Liverpool 'keen on Napoli star' who helped beat them in Champions League

Liverpool ‘keen on Napoli star’ who helped beat them in Champions League

Sport & Transfer News

Liverpool have been linked with Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz after he helped consign them to defeat in their Champions League opener.

European champions Liverpool began the defence of their title with a 2-0 defeat away to Napoli , who sealed the points thanks to a controversial Dries Mertens penalty and a goal from Fernando Llorente.

Spain midfielder Ruiz could have got on the scoresheet himself with two good chances.

The 23-year-old, who has been likened to Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi, is a No8 who likes to dictate the tempo of the game.

However, he differs from the traditional idea of a Spanish ball-playing midfielder in that he is 6ft 2ins and can hold his own in a physical game.

Fabian Ruiz battles Liverpool’s Fabinho on Tuesday

And it is believed he is being monitored by Liverpool, as well as Real Madrid and Barcelona in his homeland,according to Mail Online .

Ruiz, who joined Napoli from boyhood club Real Betis for £26.7million last year, models himself on Xavi – so if Liverpool do swoop for him, they may have some persuading to do to sign him if interest from Barcelona is genuine.

“I fell in love with football thanks to him,” Ruiz has said of Xavi . “He was a pillar for Barcelona and Spain for so many years and I dream of following in his footsteps.”

Two late goals at the San Paulo ensured Liverpool started their Champions League defence with a disappointing defeat.

Ruiz models himself on Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi

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Dries Mertens converted from the penalty in the latter stages of the clash in Naples after Jose Callejon went over the outstretched leg of Andy Robertson.

There looked to be minimal contact, but the decision stood even after a VAR check, before Mertens made no mistake to fire past Adrian.

Sadio Mane had the best chance to put Liverpool ahead but failed to slide in teammate Mohamed Salah, and the game slipped away from the Reds once they fell behind.

Ex-Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente then nicked a second after latching onto Virgil van Dijk’s poor pass to seal the win.




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