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Napoli vs Liverpool – Champions League preview

16 September 2019 by

Napoli are scheduled to face European champions Liverpool at Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night. The Naples outfit have made a decent beginning to the current season but they are already playing catch up to league leaders Juventus with a three-point deficit.

Meanwhile, the Reds have enjoyed a relatively comfortable start to the campaign. Jurgen Klopp’s side have already won the European Super Cup and they have accumulated the perfect tally of 15 points from the opening five league games. This sees them with a five-point lead over holders and second-placed Manchester City.

Previous European meetings:

Napoli and Liverpool were pitted in the same Champions League group last season. Carlo Ancelotti’s side got the better of the Reds with a 1-0 triumph at home but they succumbed to a defeat by the same margin during the reverse fixture.

The 1-0 loss at Anfield eventually contributed to their elimination from the competition after they had an inferior goal difference to Liverpool, who finished second in the group. The game witnessed goalkeeper Alisson Becker make a stunning close-range save in the 92nd minute to salvage the victory and progress for the Reds.

Key players to watch out for:

Sadio Mane – Liverpool: There are no question marks regarding the standout player in the Liverpool ranks this season. The Senegal international has taken up much of the scoring mantle during the initial stages of the campaign and he was instrumental towards the comeback triumph over Newcastle United at the weekend, where he bagged a brace. The coordination between Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah upfront has remained intact this season and Napoli have a tough task on their hands to nullify the threat from the attacking trident.

Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli: While Napoli will be aiming to avenge the Anfield defeat, they need to have a solid base at the back to remain in the game for longer periods of time. In such a situation, Koulibaly needs to hit his straps, which has not been the case during the opening phase of the season. Napoli have conceded seven goals from just three league appearances this term and they surely can’t afford a similar defensive application against the Reds, who are a genuine threat on the counter-attack.

Prediction:

Napoli produced the perfect home performance against the Reds last season as they restricted them to zero attempts on target. It could be a more open-sided contest this time around and that could favour the European champions.

Napoli 2-3 Liverpool

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