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UCL: Liverpool, Chelsea Lose Opening Matches As Barcelona Hold Off Dortmund

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Dries Mertens’ penalty and a late Fernando Llorente goal condemned Liverpool to defeat in their Group E Champions League opener against Napoli.

Belgian forward Mertens scored from the penalty spot after Liverpool defender Andy Robertson was judged to have fouled Jose Callejon.

Former Tottenham forward Llorente then capitalised on a mistake from Virgil van Dijk in stoppage-time to roll the ball past Liverpool keeper Adrian.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are the first winners of the competition to lose the opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan in 1994.

Goalkeeper Adrian had earlier made two keys saves for Liverpool, who initially struggled to impose themselves in the intimidating atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium.

Whereas, in London, Chelsea’s return to the Champions League also ended in disappointment as Ross Barkley missed a late penalty that handed ensured Valencia claimed victory at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard’s first game as a manager in the tournament he won as a player with Chelsea in 2012 turned into a night of frustration as Valencia took advantage of slack marking at a free-kick for Rodrigo to score the winner on 74 minutes.

Chelsea, who lost in-form youngster Mason Mount to injury early on, had the chance to rescue a point when referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded a penalty for handball after consulting VAR when Daniel Wass blocked Fikayo Tomori’s header.

Barkley wanted to take the spot-kick instead of the Blues’ regular taker Jorginho, who give the substitute his blessing by shaking his hand, but Willian continued to argue his own case before allowing Barkley to take it.

It was a tight and tense encounter with chances at a premium and a tricky Group H, which also includes last year’s semi-finalists Ajax and Lille, has got even tougher for Chelsea after starting their campaign with a damaging home loss.

At the Signal Iduna Park, Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved Marco Reus’ penalty as Barcelona held Borussia Dortmund to a goalless draw in their Champions League opener.

The Germany international also denied Reus with a smart double save as Dortmund dominated the second half.

Julian Brandt did beat Ter Stegen late on, only for his effort to hit the bar. A goal that would have handed the home side a little advantage before heading to Camp Nou, and a chance to top Group F with three points.

Barcelona gave a Champions League debut to 16-year-old Ansu Fati but created little, despite Lionel Messi’s first appearance of the season off the bench.

In other fixtures of the night, Inter Milan denied Slania Prague a first Champions League win with a Nicolo Barella stoppage-time equaliser cancelling Peter Olayinka’s goal, the first Nigerian to score on his Champions League debut since Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s hat-trick for Maccabi Haifa against Olympiakos in September 2002.

RB Salzburg showed no mercy to KRC Genk with a 6-2 victory over the Belgian side, with Erling Håland netting a hattrick in the first half alone to become the third-youngest player to score a hattrick in a Champions League match.

LOSC Lille’s new signing Victor Osimhen was unable to find the back of the net against 2018/19 finalists Ajax, who got three goals against the French side at the Joan Cruff Arena.

RB Leipzig had the last laugh in Lisbon with Benfica managing to reply a two-goal deficit from the visitors.

Matchday one continues tomorrow with high profile matches between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, while Atletico Madrid will welcome Juventus.

Other fixtures include;

Club Brugge vs. Galatasaray, Olympiacos vs Tottenham, Bayern Leverkusen vs Lokomitiv Moscow, Bayern Munich vs Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade), Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City, and Dinamo Zagreb vs Atalanta.

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