Liverpool v Napoli : UEFA Champions League Match, Team News, Goal Scorers and Stats

Published On: November 26, 2019, 8:00 am
Olusanya Akinrinola
-- (m) at 26-11-2019 08:00AM

(7001 | Gistmaniac)

Date :Wednesday 27th, November
Stadium Anfield
Goal Scorer:

Team News

Liverpool have swept almost all before them so far this season, but Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli side are the only team that has beaten them inside normal time since May 1 - a period of almost seven months.

Ancelotti is, of course, inextricably linked with Liverpool's history in this competition having been the opposition manager on that 2005 night in Istanbul, but this latest version of the Reds' European champions are a whole different beast.

A run of 22 wins from their last 24 matches across all competitions has established them as arguably Europe's most feared outfit, and they will have the chance to prove themselves as the best in the world when they take part in the Club World Cup in Qatar next month.

Before that, though, Jurgen Klopp's side will be eager to avenge their defeat in Naples on matchday one, having won all three of their Champions League outings since then.

A fourth consecutive triumph will secure top spot and with it their place in last 16, although they will also progress into the knockout stages should Red Bull Salzburg fail to beat Genk in the group's other match, regardless of the result at Anfield.
This is a Liverpool side that never knows when they are beaten, though; in their last nine games they have scored nine goals in the final 15 minutes, with seven of those proving decisive to the final result as the Reds have turned defeats and draws into win after win.

Bizarrely, Manchester City are the only team Liverpool have beaten by more than one goal in a Premier League game since mid-September, yet despite so many close calls they remain eight points clear at the top of the table with 37 points from a possible 39.

The most recent example of that was Saturday's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, when they once again ground out a win despite being far short of their best as Roberto Firmino popped up with the now customary late winner.

If there is an air of inevitability about Liverpool scoring in 'Kloppage time' then the same is true about them winning at Anfield at the moment, with a remarkable 17 consecutive wins in front of their own fans, including nine from nine this season.

Not since February's goalless draw with Bayern Munich have the Reds failed to win a game on home turf, and across all competitions you have to go back to September 2018 - 30 matches ago - for their last Anfield defeat.
Klopp confirmed after Saturday's win over Crystal Palace that Salah - the match-winner in this fixture last season - will be fit to feature after being an unused sub at Selhurst Park due to an ankle injury.

Andrew Robertson played the full 90 minutes of that match following an ankle issue of his own, and no new injury concerns arose at Selhurst Park.

Fabinho will miss Saturday's match against Brighton & Hove Albion through suspension and so is likely to start this one, but there could be changes in midfield with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain potentially dropping into a deeper role to make room for the returning Salah.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored three of Liverpool's six goals in the double-header against Genk and will therefore be hopeful of a start, while the likes of James Milner, Joe Gomez, Naby Keita and Adam Lallana are also pushing for selection.

Xherdan Shaqiri could be included in the squad having now recovered from a calf problem, but the match is expected to come too soon for Joel Matip.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Liverpool Champions League form: LWWW
Liverpool form (all competitions): WWWWWW

In Europe their unbeaten home run currently stretches back 24 matches to October 2014, which gives some idea of the task facing Napoli as they aim to book their own place in the knockout rounds.

Victory will be enough for that, but wins have been hard to come by for the Italian outfit of late, with five draws and a defeat from their last six outings across all competitions - most recently a 1-1 stalemate against AC Milan on Saturday.

Such form has seen the Serie A runners-up for the past two seasons slip down to seventh place in the standings - 15 points off leaders Juventus - and sparked speculation of a fallout between the players and disgruntled outspoken president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

There will be belief and confidence to take from the fact that they have already beaten Liverpool this season, of course, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and Ancelotti's side will be significant underdogs for this trip to Merseyside.
Anfield will not hold too many fond memories for them either having seen their Champions League hopes come to an end at the stadium last season, when Mohamed Salah's goal proved decisive in a winner-takes-all encounter between these two sides, who were fighting to finish behind Paris Saint-Germain in the group.

Liverpool will not have forgotten how close Napoli came to rewriting history, though, and it took a point-blank save from Alisson Becker late on to deny the Italians an equalising goal which would have seen them progress instead of Klopp's side, who went on to lift the trophy in Madrid.

Wednesday's clash is not quite as all-or-nothing as that, though, and even defeat would leave Napoli in a strong position to progress, only needing victory at home to Genk in their final group game.

Anything they do get from Anfield would be a bonus, of course, but they have won just three of their last 10 away games across all competitions, one of their last nine away games in the Champions League and have never won in eight previous visits to England.
Napoli, meanwhile, could be without two key attackers in Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne due to stomach and elbow problems respectively.

Milik in particular would be a big miss having scored five of Napoli's last seven Serie A goals, although they do have options with Fernando Llorente and Dries Mertens, both of whom scored late goals in the reverse fixture and the latter of whom is only five goals short of the club's all-time goalscoring record of 121.

Kevin Malcuit is a long-term absentee due to ligament damage.
Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Callejon, Allan, Elmas, Fabian Ruiz; Lozano, Mertens
Napoli Champions League form: WDWD
Napoli form (all competitions): DDLDDD

Head To Head
This will only be the sixth meeting between these two sides, with the previous five being evenly split at two wins apiece and one draw.

There has never been an away win in this fixture, with each of the last four going the way of the hosts - a Steven Gerrard-inspired Europa League triumph in 2010 followed by the three meetings over the past two Champions League group stages.

The reverse fixture in September saw Napoli score twice late on to secure the win over the holders.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Napoli
Napoli have found it difficult to win games in recent weeks, and there is arguably no place harder to visit than Anfield at the moment. However, they have also not been losing games regularly so it would be a surprise if Liverpool blew them away on Wednesday. It may be a familiar story for the Reds - a close-fought encounter, but ultimately another win.