Napoli vs. Liverpool – prediction, team news, lineups
Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign on Tuesday with a visit to Napoli, the Serie A side who beat the Reds last season.
The rerun of last term’s group stage fixture represents an intriguing tangle between two teams who finished second in their respective top flights last season.
They are part of a group that both will expect to progress from, with a reasonably kind draw producing Red Bull Salzburg and Genk as their rivals to reach the knockout stages.
Carlo Ancelotti had one less reason to crack a smile recently following a visit by builders to the Stadio San Paolo. Napoli agreed to play both of their opening Serie A games away from home while renovation works were carried out on the changing rooms, but the coach has voiced his disapproval at the quality of the work.
Napoli posted a video on social media showing missing sinks and jutting electrical sockets, among other oddities. They have also taken in 14 goals across two games and leaving them on the right and wrong ends of a pair of 4-3 scorelines.
In their opening match, at Fiorentina, they fell behind early on before scoring four goals in less than half an hour to win the game, including a 67th-minute winner with the scores level at 3-3.
Their next game, at champions Juventus, was even more exciting, although not for all the reasons Ancelotti would have wanted.
Napoli recovered from going 3-0 down after 62 minutes to score three times in 15 minutes, only for centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly to net a 92nd-minute own goal that restored Juve’s lead and gave them the win.
Dries Mertens scored in both halves as Napoli enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Sampdoria on Saturday, lifting them to fifth in the early table, three points behind leaders Inter Milan.
Liverpool were seen off 3-0 by Barcelona, they lost all three of their group stage games away from home, starting with that night at Napoli and proceeding to a 2-0 setback at Red Star Belgrade and a 2-1 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain.
Liverpool kept clean sheets in all of their Champions League matches at Anfield last season, including gaining revenge over Napoli.
Coach Jurgen Klopp has pointed out that two of his Champions League stars from last season, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, have benefited from not participating in international matches during the recent Premier League break.
Salah has scored five goals while Senegal’s Mane scored four on Liverpool’s triumphant run, and between them the pair were directly involved in 12 of the Reds’ goals in Europe.
Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui; Callejon, Ruiz Pena, Elmas; Zielinski, Lozano, Mertens
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane