Liverpool continued their disappointing run of pre-season results with a 3-0 defeat against Napoli on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides struggled to build any sort of momentum during the opening exchanges, but Napoli were able to open the scoring after 17 minutes through Lorenzo Insigne. The Italian jinked his way into a pocket of space outside the Liverpool 18-yard-box before curling the ball into the far corner, beyond the reach of Simon Mignolet.
Napoli then doubled their lead just over 10 minutes later as Arkadiusz Milik got on the end of a pin-point cross from Dries Mertens to guide the ball home. Georginio Wijnaldum was able to find the back of the net just before half-time for the Reds, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Liverpool's troubling afternoon continued immediately after the break as Napoli found a third goal with alarming ease. Insigne forced Mignolet into a save, but the Belgian could only palm the ball into the path of Amin Younes, who then bundled the ball into the empty net.
Both sides went on to make a number of substitutions which disrupted the already inconsistent flow of the game and Napoli, with the help of keeper Alex Meret, held firm to maintain their clean sheet.
Key Talking Point
Liverpool are now just a week away from their opening game of the season against Manchester City in the Community Shield, so Jurgen Klopp will using their remaining friendlies to gather as much information as possible about the squad currently at his disposal.
Much like their previous three friendlies which they failed to win, Liverpool looked well off the pace in this one. Of course, as has been covered time and time again, results mean very little during pre-season, but there were a number of fundamental issues hindering Liverpool that Klopp will be looking to stamp out as soon as possible.
They failed to effectively control the tempo in the middle of the park, had little to no impact up top without their usual front three and looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back. No panic just yet, but this could be a much needed wake up call before the start of 2019/20.
Starting XI: Mignolet (5); Alexander-Arnold (5), Matip (5), Van Dijk (5), Robertson (6); Fabinho (6*), Milner (5), Henderson (5); Oxlade-Chamberlain (3), Wijnaldum (4), Origi (4).
Substitutes: Brewster (6), Lovren (6), Lallana (5), Wilson (6), Gomez (N/A), Hoever (N/A), Lewis (N/A), Van Den Berg (N/A), Duncan (N/A), Duncan (N/A).
Star Man - Fabinho
No standout performances from a Liverpool perspective, but Fabinho put in a decent shift in the middle of the park and demonstrated how invaluable he is for the Reds.
He recycled possession well, did his best to break up a handful of Napoli attacks and wasn't afraid to venture further forward than usual. He's certain to start against City in a week's time.
The only player that’s been decent in this game is Fabinho imo— Owen 🔴 (@howittowen) July 28, 2019
Fabinho is the only one who looks good enough.— 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@ashtonlw_) July 28, 2019
Everyone stinks except Fabinho this pre-season— Sam (@tasosamaras4) July 28, 2019
Key Talking Point
A very impressive and composed performance from Napoli, who remained in control of proceedings despite making numerous changes throughout the match.
This was only their fourth pre-season friendly as they only began preparations for the upcoming season earlier this month, but it was their first against comparable opposition, so the performance and subsequent result will no doubt please Carlo Ancelotti.
They have plenty of time before they start their domestic campaign and, under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti, they'll be the closest challengers to Juventus again next season.
Starting XI: Meret (7); Di Lorenzo (6), Manolas (6), Maksimovic (7), Rui (6); Callejon (5), Zielinski (6), Verdi (6), Mertens (7); Insigne (8*), Milik (6).
Substitutes: Younes (7), Chiriches (6), Ghoulam (6), Hysaj (6), Gaetano (5), Luperto (6), Tutino (N/A).
Star Man - Lorenzo Insigne
Insigne ran the show for Napoli in this one, constantly causing problems for the Liverpool defence with electric pace and incisive runs.
It's imperative that Napoli hold on to him if they are to mount a real challenge for the Serie A title next season and his performance in this one demonstrates that is looking as fit as ever.
Lorenzo Insigne is an absolute baller, pass it on— Liam Otley (@LiamOtley) July 28, 2019
Insigne appreciation tweet— Morwedi wa Wenger (@MogauMosibudi) July 28, 2019
Liverpool are set to play their final pre-season game against Lyon later this week while Napoli will also face off against French opposition in the shape of Marseille.