Napoli fell to their first defeat of the season away to Liverpool to end the Champions League group stage, having won each of their previous five games in the competition. Liverpool winning just 1-0 means that, despite finishing level on points, the Partenopei top the group.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have had an excellent start to the season in both Serie A and the Champions League, and their unbeaten streak was always going to end at some stage. For it to come in what was always likely to be – barring a complete collapse and hammering – their most meaningless game of the 2022/23 to date.
Leo Skiri Ostigard looked to have put Napoli ahead midway through the first half, only for VAR to intervene and rule him offside.
Liverpool then scored twice late on. Their opener came from Mohamed Salah, chaining together five straight scoring appearances in the Champions League, before Darwin Nunez sealed it in stoppage time. Both goals were scored from less than a metre out.
Napoli finally fall
Seventeen games had come and gone without Luciano Spalletti and his Napoli side having to taste defeat. Eighteen proved a bridge too far, though they can take a lot from the game nonetheless.
To go unbeaten for so long deserves credit and recognition, and they won’t be too disappointed to have lost in a game that has little impact on their season – still winning the group after beating Liverpool comfortably in Naples.
Napoli’s attention now returns to domestic duties and they face a tricky trip to Bergamo on Saturday to take on second-placed Atalanta, a fixture they won last season.
After Atalanta, Napoli play hosts to both Empoli and Udinese before Serie A takes a break until January for the World Cup.
Napoli are five points clear of Atalanta at the top of the Serie A table and six above third-placed AC Milan.