Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Here are the five talking points after Napoli claim a controversial victory against the reigning Champions.
Liverpool were not able to break the duck in Naples during their opening game against Napoli as they succumbed to a 2-0 loss. Goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente sealed the victory for Carlo Ancelotti in front of their home crowd.
The hosts kicked off the game on a higher note, but they struggled to create chances. The Reds showed their resilience to shut down the opponent attackers, who were not able to penetrate through the Liverpool defence. Adrian made double save off Fabian Ruiz in the first half to keep the scoreline intact.
In the early moments of the second half, Lorenzo Insigne found Dries Mertens in the far corner with an extraordinary air ball beating Virgil Van Dijk. Liverpool’s shot-stopper Adrian leapt and his fingertip diverted the ball away for a corner. It was one of the most ridiculous saves ever. That moment was followed an error of execution from Kostas Manolas, who miskicked the ball totally. Mohamed Salah struck the ball sweetly, but the shot was parried away well by Alex Meret.
In the 81st minute, Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson cleared the ball, but the referee had other ideas and gifted a penalty to Napoli. Jose Callejon successfully deceived the referee to help Napoli take the lead. Spot-kick was converted by Dries Mertens. Another error of judgement by Virgil Van Dijk in the stoppage time lead to the final goal of the day, which was scored by Fernando Llorente.
It was a strange game for the reigning Champions, who deserved at least a point out of the game for their spirited performance.
We shall look at the three talking points out of this game.
#3 Deplorable use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)
German referee Felix Bryche was skipping several fouls during the course of the game. This came as a source of infuriation to the managers Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti.
When James Milner received the yellow card in the second half, Sadio Mane was beforehand continuously pushed from the back. The Senegalese eventually lost control of the ball – forcing the midfielder to cut down the potential counter-attacking threat. It didn’t stop there.
In the 81st minute, Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson got the piece of the ball to clear it. However, Napoli forward Jose Callejon took whole advantage of the leg swing to dive and appeal for a penalty. The referee thought for a while before pointing out to the spot. The decision was reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), but it failed to turn it around.
In the post-match interview, Jurgen Klopp was visibly upset about the decision and Carlo Ancelotti refused to comment on the situation – meaning that the technology usage has been appalling.