The Reds face yet another tough challenge as they travel to Naples to take on Napoli in what is expected to be a high scoring contest.
Napoli vs Liverpool – Champions League 2018/19
Venue : Stadio San Paolo
Date : Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Kick-off : 8 PM BST
TV channel : BT Sport 3
The Reds have the opportunity to extend their lead and take control over Group C with a win over Napoli. Liverpool played their first group stage match against PSG at Anfield, which ended in a 3-2 victory for the Reds.
With Liverpool’s high pressing style of play they would force Napoli to make mistakes and then attack them on the counter.
Liverpool’s only concern right now is a misfiring Mohammed Salah who has not been able to continue on his last season heroics. As we saw in the match against Chelsea, Salah hasn’t been able to convert his chances in the final third. However, Jurgen Klopp told in his press conference that he is not worried about Salah and he will soon find his scoring boots.
On the other hand, Napoli began their Champions League campaign with a trip to Belgrade as the took on Red Star Belgrade, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
Napoli have a 100 per cent win record at home this season as they sit on 2nd place in the league table, winning 5 out of 7 matches played.
Napoli have had their ups and downs this season. The fans were left heartbroken as they saw their former manager Maurizio Sarri and key player Jorginho head towards West London at Chelsea. Since then, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as their new manager and he has had a decent start to the season.
Liverpool are expected to start in a 4-3-3 formation shifting to a 4-4-2 formation defensively while Napoli are expected to start in a 4-4-2 formation with Milik and Insigne leading the line.
Team News :
There are no injury concerns for Napoli. Mario Rui who was sent off against Juventus in the weekend is expected to retain his place in the starting 11.
Adam Lallana and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain are ruled out with injuries while Divock Origi has returned to training.
Dejan Lovren could be back in the starting 11 after recovering from a pelvis injury.
Daniel Sturridge has been in top form in recent weeks scoring against PSG and Chelsea in both outings. His phenomenal strike against Chelsea in the weekend could see him earn a starting spot against Napoli.
Head to Head :
Napoli and Liverpool have met before in the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League group stages with Liverpool winning 3-1 at Anfield and a 0-0 draw at the Naples.
Team Form :
Napoli have had a decent start to their Serie A campaign winning 5 out of 7 league games. They currently sit on 2nd in the league table. While in the Champions League, the Azzurri played a goalless draw against Red Star Belgrade.
Napoli last 5 matches (all competitions) : WDWWL
Liverpool have been in top form this season and still remain undefeated in the Premier League. With an win over Napoli, Liverpool can take a healthy lead at the top heading over to the knockout stages in the Champions League.
Liverpool last 5 matches (all competitions) : WWWLD
Betting Preview :
Liverpool have been handed a tough Champions League group and a trip to Naples to face Napoli on Wednesday night is certainly not an easy one.
Perennial Serie A bridesmaids Napoli have turned the San Paolo into a fortress in recent seasons. The home side have recorded seven wins from their last eight home games.
However, they are still reeling from a 3-1 defeat against perennial title rivals Juventus last time out. Carlo Ancelotti’s side also suffered disappointment in their opening group game, drawing 0-0 in Serbia against Red Star Belgrade.
Liverpool have looked the complete package this season. Jurgen Klopp’s side have added defensive solidity to the free-flowing football of last season. The Reds have now won seven of their last nine games in all competitions this season. We do believe that the Merseysiders should have enough quality to record a narrow victory.
Both teams are very attacking in nature and can cause any team problems on their day, which is why we are backing over 2.5 goals. Napoli have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight home games, while the visitors have scored at least two goals in six of their last eight games on their travels in all competitions. This game seems destined to produce goals.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane started the season in hot form. However, in recent games his form has dipped slightly. This is the sort of game Mane thrived in last season though, especially in the Champions League.
Napoli are unlikely to sit back, which means that Liverpool have the potential to hit them on the counter-attack. Mane’s pace and direct running then come into play. For this reason we are backing the Senegal international to be an anytime scorer.
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