Reds begin defence of Champions League crown – Napoli vs. Liverpool Preview

16 September 2019

Liverpool may be looking to avenge last season’s defeat in Naples, but Napoli will be seeking revenge after the Italian side came closer than anyone to knocking out the Reds en-route to winning the Champions League.


Napoli vs. Liverpool

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 – 8pm (BST)
Stadio San Paolo
Champions League Group Stage (Matchday 1)
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)


There’s no stopping this Reds side at the minute.

Every challenge that comes their way seems to be hurdled emphatically as they continue to show why they are Europe’s most in-form team.

Saturday’s 3-1 win at home to Newcastle was typically impressive, overcoming a shock early deficit to eventually ease to victory.

Premier League commitments make way for the return of the Champions League in midweek, roughly 14 weeks since Jordan Henderson hoisted the trophy aloft in Madrid.

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool and Napoli players shake hands before the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp’s men open their account with their toughest game of the group stage, revisiting the location of one of their lowest moments last season.

The 1-0 defeat away to Napoli last October saw Liverpool perform woefully, but thankfully, they recovered and qualified for the knockout stages.

The Reds have improved so much since then, however, and they head to Stadio San Paolo brimming with confidence and feared by everyone across the continent.

Napoli will pose an obvious threat, and a draw would be a perfectly good result, but there is no reason why Liverpool can’t start the defence of their title with a bang.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Liverpool's Divock Origi goes down with an injury forcing him out of the game during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson, Nathaniel Clyne and Naby Keita are all still unavailable and Divock Origi now joins them on the sidelines, after injury his ankle at the weekend.

Joe Gomez is an option instead of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, should Klopp opt for a more physical back-line.

Jordan Henderson will come back into the starting lineup after being rested at the weekend, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely the one to make way.

The 26-year-old is still finding his feet after his long injury absence.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 24, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp loves the trio of Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Henderson in the big games – there is no reason why they won’t all start on Tuesday.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are expected to start, too, with enough time to recover before the weekend action.

Firmino was exceptional against Newcastle, earning rave reviews from many watching on, and he is a certainty to feature prominently after not starting at Anfield.

Napoli are without Arkadiusz Milik, who Alisson famously saved from in the dying seconds at Anfield last season, but star man Lorenzo Insigne should be fit.

Liverpool’s 20-man squad

Goalkeepers: Adrian, Kelleher, Lonergan

Defenders: Van Dijk, Lovren, Gomez, Robertson, Matip, Alexander-Arnold

Midfielders: Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana

Forwards: Firmino, Mane, Salah, Shaqiri, Brewster

 

Past Meetings with Napoli (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker makes an injury time save from Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 1-0 (h) – December 2018 (Salah)
Lost 1-0 (a) – October 2018 (Insigne)
Won 3-1 (h) – November 2010 (Gerrard x3; Lavezzi)
Drew 0-0 (a) – October 2010

 

Stadio San Paolo

NAPELS, ITALY - Thursday, October 21, 2010: SSC Napoli supporters queue to enter the Stadio San Paolo before the UEFA Europa League Group K match against Liverpool. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Address: Piazzale Vincenzo Tecchio, 80125 Napoli NA, Italy

Capacity: 60,240

 

Did You Know?

BARCELONA, SPAIN - Wednesday, May 1, 2019: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores the third goal from a free-kick during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg match between FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC at the Camp Nou. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool may be European champions, but it’s worth remembering that they can get even better in the competition, namely away from home.

The Reds only won two matches on their travels last season, losing all three away group stage games and also suffering a 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in the semi-final first leg.

In the 2017/18 season, Klopp’s team also lost 4-2 away to Roma in the semi-final second leg, as well as failing to win at Spartak Moscow and Sevilla in the group.

It further highlights how good Liverpool have been at Anfield in Europe under Klopp, never losing there in both the Champions League and Europa League.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Napoli – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Sampdoria
Lost 4-3 vs. Juventus
Won 4-3 vs. Fiorentina
Lost 4-0 vs. Barcelona (pre-season friendly)
Lost 2-1 vs. Barcelona (pre-season friendly)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-1 vs. Newcastle
Won 3-0 vs. Burnley
Won 3-1 vs. Arsenal
Won 2-1 vs. Southampton
Drew 2-2 vs. Chelsea (won 5-4 on penalties)

 

Klopp’s View

NAPLES, ITALY - Monday, September 16, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference at the Stadio San Paolo ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking in his press conference on Monday, Klopp noted the strengths of the Serie A side, as well as an interesting similarity with the Reds—like Liverpool, they finished as runners-up in their domestic league last term:

“A few new players but they kept most of team, so both of us didn’t start new, we build on last year. Hopefully for them it’s better in the end.

“They do what they do, stubborn in a positive way, break lines, creative between the lines. I enjoy analysing Napoli.

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: A silhouette of television cameras during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Napoli vs. Liverpool is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.

Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday liveblog from 7.15pm, keeping you entertained before and during proceedings.

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