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Napoli trounce Liverpool 4-1 in Champions League opener

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Napoli claimed a stunning 4-1 win over last season’s beaten finalists Liverpool in their opening Champions League group game on Wednesday, as a worrying start to the campaign continued for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool were swept away by a whirlwind first-half performance at the Stadio Maradona from Napoli, who were deservedly three goals to the good at the break.

Piotr Zielinski got the ball rolling from the penalty spot in the fifth minute and two more beautifully worked strikes from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone on his Champions League debut left Jurgen Klopp’s side staring at a humiliating defeat.

Poland midfielder, Zielinski, then added the fourth almost immediately after the restart to ensure Napoli got off to a dream start to Group A.

Luciano Spalletti’s team, who are back in Europe’s top competition after a two-season absence, are second but level with Ajax who performed a demolition job of their own against Rangers.

Napoli built on a strong start to their domestic season which has them second after five games in Serie A and will be encouraged by strong performances from new arrivals, in particular firecracker winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Georgian Kvaratskhelia has already won over Napoli supporters with his exciting wing play and eye for goal, and although he was only on the field for less than an hour he did considerable damage.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are kept off the bottom by the Scots and now turn their attentions to trying to improve on seventh place in the Premier League.

Backed by a typically raucous crowd, Napoli came haring out of the traps and could easily have been ahead with less than a minute on the clock.

The lively Victor Osimhen broke onto a long ball from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and nudged it past the onrushing Alisson Becker, but took the ball too wide and instead of trying to lay up his arriving teammates shot off the near post.

They were deservedly ahead shortly afterwards when James Milner handled Zielinski’s low shot and allowed the Pole to rifle home the opener.

Napoli would have been further ahead had Osimhen taken a leaf out of Zielinski’s book in the 18th minute, but instead he wasted his chance from the spot with a fancy run-up after an on-field review of Virgil van Dijk’s clumsy challenge on the Nigerian by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande resulted in another penalty.

However, Liverpool were a shambles at the back, constantly caught napping on passes over the top and bewildered by Kvaratskhelia, whose 28th-minute shot was kicked off the line after Osimhen nicked the ball away from Joe Gomez.

And three minutes later Anguissa gave the hosts a lead which more reflected the run of play.

The Cameroon international played a simple one-two with Zielinski to find himself all alone with Alisson before rolling in the second, and from there Liverpool collapsed.

A dream opening half ended with Simeone in tears after making it three just seconds after replacing injured Osimhen, tapping in a simple finish after the irrepressible Kvaratskhelia caused more havoc on the left flank.

Simeone then turned provider for Zielinski to ensure it was a memorable night for the hosts a minute after the break, a first effort denied by Alisson before a follow-up finish was dinked over the Brazilian.

Luis Diaz pulled one back two minutes later but it was all the Reds could conjure up as Napoli shut up shop and saw out a memorable win.

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EPL: Lee Sharps wants ex-PSG coach to replace Ten Hag at Man Utd

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Former Manchester Player, Lee Sharps wants former Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery to replace Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag’s long-term future at Man United is unclear because of the Re Devils’ performances this season.

Man United currently sit outside of the Premier League top four behind the likes of Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.

In a recent interview with DAZN, Sharpe said:

“If I were choosing and Erik ten Hag was to go, Unai Emery would be at the top of my list.

“I think given the support and the full backing, he could replicate what he has done at [Aston] Villa. I think he’d be a class manager for United.”

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Europa League: Klopp reacts as Atalanta sends Liverpool out of competition

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Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has hailed his players despite their exit from the Europa League.

The Reds beat Atalanta 1-0 in Bergamo, but lost the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

After Mohamed Salah’s early penalty, Klopp’s men failed to get more goals, despite having control for most of the game.

Klopp has now said they will concentrate on the Premier League, where they are in third place, two points behind leaders Manchester City.

“It was clear we gave ourselves a massive hurdle. I liked the game a lot tonight with the desire and power the boys show. It was incredible from them.

“It was really tricky and we were too hasty in moments. We won the game and that was the reaction we wanted to show. It was difficult and we knew it would be but they deserve to go through 100%.

“We have to focus on the league and that is exactly what we will do from now. Tonight we won the game so we are back to winning ways.

“We have a few days to recover to go again against Fulham. That will be a different game but it will be tricky,” Klopp said.

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Juventus releases statement after order to pay Cristiano Ronaldo’s unpaid wages

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Italian giants Juventus have released a statement after being ordered to pay their former player, Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, ordered the Serie A giants to pay Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The court gave the verdict following a dispute arising from pay reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronaldo, who now laces his boots for Saudi Super League side, Al-Nassr, told the court he was owed €19.5 million ($20.81 million) by the Turin giants in unpaid wages.

The Court ruling will see Juventus pay Ronaldo around half that amount, with a €9.8 million settlement reached.

The Italian giants quickly moved to make a statement after the ruling, stating, “The arbitration tribunal ruled Juve had to pay half of the sum requested by the 39-year-old Portugal striker.

“They partially granted the request made by [Ronaldo]… ascertaining Juventus’ pre-contractual liability resulting from the failure of negotiations and ordered the defendant to pay an amount of approximately Euro 9.8 million.”

Juventus have also hinted at their desire to contest the ruling in their statement, saying:
“The Company, also with the support of its legal counsel, is reviewing the decision made by the arbitration board, reserving all assessments and initiatives to preserve its rights.”

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