Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Match Feature: Napoli v Liverpool

Big Match Feature: Napoli v Liverpool

Liverpool kick off their defence of the Uefa Champions League against a team who came perilously close to ousting them from last season's competition as they travel to Italy to take on Napoli.
The teams were paired together in last season's group stage and both games featured late drama; indeed, only a vital late save from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker on matchday six prevented Napoli progressing to the round of 16 at the expense of the English side

Each side recorded a 1-0 home win in last season's group stage, Lorenzo Insigne getting Napoli's 90th-minute winner at the Stadio San Paolo on matchday two.

Mohamed Salah was the Liverpool match-winner at Anfield on matchday six, his 34th-minute strike proving enough to take Jürgen Klopp's side into the knockout stages at the expense of their Italian opponents – although but for a last-gasp Alisson save to deny Arkadiusz Milik, Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli would have progressed instead.

The clubs also met in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage. With the game in Naples having ended scoreless, Ezequiel Lavezzi gave Napoli a first-half lead at Anfield before Steven Gerrard's hat-trick in the final 15 minutes, including goals in the 88th and 89th minutes, secured a dramatic late win for Liverpool.

The Reds went on to finish top of their section, with Napoli second.



Serie A runners-up for the second season running in 2018/19, Napoli are in the group stage for the sixth time – all in the last nine seasons. They reached the round of 16 in 2011/12 and 2016/17 but have finished third in their section in the other three campaigns.

The Partenopei picked up seven of their nine points in last season's group stage in Naples. Napoli have, however, won only four of their last nine home games in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final; they have lost three in that sequence.

Napoli have won only four of their last 12 UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L5) – all those victories coming at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli have therefore lost their last three matches against Premier League clubs, home and away, and five of the last six


Premier League runners-up in 2018/19, finishing a single point behind Manchester City, Liverpool are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 12th time; they have only failed to progress to the last 16 or further three times.

Klopp's team lost all three away games in last season's group stage, but were rescued by three wins at Anfield as they edged out Napoli on goal difference. They then beat Bayern München 3-1 away in the second leg of their round of 16 tie, going through by the same aggregate score, before ousting Porto 6-1 over two legs in the quarter-finals (2-0 h, 4-1 a).

Klopp's side have lost their last two matches in Italy but have been beaten in only three of their last nine away games against Italian clubs, winning three.


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