The UEFA Champions League returned last night in a big way, with one of the most interesting aspects of the competition coming back being the return of both European champions: the Champions League and the Europa League.
Liverpool and Chelsea met in the UEFA Super Cup, but this time around, they’re going to have to deal with the very same competition: the UCL. As reported by The Guardian and BBC, both the Reds and the Blues came up short in the opening game of their group stage encounters as Napoli and Valencia were both able to pull the wool over their English counterparts’ eyes.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were never really able to get into the right kind of rhythm against the Italian side, but it took until the second half for Napoli to really make them pay. Two mistakes cost the reigning champions dearly, and now, there are some questions as to how much of a priority the Champions League is going to be in comparison to their pursuit of a first Premier League title.
The true elite
Chelsea, on the other hand, had a tough night with their kids. They went 1-0 down late in the game, and when Ross Barkley had the chance to level things up from the spot, he couldn’t quite manage it.
“Ross is the penalty taker, 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 and he missed it.”
Those were the words of Frank Lampard who, to his credit, stuck to his guns and remained loyal to the team in the face of the adversity that is staring right back at them.
Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, also had a fairly strong reaction.
“It should hurt because there were opportunities for us. It was an open game with a lot of counter-attacks, but we didn’t finish them off and that is a problem.
“In the second half it was a wild game; they were running and we were running.
It never gets easier
“I don’t think it’s a penalty. What can I say? For me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact – we can’t change that.
“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”
The next game for both in their respective groups are going to be massive, and even that is an understatement.
There’s a very good chance both will qualify regardless of their opening losses, but one thing is for sure: this serves as undeniable proof that you can never take anything for granted in this competition.