With their spectacular 4-1 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday, Napoli continued their impressive run through the Champions League, continuing the Reds’ rocky start to the year.
At the Stadio Maradona, Napoli pushed Liverpool aside with a frenzied first-half effort, and they rightfully led by three goals at the break.
In the fifth minute, Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and two more skillfully executed goals from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone, making his Champions League debut, left Jurgen Klopp’s team facing a humiliating loss.
The fourth was then added practically shortly after the break by Poland midfielder Zielinski, giving Napoli the perfect start in Group A.
After a two-season hiatus, Luciano Spalletti’s club has returned to Europe’s elite tournament and is currently in second place, level with Ajax, who defeated Rangers in similar fashion.
The coach attempted to downplay his team’s outstanding performance by stating that it was only a “nice performance” and that no one had been taught a lesson.
When playing against teams like these, he said, “It only takes one little thing to go against you and the whole shape of the game may suddenly alter.”
Napoli improved on a solid start to their domestic campaign, placing second in Serie A after five games, and will be buoyed by excellent showings from newcomers, especially explosive winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Georgian Kvaratskhelia, who has already won over Napoli supporters with his dynamic wing play and eye for goal, had a significant impact despite playing for less than an hour.
The Scots have kept Liverpool off the bottom, and they are now focusing on trying to move up from the seventh position in the Premier League.
BLOWN AWAY REDS IN NAPOLI
With less than a minute remaining, Napoli easily could have taken the lead thanks to a typically boisterous crowd that supported them.
Victor Osimhen, who is always active, sprinted after a long ball from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and managed to get it past the charging Alisson Becker, but he took the ball too wide and chose to shoot off the near post rather than try to set up his advancing teammates.
Soon after, Zielinski’s low shot was handled by James Milner, allowing the Pole to score the opening goal and giving them a well-deserved lead.
Goalkeeper Carlos del Cerro Grande’s on-field review of Virgil van Dijk’s poor foul on the Nigerian resulted in another penalty, which Osimhen missed with a beautiful run-up in the 18th minute. Had Osimhen followed Zielinski’s lead, Napoli would have been farther ahead.
However, Liverpool’s defense was a complete mess. They were frequently caught off guard by passes over the top and confused by Kvaratskhelia, whose shot was blocked in the 28th minute after Osimhen stole the ball from Joe Gomez.
Three minutes later, Zambo Anguissa handed the home team a lead that more accurately represented the course of the game.
The international from Cameroon completed a straightforward one-two with Zielinski to find himself alone with Alisson before rolling in the second goal, which caused Liverpool to crumble.
Simeone broke down in tears after scoring three goals just seconds after replacing the injured Osimhen and finishing with a tap-in after the unstoppable Kvaratskhelia continued to wreak havoc on the left flank.
A minute after the break, Simeone switched roles and found Zielinski, ensuring that the hosts had a memorable night. His initial shot was stopped by Alisson, and his subsequent finish was dinked over the Brazilian.
Two minutes later, Luis Diaz scored a consolation goal, but that was all the Reds could muster as Napoli sealed a remarkable victory.