Liverpool face an intriguing looking challenge this evening as they travel to Italy to face a Napoli side who seldom fail to provide enchanting entertainment in the Champions League.
Maurizio Sarri may well have left Napoli to join Chelsea in the summer transfer window but the attacking intensity which characterises the Naples-based club continues to thrive in his absence.
Under Carlo Ancelotti’s stewardship Napoli have managed to score 13 goals from their first 7 Serie A fixtures and, perhaps most notably for Liverpool, 7 of those goals arrived in 3 home fixtures.
With the likes of Piotr Zielinski, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne all residing in Ancelotti’s squad, there is no doubt that the Reds will face a tough challenge in keeping the home side at bay this evening, and Charlie Nicholas believes it’s a fixture which they will fail to take all three points from.
In his pre-match prediction column as published by Sky Sports, Nicholas tipped the game to finish 1-1 which he believes ‘will be a good result for Liverpool’.
After clinching three-points in stoppage time on their European bow against Paris Saint-Germain it’s fair to say that a point against Napoli would represent a positive step towards qualification, particularly as their opponents could only muster a draw against Red Star Belgrade on matchday one.
But Liverpool would be wise to use Man City’s unprecedented achievement at the Stadio San Paolo as inspiration to clinch a game-changing victory.
City travelled to Napoli last season for an encounter which will live long in the memory of the Citizens faithful as Sergio Aguero became the club’s top-goalscorer with an emphatic finish in the second-half to help his side on their way to a 4-2 victory – the first time Napoli tasted defeat at home against English opposition in the Champions League.
That Nicholas does not expect Liverpool to match City’s achievement on Italian soil is certainly no major insult to Jurgen Klopp and his players as Napoli is no easy place to go, but if they are able to rediscover the standard of performance they put in at Anfield against PSG they will have every chance of proving Nicholas wrong.
The message is clear: if City can get the better of Napoli in their own back yard then so can Liverpool, even if their record against English sides would suggest the odds are stacked against the visitors.
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