The Champions League returned this week as last season’s runners-up Liverpool made a nightmare start in Napoli, while Chelsea’s unexpected defeat at Dinamo Zagreb proved Thomas Tuchel’s latest standing.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what we’ve learned from Matchday 1.
Nightmare in Naples
Liverpool took their faltering Premier League form to Europe – and were probably lucky to be within 3-0 at half-time against Luciano Spalletti’s exciting side.
The Partenopei eventually won 4-1 in a noisy Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
A result doesn’t define a campaign, of course, but Klopp – whose side host Ajax in their second group game on Tuesday – admitted the manner in which Napoli surrendered would lead to “a lot of soul searching”.
Tuchel’s time to go
Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb was the last game of Tuchel’s tenure as the Blues hierarchy fired the German on Wednesday morning.
The Germany coach had suffered three defeats in seven games in the new season, during which he questioned whether the squad had enough depth for the challenges ahead.
After spending a one-window record Premier League £273m on a squad makeover, new Chelsea owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali expected more.
Brighton manager Graham Potter appears to be the club’s choice to replace the German and could be in charge of the Blues’ next European home game against RB Salzburg next Wednesday.
Haaland keeps rolling
Erling Haaland scored two more goals in Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Sevilla.
The Norwegian has scored 12 goals in seven games for his new club during his career and a whopping 25 Champions League goals in just 20 games.
Most of those goals came for Borussia Dortmund, who are guests in City’s next group game when the German side will try to stop Pep Guardiola’s prolific side.
Celtic and Rangers return
Old Firm rivals made their long-awaited return to the group stage of the competition but failed to pick up a point in tough opening games.
Celtic started strong enough at home against reigning champions Real Madrid but were eventually downed 3-0 in their first Champions League game in five years. The Bhoys travel to Warsaw where they next meet Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, a draw that should prove crucial to their hopes of progressing further.
Meanwhile, Rangers lost 4-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam as the Dutch scored three goals in the first 33 minutes. Not an ideal start after a 12-year absence but Napoli should expect a warm welcome when they travel to Ibrox next week.
Lewandowski enjoys new surroundings
Polish striker Lewandowski increased his personal Champions League tally to 89 when he scored a hat-trick to help Barcelona defeat Viktoria Pilsen 5-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
He may have turned 34 in August, but Lewandowski looks fresher than ever after joining from Bayern Munich in the summer – which is exactly where he’s headed in a delicious heavyweight duel on Matchday 2.
Typical late drama
The opening week of the Champions League provided drama until the end of the first matchday.
Atletico Madrid snatched a 2-1 win over Porto at the Metropolitano – all three goals coming during 11 minutes of added time.
Mario Hermoso thought he had found the winning goal, but Mateus Uribe converted the penalty at the other end to make it 1-1.
But substitute Antoine Griezmann still had time to turn a winning goal home. The Champions League is definitely back.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/champions-league-premier-league-naples-liverpool-dinamo-zagreb-b2162380.html 6 things we learned as the Champions League returned with much drama