Jürgen Klopp felt Liverpool’s performance merited more than a defeat after they went down 2-0 to Napoli in their Champions League group-stage opener in Italy on Tuesday night.

The Reds suffered a first reversal of 2019-20 as their defence of the European Cup began with a loss at Stadio San Paolo courtesy of late goals from Dries Mertens’ penalty and Fernando Llorente’s stoppage-time strike.

Watch: Napoli v Liverpool in 90 seconds

Afterwards, Klopp explained why there were elements of his team’s display that were positive in what was a hard-fought encounter against Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Read on for a summary of what the manager told his post-match press conference.

On his thoughts on the result and his side’s performance…

It was much more of a game than last year when we played here and lost 1-0. We had a lot of good moments; I think we controlled the game in a lot of moments, we had a lot of interceptions, we won the ball and had counter-attacks. Both teams showed a lot of respect for each other, very compact, defended well and that’s how you play a game against a strong side, to be honest. It was really hard work for both teams. The second half was a bit [more with] wilder moments - counter-attack, counter-attack and then lose the ball when you are in the box and then have to run back. Then we started to control the game again and then we conceded the 1-0 and that was the game-changer tonight.

We have to accept the result and we do that. We are really critical with ourselves but it was not a really, really bad performance; it was a game which you can win at Napoli, but we didn’t because we didn’t score and that doesn’t work then really. You want to then have at least a point and we didn’t get that because of the penalty. I am pretty sure there are different views on that situation, but when the player jumps before there is contact it cannot be a penalty. We cannot change that anymore, so now we carry on. That’s it.

On the decision not to consult VAR for the penalty…

Look, I said last week after the Newcastle game if it would have been decisive then I could have discussed it. Now it was decisive, and I could say a lot of things about it but I would look like a bad loser and I am not. Maybe I am not the best loser in the world, but I am not bad. It is a decision made by human beings. I think when you see the pictures it is clear. What can I say about it? It was very decisive in that moment for sure, but we cannot change it anymore.

On how far Napoli can go in the Champions League this season... 

They can win the competition, that’s how it is. If you have a good plan, if you have good players, which is what they obviously have, then they can win the competition. We experienced that you don’t have to be the best team in the world to win the Champions League. You have to be in the right moment, you need to be lucky in some situations and when there’s only two guys in the room that think it’s a penalty you still have to accept that’s a penalty, but that’s all. They can win the competition, of course.

On whether Napoli were fresher and finished stronger because they started their season later than Liverpool...  

Tonight the questions are really a challenge, to be honest. I think the guy from Sky Italia asked me or told me Napoli was much better than us. I didn’t see that game, so I don’t know exactly where he was when the game happened. But now you say we were tired. Who had the cramps? Who was on the ground? Liverpool players or Napoli players? After the 2-0 they looked fresher than us, after the 1-0 they looked fresher than us - that’s normal. You have a boost. But there was no fresher team on the pitch. There was no physical problem apart from the normal physical problems in a game like this, which is very intense [because] both teams fight hard and all that stuff. It’s not a physical problem tonight. We have to finish the situations off. How everybody is in life, you need positive moments and you can run forever. We didn’t have really positive moments tonight. They obviously got the second air, so they could go again. That’s normal, but that was not the reason.  

On whether this result will be decisive in terms of the group... 

I hope it is not decisive. Give us at least a few more games to change the table. In the moment it looks like Napoli’s through, but we still will be playing. We will not stop.

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