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Liverpool: Mo Salah was “shocking” against Napoli

Liverpool were unable to forget their form in the Premier League last night when they returned to action in the Champions League against Napoli, taking an embarrassing 4-1 defeat from their opening game in Europe.

Jurgen Klopp will be left reeling following the very poor performance from his team who were quickly swallowed alive by their Italian opponents in Naples, taking their joint-worst defeat in the history of the tournament.

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Despite having 61% possession, more accurate passes (88% v 82%) and completing more crosses (8 v 0) Liverpool fell apart from the very start of the game.

James Milner committed the first penalty with a handball in the opening five minutes with Piotr Zieliński finding the back of the net from the spot but the disasters came thick and fast with Virgil Van Dijk giving away another penalty in the box just 11 minutes later, although Alisson was quick to bat away Victor Osimhen’s efforts.

At the half-time whistle, Liverpool found themselves 3-0 down after André Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone completed the trio of goals for the home side, but it didn’t stop there.

Klopp surely hoped that his side would come out fighting as they have done famously on many occasions in the Champions League, however, Zieliński found the back of the net again to secure his brace and four on the board for Napoli in the second minute of the second half. Despite Luis Diaz’s 49th-minute goal, Liverpool left Italy completely deflated.

One player who has been anonymous for his team on numerous occasions this season is Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian winger earned himself a club record-breaking contract picking up a salary of £350k-per-week but again last night, the Liverpool ace failed to impose himself on his opponents.

Although Milner was one of the main culprits from a defensive point of view, he wasn’t the only man on the night who let his team down. Indeed, over Salah’s 63-minute appearance – whose touch on the night was dubbed “shocking” by journalist Paul Gorst – he lost 100% of his aerial and ground duels (0/3), remarkably made no dribble attempts, delivered none of his crosses (0/3) and lost the ball every 2.6 touches before Klopp took him off.

Based on those numbers, it was a display that was extraordinarily out of character with the normal level of performance we’ve been accustomed to seeing from him.

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The 156-goal machine has been struggling to get back to his best since re-joining the side after the African Cup of Nations in January, with just seven goals in the second half of last season and this term, the inconsistency in front of goal has continued with just two strikes to his name so far.

Salah’s struggle is something his manager must address as the player is heavily depended on for his goal contributions to the team, especially now with his partner in crime, Sadio Mane, is out of the picture. Thus, finding Salah’s appetite for goals again is a huge area of concern if the Reds are to rediscover their best form. At the moment, he is playing to a rather shocking level and that must be fixed as soon as possible.

With that being said, it will be interesting to see what moves Klopp makes next as Liverpool prepare for their Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend. The manager will certainly be hoping that his star player can finally find some form and confidence sooner rather than later.

Article title: Liverpool: Mo Salah was “shocking” against Napoli

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