The latest edition of Champions League got underway on Tuesday, and a couple of Premier League sides were involved in the action.
Defending champions Liverpool travelled to Italy to take on Napoli while Chelsea hosted La Liga side Valencia at Stamford Bridge. In the end, it turned out to be a disappointing day for both sides as both suffered defeats on matchday 1.
Liverpool’s title defence got off to a poor start
The Reds had made an excellent start to their domestic season, but their form deserted them in Italy. Liverpool’s infamous away form in Europe came back to haunt them as they suffered a 2-0 defeat in Naples. The Reds faced a defeat in this fixture last season too, and it didn’t get better for them this time. Liverpool defence had stood firm for most of the game, but in the end, a couple of individual lapses handed three points to Napoli. In the 82nd-minute, Jose Callejon made most of the minimal contact with Andy Robertson in Liverpool box and won a penalty for his side. Dries Mertens scored from the spot to hand the advantage to the hosts. Liverpool were dealt a further blow in the injury time due to a rare mistake from Virgil van Dijk. Fernando Llorente latched on to a loose back-pass from the Dutch defender and made it 2-0 for his side.
The result was not a surprise in the end as Liverpool have often slipped away from home in Champions League in the last couple of years. Nevertheless, they would still be favourites to win their group and qualify to the knockout rounds.
Qualification in danger for Chelsea?
For Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, it was a terrible start to his managerial journey in Europe. The Blues were favourites against Valencia at home, but they ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 defeat. The result has put them in a precarious situation in their group.
The game started on a terrible note for the Blues as they lost Mason Mount to a painful-looking injury. Chelsea created multiple goal-scoring opportunities in the game but couldn’t make any of them count. In the 74th-minute, Rodrigo managed to find a lot of space in the Chelsea from Daniel Pajero’s free-kick and he made no mistake in finding the net. It was a huge blow for the hosts who had dominated the proceedings so far.
With three minutes left in the normal time, Chelsea won a VAR-assisted penalty owing to a handball from Daniel Wass. However, Ross Barkley could only hit the top of the crossbar with his horrible attempt. It was a perfect smash-and-grab from the La Liga side, who were supposedly in a crisis due to the sacking of their now-former manager Marcelino.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have given themselves a mountain to climb in Group H. Ajax comfortably dispatched Lille 3-0 in the other game, and as things stand, Chelsea don’t inspire much confidence in their capability to get out of their group.