Liverpool conclude their Champions League group stage campaign on Tuesday night against Napoli, and the Reds still have a slim chance at finishing above the Italians.
Liverpool vs. Napoli
Champions League Group Stage (6) | Anfield
November 1, 2022 | 8pm (GMT)
Three days after Liverpool’s impressive 81-game unbeaten league streak in front of a full Anfield crowd came to an end, Jurgen Klopp‘s side are back at the scene of the crime.
And they will be without the added weight of pressure having already secured their place in the last 16, but here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Group A finale.
1. Tight Anfield tussles
This is the third time in five seasons that the two teams have been drawn in the same group and it is advantage Napoli, who have won three of the five games to date.
The last Anfield clash ended in a 1-1 draw in November 2019 after a goal from Dejan Lovren cancelled out Dries Mertens’ early effort.
But that’s not the meeting that sticks in the mind, that goes to the 1-0 win in December 2018 when Alisson was the late hero to protect Mohamed Salah‘s winner and set the Reds on course to lift the European Cup.
2. Liverpool could still top the group
As slim and unlikely as it may seem, it is still mathematically possible for Liverpool to finish ahead of Napoli in Group A.
To do so, they will need to win with a margin of four goals or more.
That is due to the 4-1 defeat at Napoli in the opening group game, meaning the Reds would have to overturn the head-to-head record.
Stranger things have happened.
3. Red-hot Napoli
While Liverpool continue to stumble, there has been no such issue for Napoli this season both domestically and in Europe.
Luciano Spalletti’s side are unbeaten across their 17 games to date, scoring 50 and conceding just 13 in a spectacular run that has them placed top of Serie A and Group A in the Champions League.
Napoli arrive at Anfield off the back of a 4-0 win over Sassuolo, with Victor Osimhen netting a hat-trick to move ahead of the impressive Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at the top of their goalscoring charts.
How strong they’ll set up on Merseyside remains to be seen.
4. Don’t expect ‘mass’ rotation
With another tight turnaround between games and little to play for with the last 16 already secured, mass changes were expected to keep players fresh.
But the manager has insisted it is “not a game for massive rotation,” but Liverpool “will not take risks” either.
A handful of changes will be expected, in line with recent weeks, and Ibrahima Konate could be among them having twice been an unused substitute in the last two games on return from injury.
5. Will the captain be available?
6. Jurgen’s milestone night
The occasion marks a significant landmark for Klopp, with the match his 400th as Liverpool manager.
Klopp’s record after leading his side out 399 times stands at 248 victories, 81 draws and 70 defeats – making for a win percentage of 62.16.
7. “I expect more”
Speaking to the media ahead of the match, Klopp feels it is “unfair” to judge his side at this stage of the season, considering all that has come their way:
“In the moment, it’s not 100 percent fair to judge this team, this squad – we missed quality up top, we can’t make changes and a similar situation in midfield.
“Even if it’s unfair it’s fine, it’s normal and right to ask these questions but we have to answer that later on.
“We have to go through this and if you want to get out of something you first have to go through it, that’s what we’re doing.
“The boys expect more and I expect more of them.”
The next game is the next chance to show more.
8. Did you know?
Victory against Napoli will see Liverpool win all three homes games in successive Champions League groups for the very first time.
The Reds have already picked off Ajax (2-1) and Rangers (2-0) to follow on from their spotless record last season, but this match will certainly test their resolve.
The team have only lost one of the last 18 Champions League group games at Anfield – to Atalanta (2-0) in 2020.
Italian sides appear to be Liverpool’s kryptonite, though, as the last two European teams to come to Anfield and win were Atalanta and Inter Milan.
Can Liverpool avoid a similar Italian fate and achieve a first-time feat?
9. The man in the middle
The referee for the occasion is Germany’s Tobias Stieler, who has overseen Liverpool just once before.
That was back in December 2020, when the Reds secured a 1-0 win over Ajax in the group stages – Stieler, however, has never been in charge of a game involving Napoli.
10. How can you watch and follow the game?
Liverpool vs. Napoli is being shown live on BT Sport 3 in the UK, with coverage starting at 7.15pm ahead of the 8pm kickoff – you can live stream here.
This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog is also the perfect place to follow the game, with Sam Millne to provide unapologetically biased updates and reactions from 7.15pm.