Diogo Jota is determined to find his best form for Liverpool now that he is back from injury.

The striker made his first start of the season in Tuesday's Champions League victory over Ajax, having previously been out with a hamstring issue.

Jota provided an assist for Mohamed Salah's opener in the 2-1 win at Anfield, which also saw Joel Matip head in an 89th-minute winner to give Liverpool their first points in Group A.

Speaking to the club's website, the Portugal international outlined his frustration at starting the season injured, but he wants to make up for lost time after seeing his team-mates struggle in the opening weeks.

Liverpool's win against Ajax was just their third victory in eight games since the season began, having drawn three and lost one of their six Premier League fixtures, and they also lost their opening Champions League group game 4-1 at Napoli last week.

"Coming back from injury, [you] always wish for a different scenario and everything is rolling and we are winning the games comfortably, but it is what it is," Jota said.

"We need to think and to deal with the situation and I think I did that [against Ajax], and the team did that, so all good."

Jota initially sustained an injury on international duty at the end of last season, and then suffered a recurrence almost immediately in pre-season, meaning he could only make his first appearance as a late substitute in the recent 0-0 draw at Everton.

"It was the first time in my career that happened, but we cannot change that," the former Wolves player said. "I think I need to do my best from now on. Obviously [the] coach knows that as well. I've been playing gradually more and more so I can be ready to play 90 minutes soon."

Manager Jurgen Klopp had spoken of some strong words being shared among the players following their chastening defeat in Naples, and Jota believes the team responded with their performance against Ajax.

"Our last game was not good enough so it was a big improvement," he said. "Not perfect, obviously – but a very good game from our side.

"I think we didn't deserve the goal we conceded [to Mohammad Kudus], that's football. I think we reacted [in] the way that was possible and, in the end, we got the result that we deserved."

Massimiliano Allegri told his Juventus players to internalise their frustration and focus on training harder after defeat to Benfica put their Champions League hopes in peril.

A 2-1 loss in Turin followed last week's defeat by the same scoreline at Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the Bianconeri six points behind both of their early conquerors after two rounds of Group H games.

Allegri, in the second season of his second spell as Juventus head coach, appeared to point to the mental fragility of his team after the final whistle, saying they "collapsed" after going 2-1 behind in the 55th minute.

He has said he does not fear for his job, nor is he willing to engage in drawn-out public discourse about how the Turin giants might get back on track.

It is simple, according to Allegri, who believes working beats talking in a time of crisis.

"I knew when I came back that it would take time to rebuild," he said. "But unfortunately I did not think that at this moment we would lose two games in a row [in the Champions League]."

Juventus won nine consecutive Serie A titles before failing to make it 10 in a row during Andrea Pirlo's single season in charge.

They laboured to fourth place under Allegri last term, and the coach says finding an instant winning formula was always going to be difficult.

"But this is something the club knows, we all know it, but the important thing is to try to do well, to stay in the Champions League," Allegri said. "And these two games p***** us off.

"This does not mean that everything is compromised in the Champions League, but at the moment talking is useless. Plus the less we talk, the better it is, because we waste less energy."

With his team sitting eighth in Serie A after two wins and four draws so far this season, Allegri's words sounded worrying after Wednesday's defeat.

Juve had no response to the dominance of Benfica, who had previously lost 10 of their last 12 visits against Italian clubs.

"In these moments I think there are few explanations to give," Allegri said, "because in any case after we went 2-1 down, the game was over because it was in their hands. On a psychological level we had collapsed and therefore, in this moment, we can only remain silent, work and take little step after little step to get back up."

He pinpointed Sunday's Serie A game against Monza as a chance to bounce back, but whatever the result of that game it will do nothing to repair the early damage to Juve's European hopes.

"At this moment, going to look for and talk about the problems that exist does not make sense," Allegri said.

"The Champions League in this moment is complicated. This doesn't mean that it is already over, but at the moment the closest thing is Monza. So we have four days to better prepare for the match in Monza at a mental level."

He added: "I don't want to blame the lads for anything. It is normal that there must be a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone and everyone needs to do something more – not overdo, but do."

Carlo Ancelotti saluted the impact of substitute Marco Asensio following his goal in Real Madrid's 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

The reigning champions made it six points from six in Group F after netting twice in the final 10 minutes to battle past their spirited opponents at Santiago Bernabeu.

After Federico Valverde opened the scoring, Asensio sealed the victory by sweeping a wonderful first-time effort into the top corner from Toni Kroos' lay-off for his eighth Champions League goal as a substitute - now the most of any player in the history of the competition.

The winger, who replaced Eduardo Camavinga in the 64th minute, was repeatedly linked with a move away from Madrid during the transfer window, and entered the contest having played just 17 minutes for Los Blancos across all competitions this season.

His frustration at the lack of playing time boiled over when he was overlooked by Ancelotti during Sunday's 4-1 win over Mallorca; throwing his bib to the ground while kicking a water bottle. But the Italian was pleased by Asensio's response.

"[I am] happy, he has had minutes and has delivered. I think he needed this goal," said Ancelotti, who became only the second coach to record 100 Champions League wins after Alex Ferguson (102). 

"At first, he hesitated whether to leave or stay, but he has stayed, and we were all happy. [It was a] good game, although we suffered a bit in the first half.

"The most important thing was to prevent them from having space behind the defenders, and that's why we wanted a slow pace. At half-time, we decided to put more energy into the game."

Madrid have now recorded clean sheets in each of their last three matches in the competition; doing so for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

And goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois highlighted the significance of making a strong start in Group F, with a double-header against Shakhtar Donetsk to come.

"It was important to start our defence with two straight wins," he said. "Now, if we can win our two against Shakhtar, we'll be nearly through to the next round.

"Maybe when we played better, we still didn't make huge danger [today], but the key was that we took our chances. 

"We applied much better pressure in the second half. We marked our men, played the ball simply when we had it. Our general play needs to improve - too many times, we failed to make our passes."

Massimiliano Allegri insisted he has no fears for his Juventus job as he urged the Bianconeri to put worries aside to respond to their Champions League defeat to Benfica.

Juve are without a point in the Champions League after two Group H games, falling to a 2-1 defeat after Joao Mario cancelled out Arkadiusz Milik's opener before David Neres scored a second-half winner.

That marked the first time Juve have opened a Champions League group stage with two losses, while they suffered three straight defeats in Europe's premier club competition for the first time since September 1972.

With just one win in seven games amid a poor run in Serie A, pressure continues to grow on Allegri but the Juve coach remains confident he is the right man to take the Bianconeri forward.

"Absolutely yes, we have a bit of difficulty but there are a few players missing," Allegri responded to Amazon Prime Video when asked if he felt he could turn things around.

"We must work with calmness and with the responsibility of all."

Juve have won just one of their last seven games in Europe against Benfica, who moved level at the top of Group H with Paris Saint-Germain after the Ligue 1 side downed Maccabi Haifa 3-1 on Wednesday.

The Bianconeri had no response to the dominance of Benfica, who had previously lost 10 of their last 12 visits against Italian sides, leading Allegri to call on a response from his players.

"It is difficult to explain what happened but after going 2-1 down, the match is over. The performance would have been bad too [even if we got] a draw," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Now we don't need to talk, just work and think about on the pitch. I told the team that in football these moments happen and you have to get out of them as a collective.

"In the Champions League it's hard, but it's not finished. I understand the difficult moment for the team. We don't have to think about worries, we just have to do."

Juve will hope to respond when they visit Monza in Serie A on Sunday, with their next Champions League clash coming against Maccabi Haifa at home on October 5.

Leonardo Bonucci conceded the jeers from Juventus fans were deserved in the Champions League defeat to Benfica, leaving the Bianconeri captain "worried" by a situation that "needs to be changed".

Juve needed just four minutes to take the lead in Turin as Arkadiusz Milik headed in, only for Joao Mario to restore parity with a first-half penalty.

David Neres secured a deserved three points for Roger Schmidt's side after the interval, with Dusan Vlahovic seeing a goal ruled out for offside and Bremer blasting over as Juve looked to snatch a late equaliser.

That left Juve with just one win in seven European outings against Benfica, who sit level on points with Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Group H after the Ligue 1 side overcame Maccabi Haifa 3-1 on Wednesday.

Defeat also marked the first time Juve have lost their opening two games in the competition's group stage, while it is the first occasion they have lost three games in a row in the European Cup or Champions League since September 1972.

Pressure continues to mount on coach Massimiliano Allegri after just one win in Juve's last seven games, and Bonucci offered an honest appraisal after yet another frustrating performance at the Allianz Stadium.

"The whistles are right. There is little to say. We have lost a game that we absolutely shouldn't have lost," the Italy international told Amazon Prime Video. 

"It is right that we are booed. I am the captain who must put my face to it. We are going through a moment where we find it hard to do everything.

"I'm worried, there is nothing to hide. Unfortunately, we leave the game too often. I don't know why and that's the thing that worries me the most.

"We struggle to keep the games constant. Now there is little to say, we just have to shut up, work and look forward.

"I think it is a situation that needs to be changed certainly. We have many players out, we are always playing the same ones and you feel the fatigue. It is everyone's fault."

Juve remain without a point after two Group H games in the Champions League, and will look to make amends on the return to Serie A action at Monza on Sunday.

David Neres scored a second-half winner as Juventus continued their poor start to the season with a 2-1 defeat at home to Benfica in the Champions League.

Having seen a late winner ruled out in Sunday's ill-tempered draw with Salernitana, Arkadiusz Milik took just four minutes to open the scoring, flicking past Odisseas Vlachodimos to seemingly put the hosts in control.

However, Joao Mario levelled things up with a first-half penalty and Neres volleyed in the winner after 55 minutes, putting Benfica joint-top of Group H alongside Paris Saint-Germain.

There were chances for a late equaliser, Dusan Vlahovic seeing an effort disallowed and Bremer squandering a golden opportunity to leave the pressure mounting upon Massimiliano Allegri.

Juve raced out the blocks in a frantic start, with Milik's glancing header from Leandro Paredes' right-wing cross finding the bottom-left corner to open the scoring.

Filip Kostic drilled just wide from Juan Cuadrado's looping delivery before Goncalo Ramos should have restored parity but directed straight at Mattia Perin with a close-range header.

Rafa struck the right-hand post with a curling effort but Benfica's dominance soon paid dividends when Joao Mario converted his penalty, which was awarded after a VAR check for a Fabio Miretti foul on Ramos.

Vlachodimos parried away a swerving Milik shot after the interval before Neres smashed a left-footed volley into the bottom-left corner following Perin's save from Rafa's drive.

Perin was again required to push away a fizzing Rafa strike before the Juve goalkeeper showed smart reflexes to keep out a Neres strike as Benfica threatened to extend their lead.

Vlahovic thought he had snatched a late equaliser, only for the offside flag to go up after Mattia De Scigilo's cross from the left, before Bremer blazed a golden opportunity over with just three minutes left.

What does it mean? Juve struggles against Benfica continue

Juve have now won just one of seven European meetings with Benfica as their uninspiring form in both the Champions League and Serie A continued at the Allianz Stadium.

Benfica had lost 10 of their last 12 away games against Italian sides, with their only win coming against Fiorentina in the 1996-97 Cup Winners Cup, but responded emphatically to Milik's opener to collect a rare victory in Italy.

Defeat left Juve without a point to their name in Group H and Allegri's side have ground to make up on Roger Schmidt's side, who are level on points with PSG after their perfect start.

Rafa shines

Rafa was a constant menace to the Juve defence as he repeatedly found space in between the lines to operate behind the dangerous Ramos.

While he was denied by the woodwork and by Perin in the build-up to Neres' goal, Rafa also created a game-high four chances (level with Paredes) in a brilliant attacking display.

More needed from Miretti

Injuries to the likes of Paul Pogba, Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot have offered Miretti a chance in Allegri's starting line-up.

But the youngster struggled as he gave away the first-half penalty, while winning less than half of his 12 duels and completing just 11 passes before his 58th-minute removal.

What's next?

Juve return to Serie A action at Monza on Sunday, while Benfica host Maritimo in the Primeira Liga on the same day.

Koke has urged Atletico Madrid to be "more aggressive" following their Champions League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen at BayArena.

Diego Simeone's side suffered their first loss in this season's competition, after the hosts struck twice in the final six minutes of the Group B clash.

With the contest heading for a stalemate, Robert Andrich fired Leverkusen ahead before Moussa Diaby rounded off a quickfire counter to seal the points.

Atletico have now lost seven of their last eight Champions League away games in Germany, where you must go back to a 1-0 victory over FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1961-62 Cup Winners' Cup for their most recent clean sheet.

And the skipper issued a rallying cry to his team-mates, telling Movistar: "I felt like we had more or less control over the match because not a lot was happening. But then in two counter-attacks, they score two goals.

"I think we can do a lot more, we can give more - we've shown that in other matches. We have to be self-critical.

"We knew that they had fast players and that's how they hurt us. We need to be more forceful in both areas, more aggressive - that's one of the keys. They deserved the victory tonight."

Meanwhile, head coach Diego Simeone urged his players to swiftly put the defeat behind with a double-header against Club Brugge to come in Group B.

"It was a game where we couldn't figure it out before 70 or 80 minutes," the Argentine said. Especially in the first half, we had two or three plays to exploit them better, more vision of the game to be able to hurt from the possibilities that were given. We didn't take advantage of them.

"You have to forget this match quickly. It is clear that the group is competitive. Bruges won... we will have two matches in a row with them. They will be hard and difficult. It will be tight, as always in the Champions League."

Club Brugge forward Kamal Sowah warned Champions League rivals to "watch out for us" after an impressive 4-0 away thrashing of Porto.

It was the Belgian side's joint-biggest away win in the competition, with Sowah getting on the scoresheet with a 47th-minute goal, his first for the club since signing in 2021 from Leicester City.

Also in the goals was 17-year-old substitute Antonio Nusa, whose 89th-minute finish made him the youngest player to score on a Champions League debut, as well as the second-youngest player in history behind Ansu Fati to net in the competition.

Brugge's victory means they top Group B and have won consecutive Champions League games for only the second time, and Sowah says the team must be taken seriously.

"It was a great moment to score my first goal for the club and in the Champions League no less," Sowah said, quoted by UEFA.

"I think I have been working so hard for this opportunity and everything just went our way in this game.

"It's not finished yet. It doesn't stop here, we have the next game coming. And suddenly everyone needs to watch out for us."

Marco Rose has been appointed as the new coach of Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on a deal until June 2024.

Leipzig acted swiftly following the dismissal on Wednesday of Domenico Tedesco, who lasted just nine months in the role after replacing Jesse Marsch.

Tedesco paid the price for a poor start to the season that yielded just one win from five Bundesliga matches, while their Champions League campaign got under way with a 4-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

In his place comes Leipzig-born Rose, who parted company with Borussia Dortmund in May after just one season in charge despite securing a second-place finish.

Rose is a familiar face in the Red Bull set-up having previously coached Salzburg, after rising through their youth-team coaching ranks.

It was his work in Austria, where he won two top-flight titles and the Austrian cup, that meant Rose earned admirers in Germany, and a move to Borussia Monchengladbach occurred prior to the 2019-2020 season.

He helped Gladbach to a fourth-place finish in his first season in charge and, although they placed eighth in the following campaign, a run to the Champions League knockout stages saw Dortmund come calling.

Dortmund finished eight points behind champions Bayern last term, and the two parties went separate ways, but Rose will now have another crack at a big job in the Bundesliga with Leipzig.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann believed his side "absolutely deserved the win" as they beat Inter 2-0 at the San Siro to kick off their Champions League campaign.

A brilliant first-half goal from Leroy Sane set the German champions on their way to victory, before a Danilo D'Ambrosio own goal as he clumsily tried to block a Sane shot killed the game off.

The Bundesliga side saw out the remaining minutes to earn a clean sheet and all three points to make it 11 games unbeaten against Italian teams in the Champions League, as they look for their first European title since the 2019-20 season.

And Nagelsmann was delighted with his team's performance, telling reporters: "I'm happy with the performance today. We had a good intensity throughout the 90 minutes.

"In both halves, we had a spell of 10 minutes where we gave the opponent space and our opponents can obviously play.

"But overall we absolutely deserved the win. It was important to start with three points.

While Nagelsmann was pleased with his players, he believes there is much work to be done as they hunt for trophies.

"I enjoy it when we win. But there are many areas of improvement, we want to exploit them and we will try to do it on a daily basis."

Elsewhere in Europe, former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as his new side Barcelona opened up their Champions League group stage with a 5-1 thrashing of Viktoria Plzen.

Lewandowski returns to the Allianz Arena next week as his old and new teams face off, and Nagelsmann says he hopes the fans give him a good reception despite his somewhat acrimonious departure.

When asked about facing him, Nagelsmann added: "I am looking forward to it, yes. Not so much to facing him, because he is very dangerous in front of goal.

"But as a person I will be pleased to see him. I hope the fans will honour that too, regardless of how things were with his departure."

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi lamented his side's failure to "play the perfect match" after their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

A first-half goal from Leroy Sane and a Danilo D'Ambrosio own goal were enough for the Bundesliga champions to open their group-stage campaign with three points at San Siro.

The winners of the 2019-20 edition of Europe's premier competition dominated Inter, attempting 21 shots at goal compared to the Italian side's nine as Inzaghi's men only registered two shots on target.

Inzaghi was frustrated with his team's lacklustre performance, telling Sky Sport Italia: "In the first 20 minutes we lost many duels against an intense, extraordinary team, one of the strongest in Europe.

"After the first goal, where we had to do better as a team, we created many potential chances but we missed several last passes unfortunately.

"We brought more pressure in the second half and had opportunities to [get back into it].

"It is clear that you have to play the perfect match against such opponents, we were facing a team of the highest quality, among the best three in Europe in my opinion."

The defeat to Bayern is Inter's second in a row, after they were beaten 3-2 by city rivals Milan at the weekend.

Striker Edin Dzeko knows his team must improve if they are to compete for Serie A and Champions League silverware, telling Mediaset Infinity: "I think Bayern were stronger than us today. It is the truth. Teams like this punish you for every mistake.

"I'm not worried. I know we are strong and we are definitely not 100 per cent yet. These defeats just prove that we have to work."

Luciano Spalletti acknowledged Napoli's 4-1 Champions League hammering of Liverpool will cause a "stir" as he urged his players to deliver again after laying down a benchmark.

Goals from Piotr Zielinski, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone sent Napoli in 3-0 up at half-time, though it could have been four if Victor Osimhen's penalty was not saved by Alisson.

That marked just the fourth occasion Liverpool have found themselves three goals down at the interval in the Champions League, with Zielinski adding a fourth soon after the break.

Luis Diaz curled in a fine curling effort to reduce the deficit, but the Reds never recovered from a toothless showing as they fell to their joint-heaviest defeat in the competition.

Napoli are also unbeaten in their last nine Champions League home matches (W6 D3), scoring 20 goals and conceding just five in this spell – which includes three wins over Liverpool.

With an impressive showing in UEFA's flagship club competition, Spalletti suggested his side have placed a marker for their performances and must seize the initiative after a memorable victory.

"It is an important result because the measures are always taken based on who the opponent is, and they are called Liverpool so the result will cause a bit of a stir," coach Spalletti told Amazon Prime Video.

"What becomes fundamental is to play the football we know how to do and follow it up for 95 minutes, without going in flashes, that highlights the level of personality."

Asked if the victory served as a lesson for what Napoli could achieve, Spalletti added: "No lessons, no presumption, no arrogance.

"When you play for Napoli you have to do this every day. We played a good game, now let's think about Spezia."

Napoli will look to capitalise on the impetus from their victory over Liverpool when they host Spezia on Saturday before facing Rangers, who were smashed 4-0 by Ajax in Wednesday's other Group A game.

Antonio Conte hailed Richarlison's versatility after the Brazilian opened his Tottenham account with a brace to seal a 2-0 Champions League win over Marseille on Wednesday.

Spurs took full advantage of Chancel Mbemba's red card as Richarlison twice headed past Pau Lopez inside the final 15 minutes, ensuring Conte's men won their opening match in a Champions League campaign for only the second time.

Richarlison became the 39th Brazilian to score on his debut in the competition, the most of any nation, but is the first Brazilian since Oscar in September 2012 to net a brace on his Champions League bow.

The 25-year-old joined from Everton in a £60million deal in July and Conte believes his display was a perfect demonstration of why they signed him.

"First of all, I am happy for Richy," Conte said in a news conference. "He deserved to have a night like this.

"I remember very well when we signed him, he said he cannot wait to listen to the Champions League music and play in competition. 

"This morning I said I remember what he said and you have your opportunity and chance. I think he did his best.

"We signed him to enhance the quality of team and support our three strikers. Last season when you have a team with Son [Heung-min], Harry [Kane] and Deki [Dejan Kulusevski], we tried to sign a player that was able to play in all three positions.

"For this reason, we didn't have any doubts about signing him and we did it quickly because our idea and ambition was very clear.

"He is more of a striker than Deki but at same time he can play in the Son position, Kane position, and Deki position. This is very important for sure, as when you make rotation, you don't drop the quality."

 

Spurs travel to champions Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and Conte acknowledged he will likely have to shuffle his pack, given the tight turnaround.  

"I have a big decision. Honestly, I am a bit worried as we are playing against City in only two days and it is not easy," he added.

"I think some players need to recover as many have played every game until now. You know very well we have to rotate our team."

Barcelona coach Xavi is overjoyed by Robert Lewandowski's start at the club, referring to him as "insatiable" after terrorising Viktoria Plzen.

The 34-year-old was in ruthless form on Wednesday, scoring a hat-trick as Barca thrashed their visitors 5-1 at Camp Nou.

Playing his first Champions League game for Barca, Lewandowski netted two sumptuous 20-yard strikes either side of a stooping header, with the hosts comfortable throughout.

Wednesday's treble ensured Lewandowski became the first player to net a Champions League hat-trick for three clubs, having scored four for Bayern Munich and one with Borussia Dortmund.

But Lewandowski's display was not a real shock given his strong start to life in LaLiga, and everything about his first few weeks at Barca has left Xavi amazed.

"Robert is like that, he's insatiable. I'm delighted with how he trains, how he improves the team," Xavi told Movistar.

"He's humble, he expects [of his team-mates] and he does a great job of pressing.

"It's not just the hat-trick anymore, it's his work and how he dominates."

Lewandowski was not the only Barca player to impress, however – had the Pole not scored a hat-trick, most would have seen Ousmane Dembele as the standout performer.

The France international was dazzling at times on the right flank.

It was only the second time in a Barcelona shirt that Dembele has laid on five key passes in a single game, and two of those resulted in assists.

Dembele was in devastating form in the second half of last season, and Xavi feels the winger is having fun at Camp Nou.

"He is happy, enjoying himself," the coach added. "He is a player who makes a difference – he assists and scores goals. He is a dagger down the wing."

Barcelona's three first-half goals on Wednesday ensured they have already scored more than the two they managed in the whole group stage last term.

But a tricky trip to face Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena awaits next week.

Atletico Madrid and Porto played out an eventful stoppage-time on Wednesday, becoming just the second Champions League match to see three goals scored in the 90th minute or later.

The LaLiga side took the lead in the 91st minute through Mario Hermoso, who then handled in the box as Porto looked to have snatched a point when Mateus Uribe fired home the resulting penalty.

However, substitute Antoine Griezmann nodded in a stunning winner in the 11th minute of stoppage-time to send the home fans into raptures and give his side three points.

Griezmann's goal made the Champions League game only the second to feature three 90th-minute goals, after a match between the same two teams in December of last year, when Atletico ran out 3-1 winners.

The LaLiga side's late victory gets them off to a great start as they look to go further than they managed in last season's competition when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Manchester City.

Porto will have to pick themselves up as they attempt to reach the knockout stages, with Club Brugge defeating Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in the other Group B clash on matchday one.

Page 1 of 13
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.