Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti was full of praise for Liverpool following last night’s 1-1 draw at Anfield – but also spoke highly of his own players who fought for the draw.
The Italians were feisty, helped hugely by the referee and showed to be masters of many dark arts – but in reality – our performance didn’t automatically warrant three points.
“I knew we would play well, I was convinced we would play well. Liverpool are an awesome team, a fantastic team,” he said, reported in the Echo.
“You will suffer at times against them but I knew we would create problems for them, perhaps because of the way we play.
“But just because you play a great game against a team like Liverpool doesn’t mean you necessarily get a result.
“Maybe the game wasn’t aesthetically pleasing but we were clear minded and solid and our aim wasn’t to put in a fantastic performance, our objective was to get through to the next round and we are a point nearer. We showed great character and mentality.
“Ultimately Liverpool didn’t deserve to lose this evening.”
Liverpool struggled down the right-hand side without Trent Alexander-Arnold’s crossing ability, with Joe Gomez simply not suited to the offensive right-back position that the former has made his own.
The central three also struggled when Fabinho exited injured – as it often does when Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum are in the same side together.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s introduction and the switch of Hendo to right-back injected much more dynamism into our play, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to secure the victory that would have guaranteed our progress to the next round.
Now, we have a potentially tricky clash with Rb Salzburg in Austria – knowing a defeat will almost certainly see us fall into the Europa League – something absolutely nobody wants.