Liverpool became the first incumbent champion to lose an opening match since AC Milan in 1994 after losing 2-0 to Napoli on Matchday one of the UEFA Champions League 2019/20 season on Tuesday night.
Prolific Belgian international Mertens scored from the penalty spot after Liverpool defender Andy Robertson was judged to have infringed on Napoli forward, Jose Callejon.
A late goal from former Tottenham Hotspur’s forward, Fernando Llorente put the nail in the coffin to hand the champions a horrendous start to the defence of their crown.
An uncharacteristic mistake from FIFA the Best Nominee, Vigil van Dijk which Llorente capitalised upon made it 2-0 to erupted the stadium in jubilation while dampening the spirit of the travelling side.
Goalkeeper Adrian had earlier made two keys saves for Liverpool, who initially struggled to impose themselves in the intimidating atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium.
The 32-year-old, deputising for the injured Alisson, twice saved from compatriot Fabian Ruiz during the first period and produced an outstanding point-blank save from Mertens’ volley just after the break.
However, unlike the corresponding fixture last term, when Liverpool failed to register a shot on target in their 1-0 defeat, Klopp’s side did produce moments of slick football to threaten the hosts.
A flashing Mohamed Salah drive was superbly tipped to safety by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, who also saved Sadio Mane’s toe-poked shot with the score at 0-0.
While Liverpool had made a beautiful start to the new league season, a sixth away defeat in their last eight away games in the UEFA Champions League will have their fans a little worried and asking if they will be two-time lucky?
A reporter had wished Jurgen Klopp “good luck” at yesterday’s press conference before the game and it will appear the champions would have needed it.