herald

Friday 13 December 2019

Tired Reds side can have no complaints

Unhappy: Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Andrew Couldridge
Unhappy: Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Andrew Couldridge

Boris Johnson discovered this week that going to Europe and trying to get the upper hand on those tricky continentals who are comfortable in their own skin, on their home patch, is not as easy as it looked when your plane left Old Blighty.

And Liverpool, that very English club who are champions of Europe, will find that staying in Europe, and getting your own way, is not guaranteed even when all the pieces seem to fit.

The Reds have fluffed their lines in the first part of the defence of their Champions League title, Jurgen Klopp's side beaten 2-0 away to Napoli.

Those who oppose Brexit struggle to find sympathy for the British position as it's a self-inflicted wound and Liverpool did a lot of the damage to themselves in Italy last night.

They had no complaints about the penalty, 10 minutes from time, which did the main damage, as Andy Robertson's clumsy foul on José Callejón in the box was just that, a clumsy mistake in a key area, clarity in the mind of ref Felix Brych as no player in a red shirt appealed the decision.

Dries Mertens was a thorn in their side all night, the Belgian probably the best player on the park, and all of a sudden things look a little murky for Liverpool.

They failed to make the most of half-chances that came their way, didn't create enough clear-cut ones. And even when they were gifted an open door, with a defensive mistake which teed up a chance for Mo Salah, they found Napoli keeper Alex Meret at the top of his game.

The strength of the Reds squad has been a concern for some supporters this season, even amid the glow of that Champions League title, and the bare nature of their panel was exposed again and again, Napoli profiting in added time as a leggy-looking Liverpool side switched off to allow Fernando Llorente score.

The Reds had found things tough on their last visit to Naples, a time of struggle for Klopp's side as a 1-0 loss away to the Italian side 13 months ago was part of a run of four games without a win, though they did recover and regroup to win the title. To retain that title, they now need to take a very bumpy road.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News