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Klopp: Reeling Reds in need of reinvention

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-09-09 09:16
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Napoli's Giovanni Simeone (left) celebrates scoring Napoli's third goal with Matteo Politano during Wednesday's 4-1 Champions League win over Liverpool at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy. REUTERS

NAPLES, Italy-Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the Reds must "reinvent" themselves after a poor start to the season was compounded by a 4-1 defeat to Napoli in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

The margin of defeat equaled Liverpool's worst ever in the Champions League and could have been even more severe had Alisson Becker not saved a first-half penalty from Victor Osimhen.

Piotr Zielinski scored twice either side of two well-worked strikes from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone for the Italians to put Napoli 4-0 up early in the second half.

Luis Diaz pulled a goal back for last season's beaten finalist, but the Colombian was one of very few bright sparks on a night that highlighted Liverpool's early-season problems.

The Reds have won just two of their opening seven games of the campaign and sit seventh in the Premier League, already six points off the top of the table.

"It looks like we have to reinvent ourselves," Klopp told BT Sport.

"There are a lot of things lacking. The fun part is we need to do that in the middle of a Premier League season and a Champions League campaign.

"In three days we play against Wolves and when they saw the game tonight they cannot stop laughing and think it is the perfect moment. I would think it is the perfect moment, but we have to try to find a setup to be much better in everything."

There is little time for Klopp to find solutions with Ajax at Anfield and Chelsea away also to come in the next nine days before an international break.

"We were not working as a team," added Klopp. "We don't play good enough that's clear, that's obvious and everybody sees it.

"We play in the strongest league in the world and have a strong Champions League group but that's the job to do.

"It's my responsibility. I need time to think about it, it's my job to find it out and we have to reset and go."

Klopp has been hit with a series of injuries to key players and will be heartened by the return of Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota off the bench in the second half.

But defender Andy Robertson said the whole team has to get back to basics after conceding the opening goal for the fifth time in seven games.

"We're miles too open, you can't come to a place like this and not be compact," said the Scotland captain.

"When you are a team that presses and you miss one challenge you need someone to follow it up and back his mate up.

"But too many times they got turned and had big spaces to get in behind us and caused our centerbacks problems where it was two against two or three against two.

"Away in a Champions League game you can't defend like that. We have to get back to basics and be compact."

'Good performance'

Luciano Spalletti's team, who is back in Europe's top competition after a two-season absence, is second in Group A but level on points with Ajax who performed a demolition job of its own against Rangers.

Spalletti wanted to downplay Napoli's superb display, insisting that his team hadn't given anyone a lesson and that it was simply a "good performance".

"When you play teams like this it only takes one small detail to go against you and the whole shape of the game can suddenly change," the Napoli coach told Amazon Prime.

Napoli built on a strong start to its domestic season which sees it placed second after five games in Serie A. Spalletti will be encouraged by strong performances from new arrivals, in particular firecracker winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Georgian Kvaratskhelia has already won over Napoli supporters with his exciting wing play and eye for goal, and although he was only on the field for less than an hour he did considerable damage.

Liverpool is kept off the bottom by Rangers and now turns its attentions to trying to improve on seventh place in the Premier League.

To do so, the Reds will need a number of their star players to significantly improve on their performances in Napoli.

Mo Salah was off the pace and Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker committed basic errors which allowed Napoli to burst through almost unhindered.

Simple balls over the top of Liverpool's high defensive line created a host of chances for Napoli.

Kvaratskhelia would have had the goal his performance deserved had Van Dijk not cleared his shot off the line after Osimhen had robbed Joe Gomez of possession.

"If you're not playing really well you should be able to defend on a high level," added Klopp. "Napoli was really good but we made it really easy for them."

Klopp said that Liverpool's owners expect him, rather than another coach, to resolve the team's problems on the day his friend Thomas Tuchel was fired by Chelsea.


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