Dries Mertens told Napoli they must back up their 2-0 victory over Liverpool in Tuesday's Champions League opener.

For the second season in a row Jurgen Klopp's Reds were beaten at the Stadio San Paolo without scoring a goal.

But last time out the Partenopei failed to qualify from the group stage despite having earned a 1-0 home victory over Liverpool, who went on to win the tournament.

Mertens' penalty gave Napoli a late lead and Virgil van Dijk's rare error ensured former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente could add a second to settle matters.

"We gave everything and ran so hard," the Belgium forward told Sky Sport Italia. 

"When you take three points at the end of a game like that, it all feels good.

"It doesn't mean anything to beat the Champions League holders unless we keep going.

"We saw [Group E rivals] Salzburg beat Genk 6-2, they are also a strong team so we have to do well in the next game too.

"Last season we also did well and beat them 1-0 here. I think we prepared well as we knew what we had to do. We didn't have enough of the ball in the first half but we gave our all.

"We lost last season at Salzburg in the Europa League so will not take them for granted. We also have Lecce this weekend and saw that they just beat Torino."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson accepts his team must cut out errors at the back, having kept only one clean sheet in eight competitive games this term.

"In the first half I felt we played some good stuff," he told BT Sport. 

"We were just missing that final bit. Napoli are a good side and you have to defend as a team which I felt we did.

"The mistakes for the goal we need to improve on. Overall we can be better, we take responsibility and try and react the right way."

Jordan Henderson dismissed suggestions Liverpool were Champions League favourites, saying it was too early for such talk.

Liverpool begin the defence of their European title on Tuesday, making the trip to Napoli in their opening game in Group E.

But amid talk Jurgen Klopp's men were favourites to go back-to-back, Henderson played down those suggestions.

"I think it's too early to be saying stuff like that," he told a news conference.

"For us, we've started the season really well and we just want to continue that on. We still feel that we can improve and get better.

"That's what we try to do [against Napoli], we try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

Liverpool have made a perfect start to the Premier League season, winning their opening five games to open up an early five-point lead at the top.

While they may be targeted as champions of Europe, Henderson said it was something Liverpool had to deal with regardless.

"I feel as though being at Liverpool everybody wants to beat you anyway so it's the same for us. We want to beat anybody we play, they want to beat us," the midfielder said.

"For us it's the same as it always has been which is to give everything in every single game we play and we know that it will be a tough, tough game [against Napoli].

"They are a great side but we've got to concentrate on what we can do and if we perform to the level I know we can then we have a good opportunity to win the game."

Liverpool will be without Divock Origi, who is set to be sidelined for up to two weeks due to an ankle injury suffered in Saturday's 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

That could provide an opportunity for Rhian Brewster and Henderson backed the 19-year-old forward.

"Rhian's been really good pre-season, he was really strong, in training he's been really good. It gives us another option," he said.

"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."

Jurgen Klopp dismissed his agent's talk of the weather in Liverpool as a joke that had been misunderstood, clarifying he would not leave Merseyside simply for a warmer climate.

The Reds boss' future was brought up as friend and agent Marc Kosicke complained to DAZN of the gloomy weather during Liverpool winters, suggesting it had hindered contract talks in the past.

But Klopp, facing the media ahead of playing Napoli in the Champions League, sought to set the record straight.

While making repeated light-hearted comments about the temperature of the sweltering media room in Naples, Klopp explained: "He wanted to make a joke so I have to be serious.

"I could make a lot of jokes about the weather - especially sitting here sweating like crazy... I'm not sure I could work here.

"It was obviously the German humour and nobody got it. The weather was never a reason for me to choose a city.

"Liverpool is not always nice but, between March and September, it's nicer than I imagined. I came in October and you could say not to move to Liverpool in October because, until March, it's not too cool.

"It was a bit harsh and I spoke a lot about the weather, but it was long ago. Now, when I speak about the weather, I speak about the wind, which has an affect on football, but that is not allowed as well in England.

"It's not a reason for me to leave the country. I'm fine with the weather. Maybe, at the moment, it's the most healthy weather in the world - we have enough rain, wind is there, it's pretty much the opposite of this room.

"I enjoy that quite often. There's nothing in that story. Obviously it was a bump - he said something and they all went for it.

"He's not only my agent, he's my friend; friends say what they want and he did that and nobody got his joke. That's how it is."

Meanwhile, preparing for the first match of Liverpool's title defence, Klopp remained in jovial mood as it was put to him that his side might be the best in Europe.

Laughing as he heard the question, the manager said: "We cannot be the best team in Europe as 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 it constantly. Last year, we were really good. I'm not sure we were the best team in Europe, but we were really good at the right moments. That's why we won the Champions League."

Captain Jordan Henderson similarly was not interested in talk of being considered favourites for the Champions League.

"It's too early to be saying stuff like that," he said. "We have started the season really well and just want to continue that.

"We still feel we can improve and get better - that's what we will try to do tomorrow night. We will try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

Roberto Firmino will start Liverpool's visit of Newcastle United on the bench after playing twice on international duty, giving Divock Origi the chance to impress.

Firmino started both of Brazil's international friendlies, against Colombia and Peru, in the past week, playing a total of 146 minutes across the two outings in Miami and Los Angeles.

Given Brazil's 1-0 defeat to Peru took place only a little over three days ago, Jurgen Klopp has opted to keep him in reserve.

The only other change to the side that beat Burnley 3-0 before the international break sees Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain come in for Jordan Henderson in midfield.

Klopp's decision to rest Firmino is made even less surprising by the fact the Reds begin their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.

"Of course, we have to think about these things," Klopp told BT Sport. "Hendo [Henderson] is ready, Bobby [Firmino] is probably ready, but it's not about being ready – it's a bigger picture and we have to think about that.

"We could have made more changes, but we need the rhythm as well and it makes not too much sense. A lot of games are coming up.

"We really want to have the best starting line-up we can have for the specific opponent and that's what we thought is the right one."

Former Red Jonjo Shelvey starts in midfield for Newcastle, who will be hoping to stop Liverpool's 100 per cent start to the season.

Kosovo boss Bernard Challandes has dared his players to dream of producing an upset against England, who he labelled as the best team in the world.

World Cup 2018 semi-finalists England have won all three Euro 2020 qualifiers ahead of Tuesday's visit of Kosovo at St Mary's Stadium, scoring 14 goals and conceding one.

Kosovo also enter the match in good form thanks to an unbeaten 15-match run, but Challandes is fully aware of the size of the task facing his side in Southampton.

"We are Kosovo and we are here against one of the best teams in the world - in my opinion the best team in the world," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"I think it is in my philosophy that if we don't dream it is unnecessary to play such games, we should dream and do all that is possible to disturb England."

Kosovo were only accepted as a UEFA and FIFA member in 2016 and they have gone nearly two years since last tasting defeat.

Challandes' side have drawn two and won two of their Group F qualifiers and occupy second place, sitting one point adrift of England who have a game in hand to play.

"We are a young federation - never have we played against such an opponent," Challandes said on the eve of the top-of-the-table clash.

"For me as a coach it is not easy to have a good mix for the evaluation of this game.

"If I say, 'We come to win', I think a lot of people think that is pretentious. If I say, 'It is not possible to win against England', I must change my job.

"Never did we think after four games that we play for the first place here in England.

"It is clear for me it will be a very, very hard game but it is a possibility for our very young team to show what is a very, very high level."

England maintained their impressive goalscoring form in Saturday's 4-0 win over Bulgaria, captain Harry Kane netting a hat-trick and setting up Raheem Sterling for the other.

But Challandes insisted his side will not sit back and defend against the Group A pacesetters.

"Harry Kane and Sterling and [Marcus] Rashford and, and, and, and, and..." he said.

"For me it is a wonderful team but I have only this way in my head - I don't want to say to my team, 'Okay, we stay in our own half and defend, defend, defend'.

"I hope we can play and be an opponent, not a big opponent but and opponent with intensity."

Victory over Kosovo will see England take another huge step towards qualifying for next year's European Championship finals, where a number of games - including the semi-finals and final - will be staged at Wembley.

After lifting the Champions League with Liverpool in June, Three Lions midfielder Jordan Henderson is eyeing his first piece of silverware at international level on home soil.

"It would mean a lot, any trophy that I win, I will be over the moon," he told reporters. "That is all I ever want is to win, whether that's at Liverpool or England.

"It means so much to me to win trophies or win as a team. To win a trophy in the summer was massive and huge for me and my team, for England that is what we want to achieve.

"We want to win trophies and be as successful as we can be. Hopefully one day we can do that."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson thinks there will be no lasting repercussions to Sadio Mane's furious outburst against Burnley on Saturday.

Mane seemed to be livid with team-mate Mohamed Salah after being substituted at Turf Moor, where the Reds claimed a 3-0 victory.

The Senegal forward was apparently angry at Salah for taking a shot moments earlier rather than setting up his team-mate for a simple finish.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said Mane was "completely fine" after the match and Henderson also saw little to be concerned about.

"I've seen it now and again. Sadio is fine, he's a great lad. That's just us pushing each other all the time. I think that's important," he said.

"We all want to do better, we all want to improve, but we're really close and I think we can deal with that.

"I'm not sure [what set him off] to be honest. I couldn't really understand at first, but then when he came in, he was laughing and joking.

“The most important thing was we got the result, Sadio knows that. He performed really well again. Him and Bobby [Roberto Firmino] were really big second ball. He had a fantastic game.

"Like I said, we want to push each other. We want to improve all the time, I quite like that now and again. I think we need it."

A freakish Chris Wood own goal put Liverpool ahead before Mane and Firmino sealed a third win from three this season and a club-record 13th in a row in the Premier League.

Henderson, though, is not looking too far ahead despite their position at the top of the table.

"We want to win every week, we want to perform every week and that's difficult because there are so many good sides in the Premier League and in Europe. It's really hard," he said.

"After the international break, the games come thick and fast. In the last couple of weeks, we've had a week building up to the games, which has helped us on the grass. We will need the full squad to be ready when we come back.

"For me it's just about concentrating on what we need to do. We have been very mature in our performances, especially away from home. We want to continue that form, keep doing the right things, keep working hard as a team. If we do that, we can put on performances like that."

Jordan Henderson says Liverpool are not interested in laying down a marker to the rest of the Premier League, insisting their focus is simply on winning games.

The Reds continued their excellent start to the season on Saturday, easing past Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield to register a third consecutive top-flight win in 2019-20.

Henderson is refusing to get carried away, though, and says he is not concerned about sending a message to their title rivals.

Asked by BBC's Match of the Day if last season's runners-up had made a statement with their start, Henderson said: "I don't really care. It is about performing and winning. Each week we want to step on the grass and focus on winning. That is all the focus is on.

"It was a really good performance overall. If we are being critical, we are disappointed with the goal but overall delighted with the three points."

Joel Matip got Liverpool on their way with a powerful header before Mohamed Salah added two more, and the Cameroon international was pleased with the Reds' patience.

"It was a tough game against a deep-lying and high-quality team," he told Sky Sports.

"If a team is standing on the edge of the box with eight players, it's hard for any team to get through. You need time to find space.

"After three games it doesn't say too much. We've won the first three games and now we're looking forward to Burnley [next Saturday]."

Adrian was thrilled to help Liverpool win the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on his first start for the club.

Deputising for the injured Alisson, Adrian denied Tammy Abraham to seal a 5-4 penalty shoot-out success for the European champions over Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday.

With Alisson expected to miss several weeks due to a calf injury sustained against Norwich City in last week's Premier League opener, Adrian will have more chances to impress.

And the former West Ham goalkeeper was delighted to have made an impact on his full Reds debut as Jurgen Klopp's side made up for losing the Community Shield to Manchester City on penalties.

"Welcome to Liverpool! It has been a crazy week," Adrian said to BT Sport. "I am happy for the team, with them it is easy.

"I am happy to win the trophy. I am really happy for the fans. It was a long game but in the end it was a great finish."

Adrian was able to make amends for conceding a penalty in extra time, Jorginho converting to make it 2-2 after the goalkeeper felled Abraham.

Replays appeared to indicate contact with the striker was minimal and Adrian disagreed with the decision made by Stephanie Frappart, who became the first female official to take charge of a major men's final.

"I tried to stop when I saw him. The striker is intelligent," Adrian added. 

"I touched him but he was looking for it. I told the referee I tried to stop but it doesn't matter.

"We got the title and have to enjoy tonight."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson accepted the Reds were not at their best against the Europa League winners but cited difficult conditions for their unimposing performance.

"It was tough. It is humid here - you can't tell on the TV," Henderson told BT Sport. "It was tough with extra time - a lot of the lads were struggling. We were trying to keep the ball and get a breather but it was a bit sloppy.

"Chelsea are a good side and this is not a great way for them to lose, like we did in the Community Shield. I'm delighted for Adrian, who is the hero tonight.

"We've got a big game on Saturday [against Southampton] so I'm delighted. We want to win as many trophies as possible. We'll take the trophy back and enjoy it, but we've got to focus on recovery for a big game on Saturday.

"We didn't play particularly well but we kept grinding in tough conditions, kept going. It's another trophy for us and it's important to keep winning. Hopefully we can continue this run of form now."

Jordan Henderson urged supporters to "dream big" on the day Liverpool began their latest quest to win a first Premier League title.

Liverpool led the way at the top of the table with 10 games to go last season, only to finish a point behind back-to-back champions Manchester City.

The blow of missing out on a maiden Premier League crown was softened by success in the Champions League, with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in June's final giving Reds fans something to celebrate.

Captain Henderson, who played for 79 minutes in last weekend's Community Shield clash with City, insisted he and his Liverpool team-mates are focused on adding more trophies to the cabinet.

"As a team we want our supporters to dream and dream big," Henderson told the club's matchday programme. "At Wembley the passion and noise from the Liverpool fans was magnificent.

"They showed the right mentality - when Liverpool play it always matters. They gave everything to make the atmosphere special and it made a difference to us and how we attacked the game.

"The supporters who went to Wembley helped set the tone. For each game, give everything you have. We want everyone to have the biggest ambitions possible.

"It’s our job to deliver and to do that we can’t afford distraction and we can’t afford to pause and feel satisfaction. What we achieved last season will be cherished by everyone connected to this club forever, not least myself.

"But now, for us as a group of players, we’re already focused on 2019-20. Quite simply we have to be if we want to have a chance of success again. What we can afford is to keep the focus on what’s ahead and what we can positively affect."

Liverpool were handed a home match against Norwich City on Friday to kick off the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Norwich were promoted as Championship winners and Henderson was wary of an opening-day upset at Anfield.

He added: "In this league, the moment you’re complacent or arrogant you are done for. It’s why staying focused and staying hungry is critical and I’m confident as a dressing room we have those qualities."

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and five Liverpool players have been shortlisted for 2018-19 Champions League positional awards. 

Liverpool defeated Tottenham in the Champions League final and have seen goalkeeper Alisson, defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk, midfielder Jordan Henderson and forward Sadio Mane named among the contenders in their respective categories.

Tottenham also have representation through keeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Barcelona superstar Messi, who was the top scorer in last season's competition with 12 goals, will vie with Mane and old adversary Ronaldo for the forward award.

Midfielder Frenkie de Jong and defender Matthijs de Ligt – who are now at Barcelona and Juventus respectively – were also nominated after playing pivotal roles in Ajax's run to the semi-finals.

The awards will be presented during the 2019-20 Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday 29 August.

The shortlisting jury comprised the coaches of the 32 clubs from last season's group stage and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

 

Full list of nominees for 2018-19 Champions League position awards:
  
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur); Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona).
 
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, now Juventus), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).
 
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax, now Barcelona), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
 
Forwards: Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus).

Jordan Henderson is happy to trust manager Jurgen Klopp if he feels Liverpool do not need to dip into the transfer market before the new season.

With the window set to close on Thursday, European champions Liverpool's only additions have been teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott.

Klopp has insisted the Reds must understand they cannot always spend big, while he has also pointed to the strength of a squad boosted by fit-again duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster.

Captain Henderson has no issue with the approach, believing his manager knows best.

"I think we've got a fantastic squad of players, we've showed that," he said. "We can use everybody, we've got big players coming back from long-term injuries, which is like new signings as the manager says.

"If the manager hasn't signed anyone then he knows better than everyone else, for me.

"We believe we've got a strong group in the changing room, a strong team, and we've just got to keep learning, keep improving on the training pitch, keep doing what we've been doing for a long time now, and keep staying hungry for more success."

Despite finishing second in the Premier League last season, Liverpool put together an outstanding campaign.

But Henderson is not interested in reflecting on past achievements as the Anfield giants approach a new season, starting against Norwich City on Friday.

"We can't always think back to what we did last season," he said after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday. "We're looking forward, we want to improve as a team.

"There were a lot of games last year where we didn't play particularly well and play as well as we like and we did grind results out at times.

"Performance-wise, we can be much better and that's what we've got to focus on. We've got to focus on each game as it comes.

"The performance has got to be improving all the time, and in the second half [against City] it did improve. We'll be disappointed with the first half but the second half was more like us."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson insists the Reds will have more competition than just Premier League champions Manchester City this season.

The Reds pushed City all the way in the league last term but saw Pep Guardiola's men defend their title by only one point on the final day.

Liverpool bounced back by claiming a sixth European Cup-Champions League title and the two sides are widely expected to battle for domestic and continental prizes again during the 2019-20 campaign.

That will start with Sunday's Community Shield between Liverpool and City at Wembley, yet Henderson does not believe the Reds can afford to be complacent about the chasing pack.

"Everyone will talk about Liverpool and City because they won the league and were so good and we won the Champions League," Henderson said. "It is easy to do that.

"You have to look at the other teams. They are going to improve. There are more teams than us and City who will be competing.

"But you have to respect them so much for winning the Premier League back-to-back. That is so difficult. They keep raising the bar and keep improving with the squad they have.

"So, we need to be doing the same and I think we will. The players are hungry. They want more. They want to keep working hard and the manager will make sure of that.

"We have great senior players in the team. We have to focus on what is ahead and keep challenging for all the trophies."

While Champions League finalists Tottenham and the rest of the top six will hope to be involved again at the business end of the season, Henderson is confident Liverpool can compete once more.

"We showed we were not disheartened after we did not win the league to go and win the Champions League," he said. "It was a big moment for us.

"We can use last season as the fuel to be even better to win it this year and compete again.

"We know how good City are and other teams will improve. The Premier League is so difficult. That showed last year, to play as we did and win so many games and not win it.

"But we keep going, giving everything and improving, and hopefully we challenge."

Jordan Henderson hailed the off-field influence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when the midfielder was injured and predicts he will be "like a new signing" for Liverpool in the new season.

England international Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a serious knee injury at the end of the 2017-18 campaign and missed most of the following season.

In 2018-19, the 25-year-old was only able to return for the final few weeks as he made two substitute appearances amounting to 19 minutes of action.

However, he has been fully involved in pre-season training in recent weeks and club captain Henderson has his fingers crossed for the former Arsenal man.

"I'm quite close to him. He's a fantastic person off the field," Henderson said in a news conference on Thursday.

"I'm sure he'll have been going through some painful times [but] he was always positive, always happy around the team, always there to support us when we needed him.

"He was a massive part for us off the field last season. This season I hope he's a massive part on the field as well and shows everyone what he's capable of like he did before he got injured.

"This pre-season is important for him to get back to playing games regularly, to get his match fitness back, and I'm sure once he does that he'll be flying again.

"He's like a new signing for us. He's a fantastic player, so powerful and he gives us something different in this team. Hopefully he can stay injury-free for a while now."

Steven Gerrard says he felt a deep sense of pride and kinship in seeing "selfless" successor Jordan Henderson lead Liverpool to Champions League glory.

Reds great Gerrard watched on as the club he captained for over a decade battled to a 2-0 defeat of Premier League rivals Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday.

It was the sixth time the Anfield side have been crowned European champions and the first since the famous Gerrard-inspired comeback against AC Milan in 2005.

Sunderland product Henderson inherited the armband 10 years later and fittingly celebrated at the Wanda Metropolitano in front of his former team-mate and mentor.

"[I felt] proud that Liverpool were back at the top of European football and especially proud of Jordan because I know how hard he works," Gerrard wrote in a column for The Times.

"I know the sacrifices he has made, the pressure and scrutiny he has been under.

"If I had to name someone I regarded as the ultimate professional, Jordan would be right at the top of the list. He is immaculate in the way he lives his life.

"Some people don't see the stuff behind the scenes, the gym work, the way he eats, but he is someone who is an incredible role model."

Henderson had to compete for his position earlier this term and capped a commendable return to prominence with a 90-minute performance as Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi combined to sink Spurs.

Criticism has often followed the 28-year-old England international on Merseyside, but Gerrard believes he has done well under the "magnified" pressure of captaining Liverpool.

"Scrutiny will always be there whether you are a player, a coach or a manager," he said.

"Jordan has had his fair share, but he handles it well and the best thing to do is let your football do the talking.

"That is what he has done. That is what he will continue to do."

Jordan Henderson was delighted to put a smile on his father's face after opening up about their emotional embrace following Liverpool's Champions League triumph.

One of the lasting images of the Reds' 2-0 win over Tottenham in Madrid was the sight of Henderson hugging his dad, Brian, and breaking down in tears amid the celebrations.

The Liverpool captain's father was diagnosed with throat cancer six years ago and initially hid the diagnosis from Henderson for fear it would derail his football career.

And Henderson was delighted to share the moment with his dad, who has since received the all-clear.

"My dad has been through a lot over the past few years, not only with himself but with his family," Henderson said. 

"I am sure he will be so proud to see us win the game and win the Champions League. It will mean the world to him. I am just glad I can put a smile on his face.

"It's obviously emotional. We have come a long way as a team and we have had so many knockbacks and to finally get over the line... it is an amazing feeling and one that we will remember forever. It's so special."

It was an almost cathartic moment for Henderson, who has often faced criticism over his role at Liverpool.

And, after several near misses under boss Jurgen Klopp, the importance of winning European football's biggest prize is not lost on the England international.

"It was nice to know we have come back from so many disappointments and finally get over the line and win a big trophy," Henderson added. 

"It is an amazing night and hopefully we can use this to win more in the future, it gives us confidence to know we can win the Champions League and together we can move forward and hopefully win more trophies as well."

Page 1 of 5
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.