LIVERPOOL VS NAPOLI: PREVIEW
Following defeat to Leeds on Saturday night, Liverpool now have to switch attention to the Champions League. With qualification for the knockout stages already secured, the Reds will face Napoli in what is essentially a deadrubber. Here’s a preview of the game.
The Reds were dreadful last time out, losing their proud home record to a Leeds side that were on their knees prior to the game. Jesse Marsch was on the brink after a poor run of results but Jürgen Klopp’s outfit made them look like top four contenders.
The number of chances they were allowed to have as a visiting team at Anfield was shocking. Some hard truths need to be said as far as Liverpool are concerned. What they are serving up this season is simply not good enough.
This group of players and manager possess too much quality to be bouncing between dazzling and dreadful on a week to week basis. There has been zero consistency to their play this campaign, which is unfathomable for a side that has gone toe to toe with Manchester City for the past couple of years.
It’s looking stale at the minute, with the manager coming under genuine scrutiny. His lack of ruthlessness in replacing certain unreliable players has come back to bite him this term. Almost a third of the way through the season and Stefan Bajcetic has played more minutes than Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain combined.
The manager turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the need for reinforcements in midfield and the chickens have come home to roost. His senior players have let him down as well. The form of the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho etc have been nothing to write home about.
Something has to give. It can’t continue like this. The manager has to earn his corn in finding a way out of this tough period. He can defend his men all he wants but they have to show a greater level of consistency on the pitch if they’re to avoid missing out on Champions League football next season.
Speaking of which, the continental competition has proven something of a welcome distraction for the Reds. Bar the abysmal defeat in Naples, Klopp’s men have won four out of four, netting 14 goals and conceding just twice.
As previously stated, qualification has already been wrapped up. Tomorrow night is a chance to win the group outright but that will be a big ask seeing as Napoli are 4-1 clear on head to head. It will require a huge turnaround in performance level to swing that back.
Luciano Spalletti’s Neopolitans are on absolute smoke this season. They have won each of their last 13 fixtures and are on a 27 match unbeaten run across all competitions. They have not only stormed top of their Champions League group but the Serie A table as well.
They are 5 points clear of Atalanta in second. They are quite simply the most in-form side in Europe at the minute. They have conceded 9 league goals whilst plundering 30 goals of their own. They are topscorers in this competition, netting 20 times (4 more than Bayern Munich).
Four of those goals came at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona when the Reds last visited. Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia, Zielinski, Anguissa and co absolutely tore through Liverpool. Raspadori, Simeone and Politano are all in decent form heading into this clash as well.
Losing against Leeds United isn’t exactly the best preparation for a clash against the most prolific side in Europe but we are where we are. Both sides will likely rest a few key players in the face of a relentless schedule.
Anything short of a victory by a three or even four goal margin will see the Reds finish runners-up in the group. Basing off the last game, that’s just not happening. Wouldn’t it just sum this side up though if they turned up tomorrow night and managed just that? It’s been that kind of season.
For Liverpool, Matip, Arthur, Diaz and Jota remain out through injury. Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain are ineligible having been left out of the Champions League squad. Konaté is available though and is expected to return to the side. Calvin Ramsay is also fit enough to feature.
For the Italians, centre back Amir Rrahmani (groin) and midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo-Anguissa (hamstring) are the only absentees.
One thought on “LIVERPOOL VS NAPOLI: PREVIEW”