STAR PREVIEW: Liverpool v Napoli

Liverpool are roaring clear in the Premier League and they can put themselves in the last 16 of the Champions League with a win against Napoli tonight.

Jurgen Klopp will be striving to get over the line tonight with an extra fixture to come against Salzburg in Austria and the signs look good for the Reds. Their only defeat of this season did come against Napoli, but that was in the away fixture and Liverpool are a different force at Anfield. They have not been beaten here in either the Premier League or the Champions League since April 2017, and in 21 European games, since Klopp has arrived, they haven’t lost a single one.

Included in that run are the likes of PSG, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, so Liverpool’s 17 wins and four draws in that timeframe are even more impressive to look at.

Liverpool have ridden their luck at times in a succession of Premier League wins that have kept them eight points clear in the title race but with the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino Klopp’s men will always have attacking threats and Liverpool’s abundance of midfield options – Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Naby Keita are all available – provides power in midfield alongside the hurtling full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

They also face a Napoli side who are in disarray. Since beating Liverpool, Napoli have won just 4 of their 13 games and they are embroiled in a feud between club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and senior players.

A disappointing sequence of results across all competitions led to De Laurentiis ordering the players to go into a week-long retreat – but manager Carlo Ancelotti said he was against the idea and the players subsequently refused, which led Napoli to issue a statement, explaining they would discipline the players.

De Laurentiis has since begun legal proceedings to fine the whole first-team squad 25% of their monthly salary the maximum penalty allowed – apart from Kevin Malcuit who has been recovering from a serious knee injury. The club have imposed a media blackout on the squad and they reprimanded Elif Elmas for breaking ranks and talking to local media during the international break, a sign of how bad relations are.

Liverpool v Napoli
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport Ultimate

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD*
(Maximum 10 matches)
SEP 2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Napoli 2-0 Liverpool
DEC 2018 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Liverpool 1-0 Napoli
OCT 2018 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Napoli 1-0 Liverpool
NOV 2010 EUROPA LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Napoli
OCT 2010 EUROPA LEAGUE Napoli 0-0 Liverpool

Napoli hoped to mount a serious Serie A challenge this season, but are seventh – following a run of five matches without a win and they arrive here without two of their best strikers in the shape of Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik.

Liverpool have left things late against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace either side of their 3-1 win against Manchester City but they have played better than Napoli did in draws to Genoa and AC Milan and they should prove to be too strong.

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