Six-time Champions League winners, Liverpool will be travelling to Italy to face Napoli in yet another UEFA Champions League clash in the group stages.
It was Napoli last season who got the better of the Reds by nicking a 1-0 win at home. The two sides could be considered as the strongest in their respective pool, so a win for either of the teams would be pivotal as to who finishes on top of the group.
The defending champions Liverpool will begin their UEFA Champions League campaign with a visit to Italy as they brace themselves to face Napoli.
Last season it was Napoli who got the better the Reds at home by nicking a 1-0 win in the group stage. Liverpool and Napoli would most be the two teams who would want to finish on top of their respective pool, especially as they consider Red Bull Salzburg and Genk to be in the same group.
The game between the two sides will be held on September 18 and kicks off at 12:30 AM (IST). It will be Napoli who hosts Liverpool at the Stadio San Paolo.
From the Dugout
Napoli Team News:
Napoli under the managerial leadership of Carlo Ancelotti currently occupies the fourth spot in the Italian league.
Recently there was a tussle between Ancelotti and the builders of the ground due to an ongoing renovation in the players dressing room which hasn’t been completed in spite the start of a new season.
As a result, Napoli faced their first few games away from home. However, the Italian club will be ready to host a quality Liverpool side at the Stadio San Paolo.
Talking about players returning from injuries, Arkadiusz Milik will be expected to be available for selection against Liverpool, while Lorenzo Insigne is also set to make a return.
Liverpool Team News:
In the English Premier League, it’s Liverpool who has ensured an authoritative figure from the start by registering four straight wins, which comfortably places them at the top with15 points on the board. Defending Premier League champions, Manchester City is on second with a five-point difference between them and Liverpool.
Talking about injuries, Naby Keita continues to be on the sidelines due to a hip issue.
Liverpool’s shot-stopper, Alisson Becker is yet to be declared fit after sustaining a foot injury in the first game of the season.
Meanwhile, Nathan Clyne remains to be away from all the action due to a knee injury which he suffered during the preseason.
One of the goal scorers of last seasons Champions League Finals, Divock Origi won’t be a part of the teamsheet either due to an ankle injury which saw him go off the field during Saturday’s game against Newcastle.
Starting Lineups (expected):
Napoli – Meret; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui, Callejon, Ruiz Pena, Elmas, Zielinski, Lozano, Mertens
Liverpool – Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijmaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Recent confrontations between Liverpool and Napoli have been nothing less but enthralling. In the previous season, Napoli beat Liverpool 1-0 at home, but Liverpool avenged that defeat with a 2-1 win at Anfield.
Had Liverpool not won the home game against Napoli, or had Alisson not made that athletic save in the dying moments of the game, there was a strong possibility of Liverpool crashing out of the tournament.
With that being said, in the last six games, it’s Liverpool who has the upper hand with three wins to Napoli’s two, while one ended in a draw.
For Jurgen Klopp, it’s his front three who are constantly terrorizing the backline of any and every team, as they haven’t stopped their goal-scoring run since the end of last season.
For Napoli, it will be Dries Mertens who will be expected to score against Liverpool as he’s already registered three goals in as many games this season.
Carlos Ancelotti will be backing Jose Callejon in midfield to play the anchor role, as he’s contributed to the team with two assists and a goal this season.
Who will win: Though Napoli did get a win at home against Liverpool last season, it looks difficult for Ancelloti’s men to withhold the pressure that Liverpool will bring this time around as they carry the weight of being the defending champions of Europe.
That being said, their style of play and results have been clearly evident of the swagger the Liverpool players now have as compared to last season.
A win for Jurgen Klopp’s men looks more of a certainty.
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