'Learn from last season!' - Robertson warns Liverpool ahead of Napoli clash

The Reds begin their Champions League defence against the Serie A runners up on Tuesday having been beaten there last term

Andy Robertson has urged Liverpool to learn from the mistakes of last season as they begin their Champions League defence against Napoli this week. 

The Reds travel to Italy for their first group game on Tuesday, taking on the Serie A runners-up at San Paolo. 

It is the second season in a row they have run into Carlo Ancelotti’s side, having fought out two close affairs in last year’s group stage.

Jurgen Klopp’s team were beaten 1-0 on a disappointing night in Naples last October, but bounced back to win by the same scoreline at Anfield in December, progressing to the last 16 at the Italians’ expense. They would, of course, go on to lift the trophy at the end of the campaign.

Memories of that first Napoli game, though, are still fresh in Robertson’s mind.

“The result followed the performance and the performance wasn’t good enough,” he told reporters following Liverpool’s win over Newcastle on Saturday. “It was poor from our perspective in all the away games really last season in the group stages, we didn’t really perform. We need to be better than that. 

“We know what Naples is like but now we can focus on it and it’s the start of us trying to retain the Champions League. We can look forward to that challenge. It starts in Naples, it doesn’t get much harder, but we look forward to it.”

Liverpool lost all three of their Champions League group games away last season, beaten not only in Napoli but at Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade too. This year, they should find matters a little easier having been drawn with Belgian side Genk and the Austrians Red Bull Salzburg.

Napoli, though, represents a chance to lay down a marker, according to Robertson.

“Of course,” he said. “The group is going to be tough but that’s the chance we’ve got, the chance to win and get three points from the second seeds. 

“We know how close it was between us and them last season, it was so important that we won the home game. We’ll look to be more comfortable this season hopefully going through the group stages because it was a wee bit close for comfort last season. The way to do that is by putting in a good performance and getting off to a good start.”

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Liverpool will check on the fitness of striker Divock Origi before flying out to Italy on Monday afternoon. The Belgian twisted his ankle in the first half of the win over Newcastle, and underwent a scan at Melwood on Sunday. 

Teenager Rhian Brewster would be in line to replace Origi in the squad. Brewster, 19, was substituted early in the Under-23s’ draw with Derby on Saturday after news of Origi’s injury was relayed to Kirkby. He is yet to make his senior Reds debut.

Naby Keita will miss the trip to Naples, but could resume training later this week after missing more than a month with a hip issue.