In Brief

Champions League goals and reactions: Liverpool and Chelsea lose group openers

Liverpool’s defence begins with a nightmare in Naples and Ross Barkley misses late penalty in Chelsea’s loss to Valencia

Napoli 2 Liverpool 0  Uefa Champions League group E 

Liverpool’s defence of their Champions League crown began in ignominious fashion as they lost 2-0 at Napoli.

The Reds are the first holders to lose the opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan in 1994, and manager Jurgen Klopp admitted it had been a bad night for his side. 

“It should hurt because there were opportunities for us,” he said. “It was an open game with a lot of counter attacks, but we didn’t finish them off and that is a problem.”

Napoli’s goals came late on with Dries Mertens scoring from the penalty spot on 82 minutes after Andy Robertson had fouled Jose Callejon. Then in stoppage time Fernando Llorente seized on a mistake from Virgil van Dijk to fire the ball past Adrian in the Liverpool goal.

“We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end,” rued Klopp, whose side were twice denied by fine saves from Napoli’s Alex Meret.

“We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Asked about the penalty decision, Klopp said that in his eyes it was the wrong call by the referee. “Callejon jumps before he has any contact,” he told reporters. “But we cannot change that so we have to be critical with ourselves.”

Chelsea 0 Valencia 1  Uefa Champions League group H

It was an even worse night for the other Premier League club in action with Chelsea going down 1-0 at home to Valencia. To add to the Blues’s woes, Ross Barkley missed a late penalty that would have salvaged a share of the spoils for the London club.

As it is, Chelsea now face an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stages in a tough pool that also includes Lille and last year’s semi-finalists Ajax. 

“We probably should have won, or at least got a draw,” reflected manager Frank Lampard. “We created enough chances, we had the penalty, and we conceded with their one shot on goal. It’s a harsh lesson but that’s Champions League football.”

Rodrigo put Valencia one up from a set-piece on 74 minutes but the Stamford Bridge faithful believed their boys were about to level the scores when VAR ruled that Daniel Wass had used his hand to block Fikayo Tomori’s header three minutes from time.

There was some animated discussion as to who should take the spot-kick and Barkley’s insistence won out, only for the Englishman to send the ball onto the crossbar. 

“Ross is the penalty taker,” Lampard said when asked about the confusion. “He was in pre-season and scored a couple. He has been when he started. He was when he came on today and he missed it. That is the clear story. 

“I don’t know what the conversation was, but Jorginho and Willian were the takers on the pitch. When Ross comes on he becomes the penalty taker.”

Today’s back pages

Liverpool and Chelsea are Champions League ‘chumps’

Champions League results and fixtures 

Tuesday 17 September results
  • Group E: FC Red Bull Salzburg 6 KRC Genk 2; Napoli 2 Liverpool 0  
  • Group F: Inter Milan 1 Slavia Prague 1; Borussia Dortmund 0 Barcelona 0 
  • Group G: Lyon 1 Zenit St Petersburg 1; Benfica 1 RB Leipzig 2 
  • Group H: Ajax 3 Lille 0; Chelsea 0 Valencia 1
Wednesday 18 September fixtures    Group A
  • Club Brugge vs. Galatasaray (5.55pm live on BT Sport 1)
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid (8pm, live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport Ultimate)
Group B 
Group C 
  • Dinamo Zagreb vs. Atalanta (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3)  
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on BT Sport 3) 
Group D 
  • Atlético Madrid vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport ESPN)  
  • Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. Lokomotiv Moscow (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4)


Frank Williams: a ‘one of a kind’ F1 team principal
Frank Williams with his daughter Claire

Frank Williams: a ‘one of a kind’ F1 team principal

Rejuvenated England show ‘never-say-die courage’
Marcus Smith: nerveless composure
In Focus

Rejuvenated England show ‘never-say-die courage’

Racism in cricket: a systemic problem
Azeem Rafiq
Why we’re talking about . . .

Racism in cricket: a systemic problem

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
View from the terraces

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era

Popular articles

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’
Donald and Barron Trump
Tall Tales

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else
A wedding ring
Tall Tales

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else

The Week Footer Banner