Liverpool and Napoli played to a scrappy 1-1 draw at Anfield Wednesday evening. Dries Mertens opened the scoring with a lovely bit of finishing towards Alisson’s far post, while Dejan Lovren’s header led the attacking assault in the second half, but it was not enough for Jurgen Klopp’s men to pick up all three points.
Here are the Partenopei player ratings on the night.
Alex Meret (GK, 6,5) – The Italian faced a fair amount of pressure in the second half, but did well for himself to corral any attempts played into the box. Nearly had a nightmare scenario after failing to catch a swung in cross, but overall a steady performance.
Nikola Maksimovic (DEF, 6,5) – The Serbian did well to clear his lines and simplify matters, working alongside both Manolas and Koulibaly in the back to ensure Napoli saw out the delicate stage in the second half.
Kostas Manolas (DEF, 7,0) – Very solid outing from the Greek international. Covered his ground and did well to track runs in behind him into the penalty area.
Kalidou Koulibaly (DEF, 7,0) – Aside from a brief difficult spell in the opening few minutes in which Liverpool pressed and pinned Napoli from building out the back, Koulibaly was monumental in ensuring the home side didn’t find the breakthrough goal.
Mario Rui (DEF, 5,5) – Uneventful performance from Rui on the night. Swung in a few crosses when he plunged forward, but his passing was far too sloppy in a match of this importance.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo (MID, 7,0) – The former Empoli man turned in a good performance for Ancelotti, covering a ton of ground on both ends which freed Maksimovic to maintain his role defensively. His assist over the top to Mertens was on the money and gave us a little glimpse on what he is capable of with the ball at his feet in space.
Allan (MID, 7,0) – In a defensive approach after scoring, Allan provided exactly what was required of him in the midfield. Busted up play, calculated in his fouls to slow the pace down and disrupted quite a bit with five tackles.
Piotr Zielinski (MID, 6,0) – Quiet evening from the Pole overall. We did not see enough of him in the final third where he can be effective and could not provide that extra support to the forward players Mertens and Lozano.
Fabián Ruiz (MID, 6,5) – Ruiz was steady in possession and fared well in controlling possession when Napoli were desperate for a breakup in Liverpool’s counterattacking. The altered approach to defend more changed how many like Ruiz often plays.
Dries Mertens (ATT, 7,0) – Brilliant finish on the goal from the Belgian who found himself dipping into good positions throughout the first half and playing well with Lozano. In a match where Liverpool dominated the possession battle 72% to 28%, Ancelotti needed all hands on deck to cover on the back end; Mertens included who pitched in with five tackles according to Who Scored.
Hirving Lozano (ATT, 6,5) – Though Lozano did not see enough of the ball in optimal attacking positions or put any pressure on Alisson’s net, the Mexico international was active throughout and pressed often.
Fernando Llorente (ATT, 6,0) – The imposing Spanish striker relieved Lozano in the 72nd minute and gave Napoli a target man to play and hold up the ball.
Eljif Elmas (ATT, n/a) – Only 10+ of action, so there was not enough to assess in his cameo from the bench.
Amin Younes (MID, n/a) – German international came on to replace Zielinski as a source of fresh legs and energy to see out the 1-1 result.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti (6,5) – The visit to Anfield was always going to be a very difficult match for Ancelotti and his Napoli given their current form overall. However, full credit to the former AC Milan boss and his men for coming out with the necessary energy and fighting spirit to grab the go-ahead goal, then revert to a defensive approach which they managed to maintain for the majority of the match. The second half surge from Liverpool threatened to spoil the hard work the Azzurri put in this evening, but the defensive effort was stout and the backline stood their ground well enough to get the result they needed entering the final group stage match with Genk.
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