Diego Armando Maradona Stadium is the backdrop for a mouth-watering Champions League match in Group A between Napoli and Liverpool. Familiar foes will participate in the stage for the third time in five seasons, having last met in the 2019/20 group stage.
Returning to the Champions League after a two-year hiatus, Napoli are the second favorites to advance to the playoffs behind Liverpool. With Ajax and Rangers completing a highly competitive first set, breaking out of the traps could be crucial as the Italians try to find a way out of the group stage for only the second time in four matches.
However, last season’s Champions League finalists travel to southern Italy with a point to prove it. It’s been a disappointing start to the new Premier League season for Premier League title favorites Liverpool. They have won only two of their first six league matches (D3, L1), adding to the pressure on Jurgen Klopp to claim victory in Europe.
Despite losing Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne over the summer, Napoli You have gone from strength to strength in the new Serie A campaign. Led by new Napoli champion Khvicha Kvaratskellia, Luciano Spalletti’s men made a league start with five unbeaten matches (W3, D2).
The Georgian winger scored four goals and assisted one in five Serie A matches to become a fan favorite in Naples. He will lead the line alongside Victor Osimhen as Parthenobi They are looking to maintain their 100% win percentage in their Champions League home matches against Liverpool (W2). It is worth noting that both previous victories in H2H in Italy came with “nothing”.
Napoli tend to do well in the group stages of the Champions League, as evidenced by one defeat streak of the last 12 such matches (W5, D6). Furthermore, they scored five wins in six previous Champions League encounters with the Premier League visitors, excluding the 4-2 loss to Manchester City in November 2017.
Liverpool will enter the field with depleted confidence after a goalless draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday. Another sub-par performance at Goodison Park left the Reds waiting for a competitive win away from Anfield to four games (D2, L2), including a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League final.
On the bright side, Klopp’s side won all six group stage matches in the Champions League last season and could become the first English team to do so twice in a row. Moreover, Liverpool emerged victorious in all six away matches in the 2021/22 edition, while enjoying three consecutive victories against Italian hosts in European football.
Delivering excitement right from the start, Liverpool have only lost their Champions League match once in their last 12 matches in the tournament (W8, D3). Unfortunately, that defeat came at the hands of Napoli in the return match 2-0 in 2019/20. Mohamed Salah will seek to change the fortunes of his team after scoring seven goals in the Champions League last season.
Diego Diem is unavailable for selection at the Napoli camp, while Spalletti is hoping Hirving Lozano will be back in time after suffering a facial injury earlier in the season.
As for Liverpool, Jordan Henderson has joined Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian, Naby Keita and Ibrahima Konate on the sidelines, and Thiago Alcantara’s fitness remains in doubt.
Napoli vs Liverpool potential line-up
Naples (4-3-3): Alex Merritt, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min Jae, Amir Rahmani, Mario Roy; Pyotr Zelensky, Andrei Frank Zambo-Anguisa, Stanislav Lobotka; Matteo Politano, Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alison. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dyck, Andy Robertson; Harvey Elliott, Fabinho, Arthur Millo; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz.