Liverpool have been left shocked as a blistering first-half spell from Napoli has the Italian team up 4-0.
Piotr Zielinski scored a penalty in the fifth minute before midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa scored the second in the 31st minute.
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Giovanni Simeone then sprang into action in the 44th minute to wrap up the first-half thrashing and the Italians could have had even more if not for a missed penalty.
Napoli started the second half in perfect fashion, as a quick counterattack helped Zielinski score his second game.
Liverpool managed to get on the scoreboard thanks to a goal from Luis Díaz.
SCOTTISH GIANTS COP BRUTAL LOSS AS AJAX DOMINATES
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has said his team will have a hard time competing in the Champions League after a 4-0 thrashing of Ajax on Wednesday in their first group stage game in 12 years.
A run to the Europa League final last season and victory over Ajax’s Eredivisie title rivals PSV Eindhoven in Champions League qualifying raised hopes that Van Bronckhorst’s men they could compete in a group that also includes Liverpool and Napoli.
However, they suffered a dizzying return to the highest level of European football with Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis, Mohammed Kudus and Steven Bergwijn in goal for the Dutch champions.
“To compete in the Champions League you spend hundreds of millions, for us to compete is too much to ask,” said Van Bronckhorst, whose summer signings totaled just over £10 million ($12 million).
“We have to compete with the squad that we have and we are able and capable of doing. We knew it was going to be difficult and today it showed.” But the pressure is also mounting on Van Bronckhorst after Rangers were also beaten by fierce rivals Celtic 4-0 in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.
“We knew that the Champions League would be of a high level and Ajax showed throughout the match today how good they are, how strong they are,” Van Bronckhorst added. “You have to be 100 percent ready for the game.” Ajax raised more than 200 million euros ($199 million) in transfers from Antony, Lisandro Martinez, Sebastien Haller and Ryan Gravenberch in recent months.
However, they withstood interest in Álvarez at the end of the Chelsea window and the Mexican opened the floodgates when he went unmarked to head in a corner in the 17th minute.
Ajax appear to have wisely reinvested their transfer income, including signing Calvin Bassey from Rangers.
The Nigerian international has been sorely missed at the heart of Van Bronckhorst’s defense in the opening weeks of the season.
James Sands has been a substitute at the back due to a series of injuries at centre-back and it was the US international who deflected Berghuis’ shot into his own net to double Ajax’s lead.
As at Celtic Park at the weekend, a two-goal deficit quickly turned into three for Rangers as Kudus’ run ended with the end of the match when he struck from the far post.
Van Bronckhorst responded with three half-time substitutions and a system change that helped stem the flow of Ajax attacks.
However, Rangers were still undone by another self-inflicted blow for the fourth when Bergwijn latched onto a loose pass from Ryan Jack to go around Jon McLaughlin and set up an open net for his eighth goal in seven games since returning to the Netherlands. from Tottenham.