Liverpool’s struggles have continued with a 4-1 loss at Napoli in their Champions League opener while Robert Lewandowski hit a hat-trick for his new side Barcelona.
Barca beat Czech champions Viktoria Plzen 5-1 at Camp Nou on Wednesday night while Leroy Sane also shone as Lewandowski’s former club Bayern Munich won 2-0 at Inter Milan.
Last season’s runners-up Liverpool have had a patchy start to their Premier League campaign and the malaise spread to Europe’s top competition.
Piotr Zielinski’s early penalty after a handball, Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and substitute Giovanni Simeone made the difference in the first half in Italy.
Zielinski grabbed a second goal after the break before Luis Diaz struck for Liverpool and it could have been even worse for the Reds with Napoli spurning another spotkick.
“We were miles too open. You can’t come to a place like this and not be compact. They were by miles the better team,” said Liverpool left back Andy Robertson.
“Too many times they had spaces to run at us and cause us problems.
Unfortunately, we deserved this result,…we have to wake up and quickly because we can’t perform like that.”
Ajax, despite selling a host of top players, overpowered Rangers 4-0 in the other Group A opener in Amsterdam.
Bayern forward Sane rounded the goalkeeper midway through the first half at Inter following Joshua Kimmich’s superb long pass. In the second half, his effort went in off Danilo D’Ambrosio for an unlucky own goal.
Six-times champions Bayern – who drew their last two Bundesliga games – deserved to prevail at the San Siro, where Inter had also lost to city rivals AC Milan at the weekend.
It was a 19th win in a row for Bayern in an opening Champions League game.
Also in Group C, Barcelona crushed Plzen thanks to world player of the year Lewandowski’s treble, the first of probably many Champions League goals for his new club.
It took Lewandowski’s tally to eight goals from his first five matches this season. He became the first player to score hat tricks with three different clubs in the Champions League.
Club Bruges edged Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 at home with fellow Group B side Atletico Madrid beating Porto 2-1 in a crazy game with all three goals including Antonie Griezmann’s winner coming in stoppage time.
Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt marked their Champions League debut with a 3-0 home defeat by Sporting Lisbon.
They were undone by two quick goals midway through the second half. Sporting’s English forward Marcus Edwards was fortunate with a deflected effort for the first but showed great skill to set up Francisco Trincao for the second.
Nuno Santos added a third for Sporting’s first ever win in Germany.
“It might have been our Champions League debut but it was still a wasted day,” Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner said.
In the other Group D game, Tottenham Hotspur beat 10-man Marseille 2-0 at home after two Richarlison headers in the second half.