Jordan Henderson says Liverpool have "improved a lot" since last season's defeat to Napoli

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Skipper Jordan Henderson believes Liverpool have “improved a lot” since last season’s defeat to Napoli.

The two teams go head-to-head in the group stages of the Champions League for the second successive campaign.

The Reds were beaten 1-0 at Stadium San Paolo last October, with Lorenzo Insigne scoring a last-minute winner.

Henderson admits that result hurt the Liverpool squad and felt it played a part in them going on to lift the trophy.

He said: “When we came here last year we didn’t perform very well, at all, I’m sure the manager will tell you that.

“I can remember analysis after that game and I think we improved a lot since that game and we used that game to improve a lot.

“Hopefully tomorrow night will be a different story, the performance level is much better and if that’s the case then we have a better chance to win of course.

“It will still be a tough challenge because Napoli are a good side.”

Liverpool improved from an unconvincing group stage to lift a sixth European Cup.

Liverpool improved from an unconvincing group stage to lift a sixth European Cup.

When asked if he feels Liverpool are a different proposition for Napoli this term, boss Jurgen Klopp said: “Last year we learned from the first game and we used that experience in the second game (a 1-0 win for Liverpool).

“If you don’t defend with all you have you have no chance against Napoli. They are so strong, I really like watching them.

“Am I sure something like that cannot happen again? No, of course not, but the boys give me no signs that I can doubt them but it’s still football, we’re human beings and things like this can happen.

“We will try to reach the level of last year again…but we want to be as consistent, at least, as last year but play our football of this year.

“Use the skills, use the confidence when it’s there, get it back when it’s not there. Use the momentum when it’s there, get it back when it’s not there, stuff like this. Stay in the game, fight for everything.

“Improvement we will judge at the end of the season.”

Rhian Brewster has been included in the Liverpool squad for the game and Henderson believes the 19-year-old striker deserves the opportunity.

“He had a really good pre-season and has been really strong in training,” said the England international.

“He gives us another option. We’ve got a lot of strength in the squad but he’s been doing really well and he just needs to continue in that way.”

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Video: Liverpool champions of Europe but Jurgen Klopp says Man City are best team in the world

Sport360 staff 17/09/2019
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His team may be reigning champions of Europe but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has declared Manchester City the best team in the world.

The 2018/19 Champions League winners prepare to start their title defence against Napoli at Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday, the two teams also met in the group stage a year ago.

Klopp said in relation to a question about Liverpool being the best side in Europe: “We can’t be the best team in Europe because Man City are the best team in the world, that’s the same planet, I heard.

“There are a lot of good teams out there, and you have to prove that constantly. Last year we were really good. I am not sure we were the best team in Europe but we were really good in the right moments.”










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Champions League: Trent Alexander-Arnold confident Liverpool will cope with pressure of being holders

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Trent Alexander-Arnold insists Liverpool can handle the pressure of being European champions as they set about trying to retain the trophy.

The right-back knows the Reds have a target on their back after their Champions League triumph in June against Tottenham.

Liverpool open their defence on Tuesday night in Italy against Napoli, a side they also faced in last season’s group stage.

“We’ve probably got a big target on our backs now because we are European champions,” said Alexander-Arnold, whose side lead the Premier League by five points with five wins from the first five games.

“Everyone wants to beat us. We’re the team to beat right now so it’s exciting for us.

“We need to try and defend the honour as much as possible and try and retain it if we can.

“A lot of the players that we have are world-class players, they know what it takes to win things, what it takes to be successful, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to embrace that as a team. I think we have so far this season in the Premier League.

“We obviously know that last season we did so well so this season we’re up there again. But we need to be ready for all types of tests.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli will certainly pose a tough test. The Serie A side beat them 1-0, through a late Lorenzo Insigne goal, in this corresponding fixture last season.

It was a below-par performance that Kop manager Jurgen Klopp described as their “worst” in Europe.

“It was a tough game,” recalled Alexander-Arnold. “We were really stretched as a side, we weren’t defending properly. We just weren’t organised at all.

“We really struggled to get to grips with the game and we were punished late doors. We probably thought that we’d done enough to get the point.

“With the last five minutes to go, you’re probably thinking ‘we’ve got away with one here’ and then you switch off for a minute, and they creep in with a last-minute goal and you’re gutted you’re going home with no points.

“It’s one of those we’ll learn from it, we’ll push forward and hopefully go there and be able to get a better result than we did last year.

“We know that being able to keep clean sheets and being able to win games away from home are massively important – especially in the Champions League when you’ve probably only got one or two chances to beat teams and get results.

“You’re playing in Europe’s elite, you’re going to get less chances than what you do in the Premier League so it’s about maximising those chances and minimalising the opposition.”

Napoli also beat the Reds 3-0 in a pre-season friendly in Edinburgh where Insigne shone and Alexander-Arnold, 20, knows they have to beware the industrious and inventive Italian frontman.

“He’s a great player, probably a little bit underrated in terms of the respect and the plaudits that he gets,” said the England international.

“But he’s a real fantastic player. I think his team-mates will say the same and the people that come up against him will say how tricky he is to actually nullify. He’s a good player, they’ve got many a good player and we need to be ready for that.

“He’s someone who really helps them play football, understands the way that they want to play, really encourages the team to play out, able to hit [it to] him and he’ll be able to hold the ball up.

“He’s a really tricky player, really strong, fast, quite agile. He’s kind of like Eden Hazard I’d say, that type of player who is tricky to get hold of and mark. Coming up against him’s always a tough test, but they’re the things that you expect in the Champions League.”

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