UEFA Champions League Magazine - Episode 21Mar 24
Liverpool vs Napoli: Champions League match preview, predicted lineups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch
We preview Liverpool's Matchday 6 clash against Napoli in Group A of the Champions League.
When and where to watch Liverpool vs Napoli
Liverpool vs Napoli kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday 1 November.
You can watch all the action from 7.15pm exclusively live on BT Sport 3.
Liverpool vs Napoli match preview
Liverpool have an escape from their Premier League woes on Tuesday night as they return to action in the Champions League, having already secured their place in the knockout stages.
A win for the Reds would see them finish level on points with visitors Napoli at the top of Group A, but only a big margin of victory would take Liverpool above the Italian side by virtue of their head-to-head record.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were heavily beaten in the reverse fixture at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, falling to a 4-1 defeat against a Napoli side full of confidence and quality.
And Luciano Spalletti’s team will have no fear ahead of their trip to Anfield. They remain top of Serie A after a 4-0 win over Sassuolo on Saturday, with Victor Osimhen bagging a hat-trick to send his side five points clear of Atalanta.
In the Champions League, Napoli have won five from five and look an imperious outfit even against some of Europe’s top teams.
A win at Anfield would further strengthen their credentials in the competition, though Liverpool are clearly a team enduring a difficult period of transition.
Defeat to Leeds on Saturday night left the Merseyside club languishing in mid-table in the Premier League. A place in next season’s Champions League is far from a guaranteed outcome at the moment.
It has repeatedly seemed like a case of one step forward and two back for Liverpool this season, with the Leeds loss following an encouraging 3-0 win at Ajax last week. Perhaps victory over an excellent Napoli side can be the catalyst for a turnaround at Anfield.
Liverpool vs Napoli predicted lineups
Liverpool: (4-3-1-2) Alisson; Milner, Gomez, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Elliott, Henderson, Jones, Firmino, Salah, Nunez
Napoli: (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Ostigard, Kim, Rui, Ndombele, Lobotka, Elmas, Lozano, Simeone, Raspadori
Liverpool vs Napoli: Injuries and suspensions
Liverpool will again be without long-term absentees Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Joel Matip and Arthur, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, despite being close to a return to full fitness, were not registered for the Champions League.
Klopp may opt to rotate with qualification secured and a trip to Tottenham coming up on Sunday.
Napoli’s Salvatore Sirigu and Amir Rrahmani are expected to miss out with muscle injuries, and winger Matteo Politano, who is one booking away from suspension, could sit the match out.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Form guide
Liverpool have won four in a row in the Champions League after their defeat to Napoli on the opening night.
That included a 7-1 drubbing of Rangers in Glasgow and a convincing victory over Ajax in Amsterdam last time out.
Domestically, though, the Reds have been mysteriously inconsistent, unable to put together a run of form and repeatedly falling to unexpected losses, the latest of them against Leeds at the weekend.
That was Liverpool’s first defeat at home of the season, so Klopp’s side are still formidable opposition at Anfield. But when the last six matches have included an impressive win over Manchester City, a loss to Nottingham Forest and an emphatic win against Rangers, it’s hard to know what to expect.
Napoli are less unpredictable. They tend to win, and often in style, with Saturday’s victory over Sassuolo their 13th in a row in all competitions.
That’s a frightening run of form and shows no real sign of stopping, though Anfield tends to be a place where great teams are put to the sword.
Spalletti will know this can’t last forever, but there will be a swagger and self-confidence about Napoli on Tuesday night.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Last time they met
Liverpool left Naples with their tail between their legs after their 4-1 loss in September.
It was a statement of intent and a sign of things to come from the home side, who were three goals up by half-time thanks to a penalty from Piotr Zielinski and strikes from Andre-Frank Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone.
Zielinski added another just after the break, before Diaz pulled one back for the visitors.
He said what?!
Jurgen Klopp has insisted his side can’t blame injuries for recent results:
“There is no excuse for it or whatever but we have the problem from the first day with injuries or half-fit players who are not injured. So that’s what we carry with us in the moment and that’s why some players play too often and other players have to play too early.
“That’s the situation and the next game is already waiting, and now you might say Naples, it’s a home game, we are already through in the group. I would say it’s Liverpool against Napoli and we should put in a proper performance.
“At least we need 11 starters again and then a few days later we play away at Tottenham, so that’s our situation. It’s not now for a main overhaul and all these kind of things – no, you have to fight through, and you have to fight for momentum, for confidence, for security.”
Liverpool vs Napoli: Players to watch
Victor Osimhen missed over a month of the season with a hamstring injury but has made a sensational return to action in recent weeks.
The Nigerian striker has six goals in his last four matches for Napoli and will hope to add to that on Tuesday night.
Perhaps the best of those goals was his Marco van Basten-esque strike to seal a late win against Roma in Serie A, a moment that highlighted his exceptional finishing for anyone who was still unaware.
Osimhen only lasted 41 minutes of the return fixture in Naples, limping off with the injury that would keep him sidelined for several weeks.
But he showed enough in that game to worry Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, who will both need to be at their best.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been a revelation for Napoli so far this season, too, and will likely fancy his chances of making an impact given Liverpool’s well-documented problems at right-back.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Key stats
- This will be the eighth meeting between Liverpool and Napoli in European competition, with the Italian side (3) edging the Reds (2) in terms of victories so far (two draws). After their 4-1 win in this season’s reverse fixture, Napoli could beat Liverpool in consecutive games for the first time.
- Napoli have never won away from home against an English team in European competition, with the Italian side failing on 11 occasions to date (D3 L8). They are unbeaten in the last two trips, however, drawing 1-1 against Liverpool in this competition in November 2019 and 2-2 v Leicester in the UEFA Europa League in September 2021.
- This will be Jürgen Klopp’s 100th match as a manager in the UEFA Champions League, across spells with Borussia Dortmund and current club Liverpool. He will become the first German coach to take charge of a century of games in the competition.
- Napoli have scored more goals than any other team through the first five matchdays in this season’s UEFA Champions League (20). Indeed, the only team to score more during a single group stage in the previous four campaigns has been Bayern Munich (24 in 2019-20 and 22 in 2021-22).
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored 42 goals in the UEFA Champions League, the second-most by an African player in the history of the competition. He would need to score twice in this match in order to draw level with Didier Drogba (44) as the joint-top African scorer.