The Reds look to take a massive step towards the knockout stages as they host their closest rivals.
Liverpool vs Napoli
| Wednesday, November 27th |
Champions League | Anfield
8PM BST / 3PM EST
It’s November, and the fun has just begun, as Liverpool’s run of 13 games in 40 days started with a win at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Turnarounds will be mercilessly short for the coming month and change, with season-defining matches taking place on a weekly basis, few more so than tomorrow’s visit from Napoli.
The Italians are going through what could be described as a rough spell, with players in open revolt against club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, and having gone six games without a win. The ciucciarelli sit seventh in the Serie A, five points outside of the Champions League qualifying spots, and are second in Group E, with a loss tomorrow likely to put RB Salzburg dangerously close to threatening their advancement to the knockout stages.
The Neopolitans are nonetheless a supremely talented side, and one that — as all Reds fans know — have caused Jürgen Klopp a significant amount of headache over the past season and a half. Their frontline — despite largely misfiring in Europe this year — is one of the most formidable on the continent, and Kalidou Koulibaly is among its most dominant defenders. Even missing Faouzi Ghoulam, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik, Ancelotti’s men have the talent to cause trouble for any side, including the reigning champions.
Matches between the two sides have been extremely tightly contested affairs in the past, with three games yielding only four goals, and Wednesday is likely to contain more of the same.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner; Mané, Firmino, Salah
Liverpool’s fortunes have been just about the opposite of tomorrow’s opposition, as the Reds have continued their incredible unbeaten streak in the Premier League and sit firmly at the top of the table, eight points clear of Leicester, and squad mentality and morale seems utterly unshakable.
Joël Matip’s absence continues, meaning another start for an athletically diminished but otherwise steady Dejan Lovren is on the cards, while Andy Robertson’s bothersome ankle is unlikely to keep the Scotsman out of the line-up.
Naby Keïta struggled with illness at the weekend, but is back in training, although the Guinean is unlikely to force himself into the starting XI tomorrow. Fabinho will miss the Reds’ visit from Brighton on Saturday and is guaranteed to start in midfield, where he will be joined by two of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, depending on fitness and tactical decisions.
Mohamed Salah should return to complete a frontline that, despite scoring two goals, looked far less potent absent the Egyptian at the weekend, and will look to continue his excellent strike rate in the competition, where he has already accumulated three goals and two assists in four games.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “The biggest mistake we could make is thinking about we’ve won it already and what would happen if we win it. If we win it then we have to think about all the other things.”
Carlo Ancelotti: “We need to raise the bar and perform closer to our level, because the team can do more and its current performances don’t satisfy anyone, including me.”
The Officials (ESP)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Assistant referees: Juan Carlos Yuste, Roberto Alonso
Fourth official: José Luis Munuera Montero
VAR: José María Sánchez, Ricardo de Burgos
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.