Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool need to ‘reinvent themselves’ after Napoli punished an error-ridden display and inflicted a 4-1 defeat that compounded their poor start to the Premier League campaign.
Having won just two of their opening six Premier League games, the Reds kicked off their Champions League quest in southern Italy just 102 days from last season’s final loss to Real Madrid.
The trip to Napoli always looked like the toughest test of a group that also includes Ajax and Rangers, but few could have foreseen the error-strewn display that would unfold at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Piotr Zielinski, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and substitute Giovanni Simeone scored in a first half that Liverpool were lucky to finish just three goals down.
Victor Osimhen had seen a first-half penalty saved shortly before Virgil van Dijk denied Khvicha Kvaratskhelia on the line, with Zielinski scoring again early in a second half. Luis Diaz responded soon after but that was no consolation for the visitors.
“You don’t think much after the game, you react more,” Liverpool boss Klopp said.
“We kind of have to reinvent ourselves because the basic things didn’t exist. It’s a difficult time, there’s no doubt about it.
“If you’re not playing exceptionally well, you can still defend at a very high level. We should be able to do that.
“The start of the match does not help. If we want to defend better and concede a penalty after three minutes and the next, obviously you can’t exactly do that. Tonight we were caught between the two.
“But, still, it’s work to do. That’s what I mean. It’s not that you have to reinvent a new type of football.
“You are always trying to improve, but right now obviously everyone would be happy if we could just play similar things to what we used to play.
“Tonight was the least compact performance I’ve seen in a very, very long time from us…and from the other teams as well.
“Napoli were really good but we made it easy for them because we lost the ball in areas and then the next situation was a counterattack. No, that’s not how it should be.
“Some things are really clear, we need to change that, and why it is now like this is also becoming a bit clearer.
“But I need time to say the right things because right now it’s not 100% clear.”
Klopp has addressed traveling Liverpool fans to apologize after a ‘very disappointing night’ at Napoli.
The Reds will be hoping their stuttering start to the campaign bottomed out with a defeat which even led to questions being raised as to whether he was worried about his future given Chelsea’s sacking of Thomas Tuchel earlier today.
He replied after the opening of Group A: “Not really but who knows? The difference is obviously (is) that they are different types of owners.
“Our owners are pretty calm and expect me to fix the situation and don’t think anyone else should fix it.
“That’s how they’ve always seen it and the day they change their mind, they might tell me.”
As injured Liverpool return home and refocus on Saturday’s home game against Wolves, Napoli fans will be celebrating late into the night – even as their head coach keeps his feet on the ground.
“I think we have to be clear,” said Luciano Spalletti. “Yes, we are very happy, I enjoyed watching this performance above all because Napoli put in a great performance against a top side like Liverpool.
“But I think we have to be clear: we mustn’t let ourselves be distracted by other situations.
“Above all, you realize how happy you are to send the fans home after a game like this. I am very happy to see the smile on the faces of the supporters but we have to start again. »
Klopp clarifies ‘reinventing himself’ comment after Napoli loss