Liverpool will take on Napoli on Wednesday, looking to begin their UEFA Champions League campaign on a high with a win in the group opener.
Liverpool have had a disappointing campaign so far, and they are coming into this game on the back of a goalless draw against cross-town rivals Everton in a Premier League contest this past weekend. Liverpool have picked up just nine points from six Premier League matches so far, and Jurgen Klopp will demand massive improvement from his players in the upcoming matches.
Meanwhile, Napoli are unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions, and they come into this game on the back of a narrow 2-1 win over Lazio. The Serie A giants will look to make the most of Liverpool’s inconsistencies and grind out all three points at home.
The Reds have struggled against weaker teams than Napoli this season, and this will be a tricky outing for them. Luciano Spalletti’s charges have considerable firepower upfront, and they will look to hurt a porous Liverpool defence.
Napoli are currently at the top of the Serie A table, and they will look to do the same in their UEFA Champions League group as well. Meanwhile, Liverpool failed to beat Napoli home and away when the two sides were placed in the same group back in 2019/20, and they will have to improve considerably to get a positive result this time around.
Team News and Tactics
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) September 6, 2022
Napoli could be without the services of Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen due to injury blows this week. Both forwards are doubts for this game, and their absence will come as a substantial boost for a struggling Liverpool side.
However, Luciano Spalletti has options at his disposal, and the Napoli manager is expected to field the likes of Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori in the attacking unit. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is expected to complete the front three alongside the Italian duo.
The midfield unit pretty much picks itself. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka and Piotr Zielinski are set to start for Napoli in the midfield three, with the trio aiming to contain Harvey Elliott and Mohamed Salah, in particular.
Spalletti is set to continue with his usual back four of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Amir Rrahmani, Kim Min-jae and Mario Rui. Finally, Alex Meret will continue as the goalkeeper for Napoli against Liverpool on Wednesday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Rui; Lobotka, Zielinski, Zambo Anguissa, Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
Liverpool will be without the services of Ibrahima Konate (knee) and Jordan Henderson (hamstring) due to their respective injuries. However, Thiago Alcantara has returned to training and is expected to play some part in the contest, although the Spaniard is not likely to start the game against Napoli.
Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been left out of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League squad, and they will play no part in the contest against Napoli either.
Thiago is back in training! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/4rC9Jitvjl
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) September 5, 2022
The return of Portuguese forward Diogo Jota will be a major boost for Liverpool as they look to get over their goalscoring problems. Jota returned to action in the Merseyside derby, and he should be fit to play on Wednesday.
Klopp is likely to continue with his usual back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson. Alisson Becker picks himself between the sticks for Liverpool against Napoli.
Meanwhile, youngster Harvey Elliott is expected to start once again alongside Fabinho and James Milner, especially with Fabio Carvalho hobbling off the pitch against Everton this past weekend.
As for the front three, Klopp has a number of options after the return of Jota and Firmino. However, the Reds are expected to go ahead with the trio of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Fabinho, Elliott; Salah, Nunez, Diaz
- Napoli have kept a clean sheet in their last three home matches against Liverpool in all competitions.
- Napoli have picked up two wins in their last three outings against Liverpool.
- Liverpool have failed to win four of their last six matches across all competitions.
- Napoli are unbeaten in four of the last five meetings against Liverpool.
- Liverpool have conceded at least once in four of their last six matches this season.
Player to Watch
The 21-year-old Georgian international will be our player to watch against Liverpool on Wednesday night. The Napoli winger is in exceptional form right now having scored four goals and picked up an assist in his last six appearances for the Italian outfit.
Prior to that, he was exceptional for his country in the UEFA Nations League as well. Kvaratskhelia has been a key player for Luciano Spalletti in the final third, and he could cause all sorts of problems for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez on the right-hand side of Liverpool’s defence.
Napoli 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool are devoid of confidence and momentum right now and they are up against a team that has been very difficult to beat this season. Furthermore, the Reds have a depleted midfield, with James Milner expected to start against technically-gifted players like Stanislav Lobotka, Piotr Zielinski and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
The home side should be able to control the proceedings here, and they have enough attacking quality to find a way past a struggling Liverpool defence. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Napoli, leaving Liverpool with an uphill task to top Group A.