sweltering night time in Naples.
The second half was much more even and Liverpool did finally get a foothold within the recreation to start dominating.
The tempo of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane was additionally proving to be a headache for Napoli on the counterattack, with the Senegalese ahead squandering a wonderful alternative to play his teammate in on aim.
Alex Meret brilliantly tipped away a Salah shot, although that save was arguably bettered by one from Adrian, who one way or the other clawed the ball away from his aim to disclaim Mertens.
Finally, Napoli’s breakthrough got here considerably in opposition to the run of play, as Andy Robertson dangled out a drained leg that Jose Callejon obligingly fell over.
On second viewing, it regarded as if the Spaniard quite jumped to the bottom however VAR deemed the referee had not made a “clear and apparent error” so did not overturn the choice.
“I noticed it now and for me I believed it was clear and apparent not a penalty,” Klopp advised BT Sport. “As a result of Callejon jumps earlier than there was any contact.
“There have been alternatives, this was a a lot better recreation than we performed away final season and misplaced within the final minute.
“We had numerous counterattacks and did not end them off, that is the issue. Within the second half we had this wild recreation that killed everyone on the pitch. Then we began controlling once more and conceded the penalty.”
Mertens’ coronary heart would have skipped a beat seeing Adrian get a robust hand to his spot kick, but it surely wasn’t sufficient to forestall the ball from discovering the nook of the web.
With Liverpool chasing the sport, Van Dijk tried to cross the ball out of protection solely to put it into the trail of Llorente to roll the ball previous Adrian.
That aim would have felt notably candy for a person on the dropping Tottenham workforce in final season’s Champions League closing.
Defeat means Liverpool set the undesirable file of being the primary defending champion to lose its first Champions League match the next season since AC Milan in 1994.