Liverpool will be facing a familiar foe when they begin their Champions League campaign on Tuesday with a visit to Naples.
The reigning European Champions were almost derailed by Carlo Ancelotti’s men on their way to their sixth Champions League trophy last year. This proceeded by a 1-0 defeat in the opening stages of the group-stage to tomorrow’s hosts.
Instead, the rerun of last year’s fixture sees our Napoli vs Liverpool predictions favouring a win for the Reds.
The San Paolo awaits a mouth-watering tie given the attacking setups of both teams. You can read all about Liverpool’s in our 2019/20 Premier League season preview.
But first things first…
Napoli vs Liverpool Predictions
This particular match-up has provided plenty of flare down the years and this Tuesday’s clash should be no different.
Yes, it’s the first of the Champions League group-stage games. A defeat here for either side wouldn’t be so costly, given that the other two teams in Group D include Genk and Redbull.
But the bragging rights are worth the scrap for all three points – the kind that Jurgen Klopp’s men won’t need to be asked twice to enact.
A 3-1 win at home to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday proved exactly that. The Reds went 1-0 down early on in the game, courtesy of a Jetro Willems masterclass. But a double from Sadio Mane and a late Mohamed Salah goal were enough to sink the Magpies.
It was a performance that once again showcased the brilliance of Fabinho. His baptism of fire against Unai Emery’s Arsenal two years ago pales in comparison to his current style of play. As a defensive midfielder, there are very few, if any, that get past the Brazilian.
It’s the kind of steeliness our Napoli vs Liverpool predictions are expecting to come to the forefront against a blistering Gli Azzurri.
Indeed, in Napoli’s opening match in the Serie A against Fiorentina, the 2018 runners-up fell behind early on. Yet four quick-fire goals scored in less than half an hour won them the game – an omen to the travelling Liverpool defenders on what to expect this Tuesday.
Napoli’s attacking brilliance stole the limelight again a week later against champions Juventus. Aside from a Kalidou Koulibaly own-goal, three goals in 15 minutes saw Ancelotti’s men rise from a 3-0 deficit in a fashion akin to Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League comeback.
Diminutive midfielder Dries Mertens and the returning Lorenzo Insigne have been the culprits in all of the goals netted at the San Paolo. Liverpool would be wise to understand that even a pegged-back Napoli have the grit and talent to fight back.
Considering the Reds away form in the Champions League, this might not be altogether impossible. But with a bolstered and experienced back-line, a narrow 2-1 victory for Klopp’s men is our prognosis.
Napoli vs Liverpool Head To Head
Liverpool have only lost once in this fixture and that took place last year on route to their sixth European title.
The three other clashes have leant towards Klopp’s men, fueling our Napoli vs Liverpool predictions. Aside from the 0-0 draw that took place in the Europa League a decade ago, the Reds have been in form through this particular matchup.
In the most recent game that saw them turn the tables on the Naples outfit, a 1-0 result did the trick.
This Tuesday’s match could prove to be more lucrative for Liverpool.
Napoli Team News
The odds do not seem to be in Ancelotti’s favour. The Italian will have to make do with a depleted forward line – one that pales in comparison to Liverpool’s front three.
Arkadiusz Milik missed Napoli’s opening games, while Fernando Llorente has been struggling with a knock.
Indeed, the only real reason for optimism is the return of Insigne. The 28-year-old scored the 90th-minute goal in this fixture last season to defeat the Reds. He will be in the back of every Reds fan’s mind.
Our Napoli vs Liverpool predictions are expecting him to be an attacking livewire on the counter. The kind that will require Virgil Van Dijk and co to work at optimum efficiency to nullify.
Liverpool Team News
Yet, Klopp’s men aren’t without injuries themselves. For starters, they’ll be without the man who made the marvellous save at Anfield last December against this Tuesday’s opponents to keep Liverpool’s Champions League hopes alive: Allison Becker.
The Reds goalkeeper is still recovering from a calf injury he picked up in Liverpool’s first home match of the season. And with no real incentive to risk the Brazilian, Adrian gets the call-up.
Meanwhile, long-time absentee Nathanial Clyne will likely be out till next year. Divock Origi, a more recent figure on the medical table, is unlikely to feature.
Liverpool’s Naby Keita is the only one who seems to be close to match-fitness. Yet, the Guinea international still has some rehab under his belt to complete.
Napoli vs Liverpool Betting Tips
The Reds are wagering on short odds in our Napoli vs Liverpool predictions. Indeed, the betting tipsters have weighed them up as a 5/4 wager. Yet, they still edge Ancelotti’s men as favourites to win.
Meanwhile, the Italian team are operating as a 41/20 projection in our Napoli vs Liverpool match bets – hardly the punter’s pick. And the odds about a draw aren’t any more appealing, tipped at 13/5.
Indeed, for two teams who finished second in their respective leagues last season, it’s clear that neither will be accepting defeat this Tuesday. Unfortunately, all evidence suggests that Napoli will be the one having to deal with another loss on home turf.