Double from Zielinski and goals from Anguissa and Simeone. Spalletti’s team left no chance for Klopp’s Reds
The Naples has scrambled the Liverpool beating the European runners-up 4-1 in the debut of the Champions League 2022/23. At the Maradona there was no history with Spalletti’s men – complete with a pole and penalty missed by Osimhen – already three goals ahead at half-time. Zielinski he unlocked the match on a penalty in the 5 ‘, then Anguissa and Simeone they signed the extension. At the beginning of recovery again Zielinski dropped the poker a few minutes before the net Luis Diaz for Klopp’s Reds.
There was no story, but not even for a minute and in the case of Napoli-Liverpool 4-1 It’s the pure truth. After 42 seconds of play, Alisson’s post – easily jumped by Osimhen thrown deep – resounded the charge, setting fire to the Maradona and kicking off the show staged by Spalletti’s Azzurri. A perfect work in four acts, sorry goals, with emotions in crescendo and twists always tinged with blue for good (the goals) and for evil (the wrong penalty and the goals devoured empty net). Spalletti gave Klopp a lesson, very heavy but important and not only in terms of qualification.
From the point of view of performance obviously the numbers speak, starting from the match report. But it is from that of character, determination and above all the technique that the Naples he amazed everyone by fielding a practically perfect test. The Liverpool vice-champion of Europe, certainly not in his best historical moment but still formidable, he was immediately cornered with ferocity and perseverance, without fear and after the immediate post the two penalties in the first quarter of an hour of play were the the result of an important aggression against the masters of Gegenpressing.
At 5 ‘Zielinski unlocked the match with a penalty after Milner’s handball that had deflected a sure shot, then Osimhen he did not do the same at 17 ‘allowing himself to be hypnotized by Alisson after joking Van Dijk in the area. Not bad, because the Reds’ defensive line was pierced with disarming ease throughout the first half and the opportunities came plentiful for Napoli. At 28 ‘the same Osimhen freed Kvaratskhelia in the area with the goalkeeper out of the poles, exalting Van Dijk’s split save, while at 31 ‘the triangle requested and closed with Zielinski at the edge of the area led to 2-0’s Zambo Anguissa. Osimhen’s injury in the 40th minute could have cooled his enthusiasm but no, in the perfect work his replacement, the Cholito Simeone at the first ball of his career in the Champions League he found the 3-0, complete with tears of joy.
And in the recovery? The possibility or even the thought of an Instabullian comeback from 0-3 to 3-3 was wiped out in just two more minutes. Zielinskigood at taking advantage of Simeone’s assist again for the 4-0 which lasted another 120 seconds, just enough time to Luis Diaz to justify the trip in the shadow of his Vesuvius and all of Liverpool. In the following forty minutes, in fact, Napoli managed to contain the Reds’ attempts at business, even with exchange rates, bringing a historic result and applause to the fore.
Osimhen 7 – In doubt until the end he becomes dangerous already after a few seconds by hitting the post after having dribbled Alisson. He sends Gomez and Van Dijk mad, then misses a penalty that dirties his performance which however lasts less than in the past. The muscle injury forces him to change.
Kvaratskhelia 7.5 – From “perfect stranger” to modern football prodigy. The one against Liverpool is the most important stage of his career and if the wrong goal hitting Van Dijk on the line becomes a negligible detail, it is because both before and after he lights up Maradona with crazy plays, with enviable technique and speed. Assist for Simeone.
Zielinski 8.5 – Conquers and realizes the penalty that unlocks the match, then draws football in the middle of the field justifying the appreciation of Klopp and providing the assist to Zambo Anguissa. In the second half with an insertion the poker falls and completes the work.
Zambo Anguissa 8 – Absolutely do-mi-nan-te. If at the level of interdiction this is nothing new, the quality with which he makes his contribution in the offensive phase is from wrinkled eyes: goals with insertion and off to the action of the fourth goal.
Gomez 2 – The images speak clearly, unpresentable. Two, the minimum wage. He gets everything wrong he can and Klopp saves him another 45 minutes of embarrassment by changing him at half-time.
Van Dijk 3 – The Dutchman’s start to the season is hands-on and the disastrous test against Osimhen’s Napoli and not only is the confirmation of it. The speech is similar for the team mate, but at least he avoids a goal with a sure shot by Kvaratskhelia and touches the net in attack. He remains seriously inadequate.
NAPLES 4-1 LIVERPOOL
Naples (4-3-3): Meret 7; Di Lorenzo 6.5, Rrahmani 6.5, Kim 6.5, Olivera 6.5 (29 ‘st Mario Rui 6); Anguissa 8, Lobotka 7, Zielinski 8.5 (29 ‘st Elmas 6); Politano 6.5 (12 ‘st Lozano 6), Osimhen 7 (41’ Simeone 7), Kvaratskhelia 7.5 (12 ‘st Zerbin 6). Available: Marfella, Sirigu, Ostigard, Juan Jesus, Zanoli, Ndombele, Gaetano, Raspadori. Coach: Spalletti 7.5.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 4, Gomez 2 (1 ‘st Matip 5.5), Van Dijk 3, Robertson 5; Elliott 5.5 (32 ‘st Arthur sv), Fabinho 5, Milner 4 (17’ st Thiago 5); Salah 4 (17 ‘st Jota 5.5), Firmino 4 (17’ st Nunez 5), Diaz 6.5. Available: Adrian, Phillips, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Davies. Coach: Klopp 2.
Referee: del Cerro Grande (Spain)
Markers: 5 ‘rig. Zielinski (N), 31 ‘Anguissa (N), 44’ Simeone (N), 2 ‘st Zielinski (N), 4’ st Diaz (L)
Ammonites: Rrahmani (N); Milner, Van Dijk (L)
Note: 17 ‘Alisson (L) saves a penalty from Osimhen (N)
The last time Liverpool conceded four goals in Europe was against an Italian side: against Roma on 2 May 2018.
Napoli have scored three first-half goals in a UEFA Champions League match for only the second time (v KRC Genk in December 2019 the first). Liverpool conceded three first-half goals in a competition match for the first time since October 2014 against Real Madrid.
Giovanni Simeone scored on his Champions League debut, 25 years and 361 days after his father Diego Simeone also scored on his debut in the competition (two goals v FCSB in 1996).
Piotr Zielinski, scoring in the fifth minute, scored two of Napoli’s three fastest Champions League goals, tonight and 6 December 2017 against Feyenoord (2 ‘).
Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski has scored as many goals against Liverpool tonight (two) as he has in his first 25 UEFA Champions League appearances before today.
Piotr Zielinski (26) equaled Koulibaly and Allan in fifth place among the Napoli players with the most appearances in the Champions League.
Piotr Zielinski’s 5th penalty for Napoli was Liverpool’s fastest penalty in a UEFA Champions League match.
Before Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone the last player to score in his first match with Napoli in the Champions League was Llorente, again against Liverpool on 17/9/2019.
This is the first time Liverpool have faced two penalties in a Champions League match.
After a streak of 150 games without causing a penalty in all competitions with Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk has secured two penalties in his last seven appearances for the Reds.
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