UEFA Champions League: Liverpool vs Napoli preview

It's time for decisions in UEFA Champions League Group C, Napoli visit Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday in a match that will decide which of the two teams will advance to the first knockout round of the competition. Napoli have a slight advantage as they won the reverse fixture 1-0, Lorenzo Insigne scored the decisive goal at San Paolo Stadium on the stroke of full time. That was the first ever victory for Napoli over Liverpool, the previous two encounters, which happened in the Europa League in 2010, produced a goalless draw in Italy and a 3-1 victory for Liverpool on English soil.

Liverpool have only one chance to qualify, and that would be to defeat Napoli by at least two goals, in order to have the advantage in the direct meetings. The Reds are third in the group table at the moment, two points behind Paris Saint-Germain and three points behind Napoli, and PSG are expected to win their final match at Crvena Zvezda. In fact, it was in Belgrade that Liverpool lost most of their momentum, they suffered a surprising defeat against Crvena Zvezda at the beginning of November and then they lost 2-1 at PSG. However, they do have five consecutive wins in the Premier Leagues and are the new leaders following last week's 4-0 win at Bournemouth. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are the only injury concerns for manager Jurgen Klopp.

Napoli are in a good position ahead of this match, they can even afford a narrow defeat against Liverpool and still qualify. They are still unbeaten in the Champions League this season after having collected two victories and three draws. Last time out they won 3-1 at home against Crvena Zvezda, after having recorded a 1-1 draw at San Paolo against PSG. Last week they hammered Frosinone 4-0 in Serie A, a good warm-up for the match against Liverpool. Vlad Chiriches and Simone Verdi are the only injured players in the squad, but head coach Carlo Ancelotti wouldn't have sent them in the first eleven anyway.

Probable line-ups:

Liverpool: Alisson - Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson - Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum - Salah, Firmino, Mane

Napoli: Ospina - Maksimovic, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui - Callejon, Allan, Hamsik, Ruiz - Insigne, Mertens

My prediction: Liverpool to win 2-1, the Reds have what it takes to win it but Napoli will cling on to their qualification spot.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Liverpool win - 1.61
Draw - 4.50
Napoli win - 5.50

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    Well, for me it looked like Liverpool have had the full control over this one during the course of the game while Napoli were completely disappointing and if there wasn't a so many misses and a rash play's by the Liverpool strikers (but not only) that game would of be decided long before the dying stages when Napoli had a really good chance of equalizing in the stoppage time which would of in fact qualified them for certain.
    The more willing and capable team was Liverpool though and they've fully deserved the reach of the elimination round.

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