Napoli v Liverpool, Champions League

Insigne and co will test Liverpool's defence

Napoli v Liverpool, Wed 03 October, 8pm, BT Sport 3

Form:

Matchday two in the Champions League sees Liverpool make the trip to Napoli. These teams have met only twice in European competitions, both times in the Europa League in 2010. Liverpool won 3-1 at Anfield and drew 0-0 in Naples.

Napoli have played eight matches this season but only three have been played at the Stadio San Paolo, resulting in three wins – 3-2, 1-0 and 3-0. They have scored 13 goals in those eight matches and conceded eight. Lorenzo Insigne has scored five goals in the eight matches.

Napoli are strong at home. They have won seven of their last eight home matches, drawing the other one.

Napoli are currently second in Serie A and come into this match on the back of a 3-1 defeat to league-leaders Juventus.

That was a reality check for them. Liverpool have had one of their own. Make that two. Having won their first seven matches this season in all competitions, they lost at home to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup last Wednesday and then drew with the same side in the league in London on Saturday.

Napoli have lost two of their last three home Champions League matches, one of them against Manchester City. It was the first time they had ever lost at home to an English side in the tournament. They have, however, won 16 of their last 24 European matches played at home.

The Match:

Two high-intensity matches for The Reds will be quickly followed by two more: Napoli on Wednesday and Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday. They will present strong tests for Jürgen Klopp and his team but they are looking a very good side, stronger than they have ever looked under Klopp.

The demands of these games, though, suggest that Liverpool will need to adopt a slightly more-cautious approach in Italy.

Who will Klopp rest? Who will play in attack? With three goals in his last three appearances, Daniel Sturridge is pressing for a place.

It may seem odd to say it but, despite their excellent start to the campaign, Liverpool have not looked at their best yet, particularly Mo Salah, last season’s record scorer. They are going to be some force when the pieces fall into place.

In Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli have a coach with a rich European Cup/Champions League pedigree. He is one of only three coaches to have won the competition three times. The others are Liverpool’s Bob Paisley and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.

Liverpool have not reported any major injury concerns from what is expected to be their strongest eleven.

Napoli will be without Alex Meret, Faouzi Ghoulam, Amin Younes and Vlad Chichires and will have to decide who plays alongside the in-form Insigne – Dries Mertens or Arkadiusz Milik.

Verdict:

Both sides will be keen not to lose so a more-cautious match, certainly in the first-half, seems likely. I can see goals – Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in their last six matches and Napoli have kept a clean sheet just three times in eight games this season – but not many.

A suggested score of 1-1 is on offer at Bar One Racing at 11/2

Roberto Firmino has scored three goals in his last seven appearances for Liverpool, only four of which he started. He can celebrate his birthday – he was 27 on Monday – with a goal in Naples. He is 5/1 to score first and 7/4 to score at anytime.

 



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