Napoli hand out hammering to Liverpool in Champions League opener

Napoli proved far too dangerous for a sloppy Liverpool side, with Luciano Spalletti's Partenopei hammering the Premier League side in Campania.

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Liverpool issued warnings to their fans ahead of this week’s trip to take on Napoli in the Champions League, though those cautions might have been better off being heeded on the pitch at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, with the Serie A side running out resounding 4-1 winners over the Premier League outfit.

In what has been yet another disappointing Champions League matchday for Italian sides, Napoli flew the flag for Italy better than any of Juventus, AC Milan or Inter, putting Jurgen Klopp’s side – who reached last season’s final – to the sword and sending them back to Merseyside empty handed.

Napoli were perfect, Liverpool anything but

Piotr Zielinski celebrates scoring for Napoli in the Champions League. (REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli started excellently, and they were perhaps helped by a Liverpool side who were as sloppy as they’ve been for a long time. The Reds have endured a tricker start to this 2022/23 season than they’d have anticipated, even domestically, but the Partenopei tore them apart in a way that they are rarely subjected to.

By the time Piotr Zielinski put Napoli ahead after five minutes, they had already come close to scoring previously. First, Victor Osimhen saw an effort come back off the post before the brilliant Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was involved in teeing up Zielinski for an effort that was handled and saw a spot-kick awarded. Zielinski himself stepped up and converted.

A second penalty was awarded just over 10 minutes later when Victor Osimhen was brought down by Virgil van Dijk, though the Nigerian missed his effort, not that it would matter.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa made it 2-0 shortly after though, again with Kvaratskhelia and Zielinski involved in the build-up. Giovanni Simeone made it 3-0 before half time with his first-ever Champions League goal on his competition debut.

Giovanni Simeone celebrates scoring for Napoli in the Champions League. (REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

Spalletti’s Napoli played their cards right

Napoli had a four-goal cushion within two minutes of the second half starting. Anguissa and Simeone this time took part in the build-up and Zielinski got his second of the night.

Luiz Diaz pulled one back immediately, but there was never any fear that the hosts would let the lead slip.

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