Ancelotti Hails Napoli After Win Over Liverpool

Reuters

 

‪Carlo Ancelotti joked with Jurgen Klopp following Napoli's win over Liverpool, reassuring the Reds manager that his side usually go on to win the Champions League after losing to the Serie A team.

Napoli emerged victorious in their Champions League opener on Tuesday, beating last season's winners 2-0 thanks to goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente.

A controversial 82nd-minute penalty converted by Mertens and Llorente's first goal for Napoli saw Ancelotti's men to victory in the Group E blockbuster.

 

It was the second successive season Liverpool lost away to Napoli in the group stage following their 1-0 loss in last term's corresponding fixture.

Liverpool went on to lift the Champions League title in 2018-19 and head coach Ancelotti reminded Klopp of that fact following the match.

"I told him not to worry, because if he loses here, he tends to go on and win the Champions League. I reassured him," Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.

"It's always tough against Liverpool, from the first minute to the last. We had to sacrifice ourselves, but without losing our identity," Ancelotti said.

"We tried a bit too hard to play it out from the back and lost some dangerous balls, while they were aggressive in their pressing.

"The game was always in the balance, but I particularly appreciated the way we defended with the basics when it was still 0-0 and that's what allowed us to have those late chances.

"I want to see a team that believes in themselves and their quality. I really liked the way we played when we weren't in control. Llorente helped out, the players were tired and the first goal was from a long ball – which isn't our usual approach, but it's not an insult to do that sometimes. This team must know how to do everything.

"We brought in important players who improve the quality level of the squad and have different characteristics to what we had before. I have to keep them motivated and that's not easy, especially when UEFA still have this rule forcing you to keep a short bench and it's painful sending players to the stands."