Match Preview: Napoli vs. Liverpool

After the thrilling draw against Chelsea last weekend, Liverpool turn their attention towards Napoli for match day two of the Champions League. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) takes a look at match day two of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.

Who: Napoli vs. Liverpool

When: Wednesday, 3 October

Where: Stadio San Paolo, Naples

Time: 8:00 GMT, 3:00 EST

TV: BT Sport 3(UK), TNT (US)

Liverpool’s performance at Stamford Bridge at the weekend was definitely below par for this squad. The finishing from the front three, with the exception of Daniel Sturridge, was abysmal. Chance after change were wasted and ended up in the stands behind the goal. The midfield performance was not up to the bar that they have set for themselves. The intercepting and containment was not good enough if they want to be able to breakdown this Napoli team.

The back five of Liverpool’s defence was the bright spot of Saturday’s performance. Alisson was the big difference maker in the draw Saturday. He made two crucial saves which kept Liverpool in the game. Alisson will be a big difference maker Wednesday as he has gotten familiar with the Napoli squad from his time in Rome.

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The two outside backs, Trent Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson, were decent enough to get the job done Saturday. They both got caught out a couple of times by Eden Hazard and Willian, and Hazard finished his chance brilliantly. They will have to be wary of Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens with their runs in behind if Liverpool will want to keep a clean sheet.

The centre back duo, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, were impeccable against Chelsea. The recovery pace they both displayed when the forwards of Chelsea got in behind was phenomenal. They will be a big part of Liverpool’s success in Naples if Liverpool wants to come away with a victory.

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The midfield trio against Chelsea was not a great pairing. Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Gini Wijnaldum was not working for the reds. The placement of two number holding midfielders in to the midfield was not working at all. They were easily dominated and outworked by the Chelsea midfield. Naby Keita needs to replace Henderson if Liverpool want to be successful going forward against Napoli.

The front three were abysmal in London. They wasted every single chance that was given to them. The creativeness generated in order to get into prime attacking positions was impressive, but the final touch was not there. The finish from the boy, Daniel Sturridge, was something that will be crucial to Liverpool’s title chances in both competitions. If he is able to continue the form that he is currently in, he may make his way into the starting XI soon.

Liverpool Team News

Naby Keita is expected to make his way into the midfield for Jordan Henderson.

Daniel Sturridge may make his way into the XI after his excellent performances as of late.

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Napoli’s performance against Juventus in Turin on Saturday did not please Carlo Ancelotti one bit. The 3-1 defeat could have been a lot worse with the way Ancelotti’s men performed. Dries Mertens’ early goal brought on some good hope for the men from Naples, but it was short lived after Juve was able to easily break them down.

The back line for Napoli is a very odd one at that. Kalidou Koulibaly is the main man at the back for Napoli and will size up well after his performance against the reds in Dublin back in August. The back line for Napoli will have their hands full with Liverpool’s attack. They could be let off of the hook if Liverpool are not able to take advantage of their chances.

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Napoli’s midfield will go toe-to-toe with the midfield of Liverpool. The duo of Allan and Marek Hamsik will be key in winning the battles against Liverpool. The way that they are able to shut down the counter attacks and to withstand the pressure will be crucial for this Napoli side. Hamsik will also play a big role with his play into the forwards. If the Napoli forwards want to have any success, Hamsik will have to be able to get the ball to their feet as often as they can because of the high calibre of the offence.

Insigne and Mertens are going to have to be outstanding in front of goal if Napoli wants any chance of contending with Liverpool. They will also be the first line of defence for the counter attack, so they have to put in an absolute shift in order to stop the opponent.

Napoli Team News

Expect an almost identical starting XI that faced Juventus at the weekend.

Previous Meeting
The last time that these two sides faced off was in Dublin, Ireland in the beginning of August. Liverpool came out strong and won by a scoreline of 5-0.

I think Liverpool will continue their success over Napoli and win 3-0.

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