Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente scored late as holders Liverpool fell 2-0 at Napoli in the opening match of their Champions League title defence on Tuesday.
Mertens converted a penalty on 82 minutes and Llorente added a second in stoppage time as Napoli gained a measure of revenge for last season’s 1-0 defeat at Anfield that denied the Italians a spot in the knockout rounds.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are the first winners of the competition to lose the opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan in 1994.
Goalkeeper Adrian had earlier made two keys saves for Liverpool, who initially struggled to impose themselves in the intimidating atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium.
The 32-year-old, deputising for the injured Alisson, twice saved from compatriot Fabian Ruiz during the first period and produced an outstanding point-blank save from Mertens’ volley just after the break.
However, unlike the corresponding fixture last season, when Liverpool failed to register a shot on target in their 1-0 defeat, Klopp’s side did produce moments of slick football to threaten the hosts.
A flashing Mohamed Salah drive was superbly tipped to safety by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, who also saved Sadio Mane’s toe-poked shot with the score at 0-0.
But while Klopp’s side have made a blistering start to the Premier League, averaging three goals per game, their failure to exploit several good breaks consigned them to a sixth defeat away from home in their past eight matches in the competition.