Familiar Foes meet again: Preview and Predictions
Tomorrow, Liverpool start a new Champions League campaign away at Napoli, a side they have failed to beat at Naples in their last two tries.
Napoli come off a morale-boosting comeback win over Lazio and will go into the opening match confident they can get a result against an uncharacteristically wobbly Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s injury-riddled squad has struggled in the first 6 matches of the Premier League season and were a VAR decision away from losing to Merseyside rivals Everton.
Head to Head
Napoli and Liverpool were paired in the same group in back-to-back seasons (2018/2019 and 2019/2020). In those four meetings, Napoli have the edge, they won all the home games and earned a draw at Anfield.
Napoli recovered from an early deficit to beat Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. The Neapolitans are unbeaten in the Serie A this season. Consecutive draws in game weeks 3 and 4 slowed down their progress; they’re currently second on a closely-contested Serie A table with 11 points from a possible 15. (W-W-D-D-W)
Liverpool’s form has been patchy at best. They needed a 98th-minute Fabio Carvalho winner against Newcastle to secure a comeback win in match week 5.
They were also held to a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby with Everton over the weekend, their third draw in the Premier League already. They are currently 7th on the EPL log and come into this game far from the dominant force the football world is familiar with. (D-L-W-W-D)
Mexican winger Hirving Lozano was stretchered off after a clash of heads against Lazio and will likely be rested against Liverpool as a precaution. He is expected to be replaced by Italian winger, Matteo Politano in the starting XI.
Elsewhere, Diego Demme is still recovering from a broken foot, otherwise, Luciano Spalletti has a full roster to select from and will be banking on Georgian sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to continue in the rich vein of form he has started life in the Serie A with.
Potential Napoli starting XI: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Rui; Zielinski, Zambo Anguissa, Lobotka; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia. -3-3)
Fabio Carvalho was substituted with a dead leg against Everton and joins a list of injured players that includes Naby Keita (Muscle injury), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Hamstring), Jordan Henderson (Hamstring), and Thiago Alcantara (Hamstring)
While Thiago is scheduled to resume training during the week, it might be too soon to include him on the travelling squad to Naples.
Jurgen Klopp will also have to do without Ibrahima Konate (Knee injury) and Caoimhin Kelleher (unfit) but could hand new signing Arthur a debut.
Potential Liverpool starting XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Arthur; Salah, Nunez, Diaz. (4-3-3)
While Liverpool have players missing in all areas of the pitch, the absence of talent is most apparent in the middle of the park where they have struggled to dominate like they usually do.
While the insertion of Arthur into that midfield could help produce immediate results, Napoli will go into the match confident of winning the midfield battle.
What’s more, Liverpool’s attackers have struggled to impress this season. If they continue in the same vein, they will surely struggle against the Neapolitans.
Liverpool travel to Italy without key players and have struggled to dominate games as usual. Napoli are confident following the result they got over the weekend and have history on their side in clashes with Liverpool in Naples. This will likely be a slim Napoli win.
Napoli win at @ 3.60
Under 2.5 goals scored @ 2.25