Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has claimed that he wasn't surprised that Liverpool - the current Champions League holders - were defeated by Napoli on Tuesday, as the buildup to a huge Premier League clash between the pair this weekend begins.
The Reds were condemned to a 2-0 defeat at the Stadio San Paolo, as a penalty from Dries Mertens, followed by an injury-time goal from former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, sealed the deal for the hosts.
It was the first time that the holders of the Champions League had lost their opening game since the 1994/1995, but Lampard has stated that he was not shocked by the result.
"It’s [the] Champions League. Of course Liverpool are the current holders and certainly one of the best teams in Europe. But anywhere in this Champions League you go is tough," the Blues manager said, as quoted by football.london.
"I’ve been to Napoli and lost pretty heavily there a few years ago. It’s a tough stadium to go to. I’m not saying I expected them to lose but in this competition it’s difficult to win at those places.
Lampard was speaking after watching his Chelsea side slip to their own group stage defeat, courtesy of a second half goal from Valencia's Rodrigo. The Blues had their chances to grab a share of the spoils, and will look back on what could have been after Ross Barkley's late penalty clipped the frame of the goal before going over.
For now, though, Chelsea and Liverpool will be looking to get back to winning ways when they clash at Stamford Bridge this Sunday - with Lampard admitting that he's expecting a stern test.
He added: "They’re playing so well at the minute. They’re the best team in the country on form, so it’s a great test for us and we need to be ready for it," he said in the same post-match interview.