Lorenzo Insigne left it to the last minute, but Napoli thoroughly deserved their Champions League victory over Liverpool.
The Partenopei made several surprise changes, Carlo Ancelotti dropping Piotr Zielinski, Dries Mertens and Elseid Hysaj for Nikola Maksimovic’s 20th competitive appearance. It was a 4-4-1-1 when defending, moving Mario Rui up to leave a 3-5-2 in attack. Jurgen Klopp signed ex-Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker over the summer and also started Naby Keita in place of Jordan Henderson, but missed Adam Lallana.
The Reds had reached the Champions League Final last season and started well in this group, beating PSG 3-2, but Napoli were held to a goalless draw in Belgrade.
Lorenzo Insigne’s angled drive skimmed the far post, then nutmegged Keita only to blast high and wide. Moments later, Keita was stretchered off with an apparent muscular injury and had to make way for Henderson.
Napoli continued to have the only real chances of the first half, as Alisson Becker needed two touches to get Aradkiusz Milik’s turn and strike under control.
After the restart it was a similar pattern, Alisson getting down to parry another Milik screamer and Joe Gomez had to clear before Insigne could pounce.
Mario Rui crossed to the near post for Insigne, denied by Virgil van Dijk, while Milik also turned off target on an Insigne assist as Napoli dominated the second half.
Mohamed Salah only scuffed one effort wide from the D, but Joe Gomez had to clear practically off the line when the Callejon cross-shot beat Alisson.
They came even closer when substitute Dries Mertens flew to side-foot a Mario Rui cross on to the bar from close range with an improvised volley.
The deadlock was finally broken at the 90th minute with the old guard, as Callejon got down the right and rolled it across for Insigne to slide on to it from five yards with perfect timing.
Napoli 1-0 Liverpool
Insigne 90 (N)
Napoli: Ospina; Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Albiol, Mario Rui; Allan, Hamsik (Zielinski 81), Fabian (Verdi 68), Callejon; Milik (Mertens 68), Insigne
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner (Fabinho 75), Keita (Henderson 19); Salah, Firmino, Mane (Sturridge 88)
Ref: Kassai (HUN)
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