Klopp: Napoli penalty was 'game changer' for Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp said when Liverpool ''conceded to go 1-0 down that was the game changer. '' Credit: Nigel French/PA Wire/PA Images

Jurgen Klopp questioned the awarding of a penalty to Napoli which he felt proved decisive as Liverpool started the defence of their Champions League crown on a bum note.

The Reds lacked a cutting edge but would have been worthy of a point at the intimidating Stadio San Paolo, only for the Group E opener to hinge on Jose Callejon being upended in the area by Andy Robertson.

Dries Mertens converted from the spot in the 82nd minute before Virgil Van Dijk lost the ball on the edge of the area in stoppage time, allowing former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente to seal a 2-0 win for Napoli.

Liverpool manager Klopp said:

When we conceded to go 1-0 down that was the game changer. We have to accept the result.

Jurgen Klopp

The Reds' strong appeals for a penalty against Newcastle at the weekend fell on deaf ears but they maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the Premier League season by beating the Magpies 3-1.

Tuesday night's decision proved central to the outcome but Klopp refused to be too critical of the process involving the video assistant referee.

He added:

I could say a lot of things about it but then I would look like a bad loser. I'm not the best loser in the world but I'm not bad at it.

Jurgen Klopp

The visitors, barracked throughout in a hostile atmosphere in Naples, lost the corresponding fixture between the sides last season en route to being defeated in every group stage game away from Anfield.

The Merseysiders managed to pip Napoli to the knockout stages by virtue of goals scored and went on to lift the European Cup for the sixth time in their history.

Klopp believes Napoli are more than capable of going all the way this season.

He added:

They can win the competition. If you have a good plan and good players, which they obviously have, then they can win the competition. We experienced that.

Jurgen Klopp

Napoli counterpart Carlo Ancelotti welcomed Klopp's assessment of his side as potential winners.

The Italian said:

If Jurgen Klopp says that we have the ability to go on and win the Champions League then I say to him, 'thank you very much' because he's a coach that knows football inside out.

Jurgen Klopp

Ancelotti shied away from talking about the penalty award, preferring to focus on his side's display.

He added:

It wasn't all perfect but just when it seemed all was lost and Liverpool had taken complete control of the game, the team were very orderly and very switched on and they never lost sight of the game plan.

Carlo Ancelotti