Fernando Llorente warned he was looking for revenge on Liverpool in Napoli’s Champions League opener on Tuesday, after being beaten by the Reds in last season’s final with former club Tottenham.
The Spanish striker, 34, signed a two-year deal with Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the summer after being released by Tottenham and is looking for some payback for Spurs’ defeat in Madrid.
“It was very painful to lose the final, there is a desire for revenge, yes, but it is especially the opportunity to show that we can be at the level of a team as strong as Liverpool,” Llorente told reporters in Naples.
Liverpool have reached the last two Champions League finals, beating Tottenham in the Spanish capital in June after losing to Real Madrid 12 months earlier.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side lost their opener last season 1-0 in Napoli thanks to a late Lorenzo Insigne winner, and Ancelotti said his side have learned from their mistakes last season, when they failed to advance from a tough group that also included Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
“The goal is to pass the group stage, we start against the European champions who are on full points in the Premier League, they are favourites and will be a difficult test, but very exciting.
“Liverpool have grown … but Napoli have also grown and have more quality.”
Three-time Champions League winning coach Ancelotti admitted that Liverpool was linked to some of his “biggest disappointments”, like the 1984 European Cup final lost as a player with Roma or the famous 2005 final in Istanbul as coach of AC Milan.
However he also said that Liverpool were there for “some of my greatest joys, like the 2007 final (also won as Milan coach)”.
“Playing at Anfield is always a unique experience, and I hope that it will the same for us at the San Paolo,” the 60-year-old added.
“Last season they lost their three away matches but I think this time they will be more solid and careful away from home.”