Jurgen Klopp has slammed Liverpool’s performance in Wednesday night’s 4-1 defeat by Napoli in the Champions League and says next opponents’ Wolves will ‘laugh’ at the prospect of playing them at the weekend.
The Merseysiders – beaten finalists last season – put in a miserable first-half performance in Napoli and went three goals down at half-time, with Piotr Zielinski opening the scoring from the penalty spot just five minutes into the game.
Napoli saw another penalty saved before Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa doubled the goal, while substitute Giovanni Simeone scored just minutes after coming on just before half-time.
Liverpool’s defense looked chaotic at times and Joe Gomez was sacrificed at half-time but that didn’t stop the flow of the game and within two minutes of the restart Zielinski had scored a fourth goal for the hosts.
Luis Diaz fired back almost immediately but there was no comeback as Napoli recorded Liverpool’s worst result in the Champions League with a 4-1 win.
Klopp was visibly dejected throughout the game and apologized to traveling fans after the full-time whistle, while blasting his side’s portrayal of his post-match media duties and feeling they needed to ‘reinvent’ themselves.
Speaking to BT Sport, he said of the result and performance: “Really tough, hard to take, I’d say not that hard to explain once you’ve seen the game. The start with the two penalties. First and foremost Napoli played a really good game and we didn’t, that’s the first explanation for the defeat.
“The two penalties we concede are both – certainly one – a bit unlucky but maybe give them, only one goes in. Then we serve the next two goals on one plate, it’s not cool and we should defend better in the first place and then at the last moment too.
“And then 3-0 down, had chances but never really played, we weren’t compact, neither defensively nor offensively. Until Thiago entered the field I can’t remember any counter-pressing situation and the reason is that we just stood too wide.
“We’ve tried to sort things out ourselves with a few dribbles here and there, but we can’t really play together or unconnected. So it was all obvious, but why it happened I can’t answer right now. Give me a little time to think about it. It’s a really tough loss, but I have to endure it.
He added: “It looks a bit like we’re going to have to reinvent ourselves, so there’s really a lot of things missing, not in all games but now. The fun part is that we have to do this [reinvent ourselves] in the middle of a Premier League season and a Champions League campaign.
“In three days we play against Wolves. You watched the game tonight and you probably can’t stop laughing and thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is the perfect moment’. I would say it’s the perfect moment [to play us] but we have to try to find a set-up in three days to be a lot better at pretty much everything.”
Andy Robertson echoed his manager’s assessment of the performance, saying: “We were miles too open. You can’t come to a place like this and not be compact. They were miles the better team.
“Too often they had space to come at us and cause us problems. You get away in the Champions League and you can’t be that open. We need to get back to basics and stay compact.
“We deserved this result. Just as we were wide open, they found so many spaces. It felt like they had an extra man. You have to be ready to fight. We weren’t close enough to our buddy. We need to wake up, and fast, because we can’t perform like this.’
Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat by Napoli is the same loss they suffered in 3-0 defeats by Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2014 and 2019 respectively.
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