By PA Sport Staff
Liverpool have told fans heading to their Champions League opener at Napoli to stay in their hotels and away from the city centre as they may be targeted for “theft, robbery, or assault”.
The Reds are playing their first match in the competition since losing May’s final to Real Madrid at the Stade de France, where there were chaotic scenes outside the ground.
French police’s draconian measures in an attempt to deal with a crush outside the venue was exacerbated by the authorities’ attempts at crowd control on the streets leading to the stadium. Many fans were targeted with pepper spray and tear gas and then attacked in the streets by local gangs after the match.
Liverpool managing director Andy Hughes had said he understands this “trip may be a daunting prospect” given it is the first since the events in Paris, with the club providing guidance ahead of Wednesday’s opener in Naples.
“Supporters arriving in Naples prior to matchday should remain in their respective hotel to drink and eat,” the Twitter account Liverpool FC Help posted. “You are strongly advised not to wear team colours when travelling.
“Fans should not congregate in public areas and should avoid becoming isolated in areas away from the port area of the city.
“We strongly recommend you avoid the city centre. If you chose to visit, please beware that you may be targeted for theft, robbery, or assault.”
Hughes underlined how their “supporters have faced a number of issues when travelling to Naples in the past”, saying that fans are advised not to make their own way to the stadium “in the interest of personal safety” and board official coaches instead.
“Look, I do understand that some fans will want to make an occasion out of this trip,” he added.
“However, in this case I’d urge supporters not to wander into the city on their own, or to be wearing club colours during their stay in Naples.”
A local reporter put Liverpool’s warning to supporters in Naples to Jurgen Klopp in the pre-match press conference and asked whether he believed the city was dangerous.
“That’s an embarrassing question from you,” a visibly angry Klopp said. “You want to create headlines. I really don’t understand it.
“Are you from Napoli? Do you think it’s a dangerous city? I don’t know. I don’t live a normal life in Napoli. I am protected here, go to the hotel and now you ask me what I think about Napoli.
“You know exactly what people are talking about. If some supporters meet some supporters, something can happen.
“Nothing to do with the city, so I don’t know. But I am not here to create headlines for you.”