JURGEN KLOPP will not undergo the Thomas Tuchel treatment this morning.
Yet while he was secure on the job front, it was here that Klopp endured a truly awful night at his least favorite stadium.
His increasingly battered team was weak, disoriented, tattered and totally embarrassed, especially in the first half.
For Klopp and this team that came so close to quadrupling, being thought stupid hurt more than anything.
Losing to Napoli is nothing new for Klopp with Liverpool as it was the third unlucky one. Still, this one felt different.
This was a night in southern Italy when it felt like this Liverpool team had truly peaked.
Just two wins in six games without a single away win makes it clear that this wasn’t a crazy slip for this team.
Klopp celebrates his seventh anniversary as Liveprool manager next month and it’s a significant number.
The German spent seven years at Mainz and Dortmund before his burnout and there will be talk of Klopp following the same path.
To be fair to Napoli, they were brilliant.
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Piotr Zielinski, scoring the first from the penalty spot and then the fourth, propelled the unbeaten Serie A side forward.
Andre-Frank Anguissa, Fulham’s record £30m signing who never scored, snatched the second goal. Sub Giovanni Simeone – whose father doesn’t particularly like Diego Klopp – made it 3-0 minutes after coming on.
For almost the entire first half, Liverpool were attacked by Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen before walking off injured. Despite missing a penalty he was a real handful and is a player we will see in the Premier League soon.
And then there was the brilliant Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who inflicted misery on Joe Gomez, who was replaced by Joel Matip at half-time, for 45 minutes.
They were all just too good for Liverpool.
With the possible exception of Luis Diaz, who pulled one back with a decent punch, all of Klopp’s side had shockers.
Liverpool fans had been warned not to go out in Naples, where locals like to attack and stab football fans in the butt. But from the first minute it was Klopp’s side who had their pants down.
Osimhen hit the post after 42 seconds and with less than four minutes left, Napoli were awarded a penalty for James Milner’s handball. Zielinski sent Alisson the wrong way.
It was easy to forget that Napoli also missed a penalty after VAR ruled Virgil van Dijk brought down Osimhen. Instead of making it 2-0 for Zielinksi, Osimhen wanted his moment of glory and was punished for a stuttering run-up with Alisson’s save.
Mo Salah managed Liverpool’s first decent display in the half-hour and seconds later Klopp’s side were punished for a more terrible defense.
Anguissa started and finished the move, which included a brilliant one-two with Zielinski beating Gomez, Fabinho and ALexander-Arnold with a perfectly weighted pass. Anguissa shot under an exposed Alisson.
Although striker Osimhen had to be substituted through injury, Napoli took third place thanks to substitute Simeone just before half-time.
Anguissa produced a wonderful showboating that Richarlison would have been proud of. He made a decent turn to round Bobby Firmino in midfield, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia passed Alexander-Arnold and overpowered Gomes before squaring for Simeone.
Just 82 seconds into the second half, Zielinski lobbed the ball over Alisson for the fourth time after his first shot was saved. Diaz immediately pulled one back from 20 yards but ultimately Liverpool had lost the competition from the first minute.
The Reds were yet to get out of the group stage and in 2018 they lost 0-1 here and won the Champions League.
But for now, Klopp and his weary, battle-hardened squad can look no further than Saturday’s home game against Wolves.
Because if Liverpool keep playing like this, the conclusion of Klopp’s seventh year at Anfield will feel more uncomfortable than just an itch.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6171679/napoli-liverpool-champions-league/ Napoli 4 Liverpool 1: Horrendous Reds are torn to pieces as shaky start to the Champions League season continues