Perhaps this was coming.
Liverpool had lost in the Carabao Cup last week against Chelsea — admittedly with an intentionally conservative side — then barely managed a draw against Chelsea in the Premier League a few days later, and finally capitulated in a 1-0 loss to Napoli in the Champions League, the club’s first notable setback across all competitions this season.
The Reds nearly left the Stadio San Paolo with a point as the game was scoreless until the 90th minute, when Liverpool fullback Andrew Robertson failed to adequately track a run by José Callejón and watched helplessly with his teammates as striker Lorenzo Insigne got behind Joe Gomez and stabbed home Callejón’s cross to give Napoli a big victory:
Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané didn’t have its best night, as the visitors managed just four shots and none on goal. Napoli is deep and talented, however, and off to an unbeaten start in Serie A under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The reigning Italian runners-up sit atop arguably the deepest group in this year’s Champions League field. Liverpool beat Paris Saint-Germain in a thriller on the first matchday, but the race to advance between the three giants figures to compel well into December.
Things don’t get any easier for Liverpool this weekend, with a home date against Manchester City at Anfield. At least the Reds will be tested for it.
American star Christian Pulisic, who’s been among Borussia Dortmund’s best players this season, was ruled out of Wednesday’s clash with AS Monaco with an injury seemingly suffered during training.
It didn’t slow down Dortmund, which scored three times in the second half to beat Monaco 3-0 and keep pace with Atletico Madrid atop Group A.
Jacob Bruun Larsen opened the scoring in the 51st minute with a heady touch and finish to beat Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic:
Paco Alcácer also scored in the 72nd minute and Marco Reus finished off the French side with a goal in stoppage time.
Monaco and Dortmund share a similar blueprint, buying budding talent young and outwitting opponents tactically to maximize their more limited budget compared to Europe’s biggest clubs.
Dortmund outmaneuvered Monaco in this regard on Wednesday, and is in prime position to advance because of it.
Icardi’s moment of brilliance buoys Inter Milan
Outside of Lionel Messi, the best attacker in Argentina’s player pool might well be Mauro Icardi.
Why he hasn’t received more national team call-ups is a conversation for another day, because he made it his day on Wednesday in the Netherlands.
Icardi expertly played a long ball from Matías Vecino in the 60th minute, tapping a header away from goal to let PSV Eindhoven keeper Jeroen Zoet and defender Daniel Schwaab collide into each other, and then slickly finishing with his right foot to secure three points for Inter:
PSV went ahead on a goal by Pablo Rosario midway through the first half, but Inter maintained pace with Barcelona atop Group B, as both teams have a full six points from two matches. There’s a good chance Tottenham Hotspur jumps back in the mix for advancement, but there’s also no doubt Inter’s start has boosted its own chances.
Other Champions League scores
AS Roma 5-0 Viktoria PlzenParis Saint-Germain 6-1 Crvena ZvezdaAtletico Madrid 3-1 Club BruggeFC Porto 1-0 Galatasaray
Joey Gulino is the editor of FC Yahoo and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.
More soccer from Yahoo Sports:• McIntyre: Barcelona convincingly takes out Spurs at Wembley• McKennie scores game-winner for FC Schalke in Champions League• Pulisic misses Borussia Dortmund’s victory due to injury• European giants Man United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich fall short