Who: Liverpool vs Napoli
When: Wednesday, November 27th @ 3:00pm ET
Line: Liverpool -245 | Draw +390 | Napoli +650
Last year, Liverpool’s run to Champions League glory was almost halted in the group stage by Napoli. On the final group stage matchday, with Liverpool needing a win to advance and clinging to a 1-0 lead, Alisson came up with a monster save in stoppage time to send the Reds through.
If that’s almost any other goalkeeper on the planet, Liverpool aren’t champions of Europe.
This year’s group stage match up vs Napoli doesn’t have the same stakes. Liverpool are atop Group E with 9 points. Napoli are one behind with 8. Red Bull Salzburg are off in the distance with 4.
A win at Anfield on Wednesday secures first place in the group for Liverpool. Hosting last place Genk on matchday 6, Napoli will still likely advance even if they lose at Anfield.
The stakes couldn’t be more…medium.
That doesn’t mean this match doesn’t have plenty of intrigue though.
Liverpool vs Napoli match preview
Soooo…Napoli is kind of a trainwreck right now, huh? Understandably, their performance has suffered. They have dropped to 7th in Serie A and have not won a match in their last 6 games across all competitions.
Regardless, Napoli have been an utter thorn in Liverpool’s side for over a year. Including a summer 2019 friendly, Liverpool only have one win (against 3 losses) in their previous 4 matches against the Italians. And despite the downturn, Napoli still have a +6 goal differential in Serie A.
They can pop in goals from about anywhere. Arkadiusz Milik, who Alisson denied the winning strike last year but missed the matchday 1 game vs Liverpool, came back with 5 domestic goals in 5 starts this season. Lorenzo Insigne is a constant threat.
Neither are part of the traveling squad to Anfield.
Yes, Dries Mertens will always cause problems. And Kalidou Koulibaly will do his best Virgil van Dijk impression on the backline.
This also could very well be the type of match where Napoli’s players are galvanized by their management’s treatment of them. Perhaps they respond to being short-handed like Liverpool did against Barcelona last season. Napoli certainly aren’t scared of Liverpool. They’re the only side to be the Reds all of the 2019-20 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp is likely preparing for just that. He’ll roll out with his trusted and preferred starting XI, with the defensively minded midfield combo of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Gini Wijnaldum.
That midfield (and their lack of offensive creativity) causes plenty of frustration among Anfield faithful. However, that midfield is battle tested. They absolutely shined against Manchester City last month. Expect a lively and physical performance from them.
Liverpool will have a fully fit Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson. Even when he’s not “on,” Liverpool’s attack never looks the same without Salah. Sadio Mane is increasingly becoming the go-to scorer for the Reds, but he has fewer opportunities to impact the game when Mo is not on the team sheet.
Both squads will give up opportunities. Who will give up fewer opportunities and do a better job finishing? At home, it’s nearly impossible to bet against Liverpool at this stage.
Do not write Napoli off despite their dysfunction and missing attackers (and oddsmakers +650 pricing). Even though their advancement is all but secure, scalping Liverpool at Anfield is a major achievement. Expect a way-too-nervy 2-1 Liverpool win.
WHERE TO BET THE 2019-20 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN THE US
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