Callejon and Koulibaly react after Napoli beat Liverpool

Napoli's Spanish forward Jose Callejon (L) challenges Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match Napoli vs Liverpool on...

Liverpool lost their first Champions League game of the season with Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente scoring for Carlo Ancelotti's Serie A outfit.

SSC Napoli players celebrates the 2-0 goal scored by Fernando Llorente during the UEFA Champions League group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo on September...

For the second time in less than 12 months, Liverpool trudged off the Stadio San Paolo turf with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths.

Last year it was Lorenzo Insigne, the scourge of Scousers everywhere who broke clear to send the Napoli supporters into raptures with just seconds left on the clock. On Tuesday night, a penalty from Dries Mertens and a late Fernando Llorente tap in was enough to consign the reigning Kings of Europe to defeat in their first Champions League game since that glorious night in Madrid.

And this, even more than that 1-0 win in October 2018, feels like a breakthrough moment in the Carlo Ancelotti era in Southern Italy.

 

Napoli certainly had luck on their side, benefiting from a controversial penalty and a rare Virgil van Dijk howler, but the nature of the victory is no concern to a team who are relishing in a job well done against arguably the most feared team on the continent right now.

Napoli fell short time and time again during Ancelotti's debut season at the helm - but no one is questioning their ability to go the distance today.

"We gave 200% throughout," Kalidou Koulibaly told the club's official website, staking his claim to be the world’s best centre-back in a night to forget for Van Dijk. "Personally, I wanted to produce a top performance and it's the sort of game in which I really give my absolute all out on the pitch.

"We have to keep improving. Wins like this one give us a big boost, but we must be sure to stay focused in every game. We want to take Napoli to the top."

Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli vies with Roberto Firmino of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo on...

Koulibaly’s centre-back partner, the grizzled Greek international Kostas Manolos, was similarly thrilled.

"We didn't just win, but we kept a clean sheet against Liverpool,” he said. "They've won all their Premier League games so far. It's the first time they've been shut out and this shows what a good team we are.

And Callejon, whose dramatic tumble after a clumsy Andy Robertson challenge had the referee blowing for a spot-kick and Jurgen Klopp seething, had his say too.

“We know Liverpool really well by now,” said the former Real Madrid forward. “We've played them loads in the last year and we know you have to play with incredible intensity to beat them.”

Napoli's Spanish forward Jose Callejon (L) challenges Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match Napoli vs Liverpool on...

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