THE largest crowd at a football match in this country since Celtic played Rangers in the 1989 Scottish Cup final at Hampden watched Napoli beat Champions League winners Liverpool in a pre-season friendly at Murrayfield this afternoon.

First-half goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Arek Milik and a second-half strike from substitute Amin Younes ensured Carlo Ancelotti’s team gained revenge of sorts for their exit from Europe’s premier club competition at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s side last year.

The disappointing display and poor result from the Premier League giants made for a decidedly flat atmosphere and sent the majority of the 65,442-strong crowd home disappointed.

There was no sign of Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane or Mo Salah in the Liverpool starting line-up; the quartet have been representing their countries at the African Cup of Nations and Copa America in the summer and weren’t in attendance.


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However, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, James Milner, Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum, all heroes of the 2-0 triumph over Spurs in Madrid at the beginning of last month, played.

Robertson, the left back who became the first Scot since former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Paul Lambert in 1997 to win the Champions League this summer, received the biggest cheer of the day when his name was read out by the stadium announcer before kick-off.

The two combatants certainly have recent history; Liverpool knocked Napoli out of the Champions League back in December when they beat them 1-0 at Anfield in their final Group C match thanks to a Salah goal.

Both clubs finished their section with nine points, but Klopp’s men went through to the knockout rounds because they had scored nine goals and Ancelotti’s charges had only netted seven.

The Italians clearly had a point to prove. They forged two ahead in the opening half an hour. It must be said, though, that their goals owed as much to the poor defending of their out-of-sorts opponents as they did to their attacking prowess.

In the 17th minute Lorenzo Insigne, the lively Italy forward, broke down the left and cut inside centre half Matip easily before curling a shot beyond Simon Mignolet and into the bottom right corner of the Liverpool net.


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That passage of play clearly angered Klopp on the sidelines; he exchanged a few choice words with Van Dijk and the former Celtic centre half gave him a few back in return

Scorer turned provider 11 minutes later. Insigne supplied Arek Milik from the left and the Polish striker slid in and diverted the ball past Mignolet from an acute angle.

Liverpool, lacking their usual spark without their famous forward line, certainly had their chances. Robertson burst forward and teed up Origi in just the third minute. But the man who had netted twice in that astonishing Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona and once against Spurs in the final failed to find the target on this occasion.

Wijnaldum also had a goal rightly ruled out by Scottish referee Bobby Madden in added-on time at the end of the first-half after his assistant Graeme Stewart ruled the Dutch midfielder had been offside when the ball was played through.

Liverpool defender Fabinho tried his luck from outside the Napoli penalty box early in the second-half. But goalkeeper Alex Meret dealt with it comfortably and the crowd favourites continued to toil. They fell 3-0 behind in the 52nd minute when Mignolet palmed an Insigne shot into Milner and the ball fell to the feet of Younes. The German winger had the simplest of tasks to score.