Venue – Stadio San Paolo, Naples
Referee – Felix Brych (GER)
Date & Time – Tuesday, September 17th 2019 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Napoli 2/1, Draw 5/2, Liverpool 13/10
It’s time for Liverpool to once again turn their attentions to European football as The Reds begin the defence of their Champions League title.
Napoli has been something of a regular opponent for Jurgen Klopp’s side in recent years, be it in pre-season friendlies or European competitive football.Form Napoli Form
Carlo Ancelotti’s side currently sits fifth in Italy’s Serie A after three games. They’re only defeat came at league champions Juventus when they were desperately unlucky to lose 4-3 after an injury-time own goal by Khalidou Koulibaly.
With a total of 16 goals coming in their opening three games, Napoli may be struggling for defensive solidity at the moment. However, they are scoring at the other end, too.
Ancelotti’s side is likely to adopt a more conservative approach to nullify Liverpool’s attacking threat on Tuesday night.Liverpool Form
They’re not doing too bad, The Reds, are they? Five league wins to start the season – and now 14 consecutive victories in the Premier League since early March – means this Liverpool team is finally being recognised as the force it is.
Throw in a sixth European Cup triumph in the middle of that 14-game winning streak and you start to realise just what Jurgen Klopp has achieved on Merseyside.
Liverpool went behind to an excellent early goal from Jetro Willems of Newcastle on Saturday but, even then, the result never felt in doubt. Klopp’s ‘Mentality Monsters’ were ahead by half-time and extended that lead after the break.
Last season’s Champions League group stage saw Liverpool lose all three of their away fixtures (at PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade).Team News Napoli Team News
Albanian full-back Elseid Hysaj and Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik are both doubtful for Tuesday’s game through injury. Other than that, Ancelotti has no other injury worries at the moment.
Ancelotti can switch his team between a 4-4-2 and a 4-4-1-1 shape, depending on their opponents. He will probably opt for 4-4-1-1 against Liverpool as he will be wary of the threat The Reds can pose on the counter-attack.
22-year-old Italian goalkeeper Alex Meret joined on a permanent deal from Udinese in the summer. He has started all three of Napoli’s Serie A games this season so expect to see him between the sticks against Liverpool.
Konstantinos Manolas moved to Naples from Roma before the start of the season. He should partner Kalidou Koulibaly in central defence. Koulibaly’s former defensive partner, Raul Albiol, returned to Spain in the summer, signing for Villarreal.
Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon are still at Napoli and still very capable of causing the Liverpool defence plenty of headaches. They also added Mexican striker Hirving Lozano’s name to the attack, bringing him in from PSV Eindhoven just before the transfer window closed.Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are without Alisson and Nathaniel Clyne through injury. Alisson’s calf injury will keep him out until October at least. Clyne’s ACL issue means who won’t be back in full training until around February.
Naby Keita and Divock Origi are both doubtful for this game, too. Keita is still recovering from a muscle injury he picked up when training in Turkey ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Chelsea. Origi suffered an ankle injury in the early stages of the 3-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
Klopp may have one eye already on Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday in the Premier League but with almost five days between the games, he may still opt for a ‘full strength’ lineup in Italy.
Adrian will continue in goals while Jordan Henderson should returning to the starting eleven alongside Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum in midfield.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané will lead the line in attack.Predicted Lineups
Napoli XI (4-4-2) – Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Callejon, Zielinski, Allan, Insigne; Lozano, Mertens
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, ManéWhen they last met
Napoli won 1-0 thanks to Lorenzo Insigne’s late goal at the Stadio San Paolo last season. Liverpool reversed the scoreline when the sides met in the final group game at Anfield. Mohamed Salah scored the goal which, along with some heroics from Alisson, carried The Reds to the knockout stages and then on their way to Champions League title number six.Prediction
Napoli 1 – 1 Liverpool
It’s another tough Italian trip that’s in store for Liverpool. The Reds might go one better than last season and snatch a draw. Whatever happens, it won’t be an easy night for Klopp’s men. To come away with a point and no injuries would be a success when looking at the bigger picture of the challenges ahead.
Liverpool FC has issued a ticket update for the Carabao Cup third-round tie with Milton Keynes Dons to be played at Stadium MK on Wednesday September 25, kick-off 7.45pm BST.
The club has received a further allocation of 320 tickets for this fixture.
Tickets will be available to season ticket holders and Members from 3pm on Thursday September 19.
Supporters who have not yet bought a ticket can purchase one ticket per person up to a maximum of four tickets per transaction.
Tickets will be subject to availability on a first come, first served basis, and a queuing system will be in place. We cannot guarantee that tickets will be available to all who apply.
Season ticket holders
Over 65/18-24 years (young adult): £17
U18s (junior): £7
Over 65/18-24 years (young adult): £23
U18s (junior): £12
Following conversations with various supporter representatives and in recognition of the different price they will have to pay, Liverpool FC will be sending food and drinks vouchers to all Members who purchase an MK Dons ticket; these vouchers can be redeemed the next time you visit Anfield.
For further information before travelling, click here.
Layton Stewart’s 86th-minute equaliser earned Liverpool U19s a deserved 1-1 draw with Napoli in Tuesday’s UEFA Youth League opener.
The young Reds, who fell behind to Andrea Mancino’s goal just before the half-hour point, dominated the second half of the Group E fixture at a sweltering Stadio Pasquale Ianniello and had hit the woodwork twice prior to Stewart’s late intervention.
Neco Williams struck the crossbar with a header not long before Mancino’s opener, and Leighton Clarkson blasted against the post as Barry Lewtas’ team streamed forward in search of a leveller after the break.
And it was substitute Stewart who finally provided the elusive goal on the occasion of his European debut for Liverpool, the 17-year-old sliding in a fine improvised finish at the back post after good work from Harvey Elliott.
A bright start by the visitors brought about the game’s first attempt on goal with six minutes on the clock, when Curtis Jones fired over after collecting Clarkson’s pass just inside the penalty area.
Ki-Jana Hoever was, however, required to divert a goal-bound shot by Gianluca Gaetano wide soon after.
Napoli’s captain found space in the box and was picked out by Agapios Vrikkis, only for Hoever to read the danger and clear his attempt with Ben Winterbottom beaten.
An unlikely source then very nearly put the young Reds ahead, Williams hitting the bar with a header from Yasser Larouci’s clipped cross, but Napoli would go on to take the lead in the 29th minute.
Vincenzo Potenza ran free down the left wing before pulling back to Mancino, who swept a first-time finish into the bottom corner.
The hosts were buoyed by that goal and were close to doubling their advantage in the closing stages of the half, with Gaetano’s curler going narrowly past the post.
Liverpool were unfortunate to get no reward for a positive opening 15 minutes of the second half that yielded three goalscoring opportunities.
First, Elliott cleared the crossbar from close range after Jones had unselfishly squared to the 16-year-old, before Clarkson rattled the outside of the post with a powerful drive from a tight angle after playing a neat one-two with Jake Cain.
And Jones was next to go close, the young Reds’ captain shooting over following sharp interplay with Cain on the edge of the area.
A knock sustained in a tackle then forced Larouci off, leading to James Norris’ introduction. That change did nothing to alter the pattern of the match, though, as Lewtas’ side continued pressing forward.
Clarkson and Jones again linked up superbly to get the skipper to the byline, but his cut-back was scrambled clear as Cain waited to pounce, and another Williams header at the back post was blocked.
Stewart, on in place of Elijah Dixon-Bonner, shot just wide from Elliott’s knockdown as the clock ticked over the 80-minute mark, though the substitute’s moment would arrive soon after.
Elliott sent a clever low ball across the area following another sustained spell of pressure, with Stewart showing excellent anticipation to prod past Hubert Dawid Idasiak and claim a fully-merited point for his side.
Liverpool U19s: Winterbottom, Williams, Hoever, Clayton (Longstaff, 81), Boyes, Larouci (Norris, 62), Clarkson, Dixon-Bonner (Stewart, 70), Cain, Jones, Elliott.
Unused substitutes: Ojrzynski, Savage, Koumetio.
Trent out for more
Liverpool won't rest on their laurels after last season's success, Trent Alexander-Arnold has vowed.
The right-back is out to ensure that the triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in June was just the start of a long and prosperous spell for the club.
He told the Champions Journal magazine: “After beating Spurs, there were celebrations but with the sense that: ‘This is literally just the beginning. There’s so much more that this team can do.’
“Nearly every player in every position is world-class and not many, if any, have even hit the heights they can at their full potential, which is incredible.
“The manager talks about it all the time. We’re still a young side, we’re still learning. We need to evolve, adapt and become better. It’s exciting.”
The Reds made up for missing out on the Premier League title by one point to Manchester City by clinching the most coveted prize in European club football by beating Tottenham in the Madrid final in June.
Klopp, though, insists Liverpool cannot dwell on their success as they prepare to begin the defence of their crown against Napoli in their Group E opener.
He said: “We cannot be the best team in Europe because Man City is the best team in the world, that’s the same planet, I heard! There are a lot of good teams out there and you have to prove that constantly.
“Last season we were really good. I’m not too sure we were the best team in Europe, but we were really good in the right moments and that’s why we won the Champions League.
“You cannot imagine how normal it is to carry on after the celebrations, it’s so easy to carry on normal if you have the right character.
“If you go nuts and start taking drugs and drinking and driving different cars or whatever, and leave your missus at home because you are now the Champions League winner, then I can’t help you.
“But we are not like this, we want to create more stories to remember in the future and not only this one, so we cannot stick to that.
“I have no idea how I could use the fact that I won the Champions League with the boys, so I didn’t even think about it.”
Liverpool’s ascent to glory came despite losing all three fixtures away from Anfield in the group stage last year, when they were also paired with Napoli, who triumphed 1-0 in the corresponding encounter last October.
Klopp added: “We want to be as consistent as last year, but play our football from this year. It’s just ‘do your best’ all the time.
“Last year we learned from one game to the next game and we have to use that experience because if you don’t defend with all we have then we have no chance against Napoli, they are so strong.
“They are stubborn in a positive way. They play football, they break lines, they have good counter-attacks, they are creative. I enjoy it when I analyse Napoli. I like to watch them.”
Captain Jordan Henderson is unconcerned that Liverpool being defending champions leaves them with a target on their back.
The England midfielder said: “Maybe, but I feel as though being at Liverpool everybody wants to beat you anyway.
“It’s the same for us, we want to beat everyone we play. For us it’s the same it always has been, give everything in every game we play.
“We are always hungry for more and always want to improve and feel we can do better.
“Last season was last season. We can take experience from the campaign and, if we can take that into this campaign, ultimately we feel we can still do a lot of things better and everything is possible again.
“Napoli will be tough, they are a great side, but we just have to concentrate on what we do. If we perform to the level we can then we have a good opportunity to win the game.”
Last Updated: 16/09/19 9:44pm1:08 Jurgen Klopp says comments made by his agent that he was contemplating his Liverpool future because of the British weather were meant as a joke Jurgen Klopp says comments made by his agent that he was contemplating his Liverpool future because of the British weather were meant as a joke
Jurgen Klopp has dismissed as a joke a claim made by his agent that he could leave Liverpool because of the British weather.
The German's contract at Anfield runs until 2022, and Sky Sports News understands the Premier League leaders are keen to secure him to a new long-term deal.Chelsea vs Liverpool
September 22, 2019, 4:00pm
The Liverpool manager's agent Marc Kosicke suggested in a recent interview that Klopp could be tempted to move to a warmer climate.
But speaking on the eve of Liverpool's Champions League opener against Napoli, Klopp said: "There is nothing in that story.
"He wanted to make a joke so now I have to be serious.0:34 Klopp revealed in July he wants to remain at Liverpool for 'at least three' more years, taking him to the end of his current contract Klopp revealed in July he wants to remain at Liverpool for 'at least three' more years, taking him to the end of his current contract
"It is German humour but obviously nobody got it...I am completely fine with the weather.
"Let me spell it out, the weather has never been a reason for me to choose a city and it's certainly not a reason for me to leave the country.
"Maybe at the moment (in England) it's the most healthy weather in the world - we have enough rain, it's cool, pretty much the opposite of this room!
"There's nothing in that story. He's my agent and my friend.
"When I speak about the weather it was about the wind which can have an effect on football, but that is not allowed in England. But that is not to a reason leave the country. I am fine."How to watch Premier League highlights
This season you can watch Premier League highlights just after the full-time whistle for free and without being a Sky Sports subscriber.
We'll bring you highlights of every Premier League game on the Sky Sports website and app at full-time or from 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons.
You'll also be able to watch in-game goals from Sky Live games on Twitter and catch Premier League highlights on our Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.Soccer Saturday Super 6
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By common consent, Liverpool start this season’s Champions League group stage with the hardest fixture of the six: away to Serie A side Napoli.
There are pros and cons to such a schedule; nobody wants to lose their opening group game, and it has been nearly two decades since the Reds did suffer defeat in their first European game of the season—but it also means it’s out the way early.
Even if the outcome is a loss, there’s then time to recover and put a string of wins together afterward.
Regardless of it being the first or last game, though, Liverpool do have to play on the road at the home of their biggest group rivals eventually, so how have they tended to fare in that away game down the years—and how has the result shaped the group itself overall?
Of course, it’s worth noting that as holders, Liverpool are this year the hardest fixture for everybody else, too…18/19: PSG, Champions League – defeat
When it was played: The fifth group game of last season’s Champions League—a key point, given the Reds had lost away twice already.
What was the score: A 2-1 defeat for Liverpool. The Reds were two behind before James Milner struck a penalty late in the first half.
Game and group context: It left us needing a last-game victory with specific requirements to progress ahead of Napoli on the head-to-head ruling. Thanks to Mo Salah and Alisson in particular, we did just that!17/18: Sevilla, Champions League – draw
When it was played: Again, fifth game—after playing the Spanish side first off at Anfield.
What was the score: 3-3, ridiculously. The Reds were absolutely flying and three goals clear by the half-hour mark, before conceding the same tally to the Spanish side after the break, including an injury-time equaliser.
Game and group context: We were already top of the group heading into the game, but still required a win for progression. More notably, it was symptomatic of the Reds’ all-out-attack approach at times, with a propensity to silly defensive work.15/16: Rubin Kazan, Europa League – victory
When it was played: Fourth group game. The Reds and the Russians played back-to-back games against each other, at Anfield then at Kazan Arena.
What was the score: 1-0 to the Reds, newly under the management of Jurgen Klopp. Jordon Ibe scored early in the second half.
Game and group context: The three rivals were evenly matched, and though Sion came second, the trip to Kazan was arguably the harder test for a team in transition.
Under Brendan Rodgers we had drawn all three earlier fixtures, so this took Liverpool a big step toward eventually finishing top.14/15: Real Madrid, Champions League – defeat
When it was played: Fourth game again, the second of the double-header against the Spanish giants.
What was the score: An extremely tepid and tame 1-0 defeat, two weeks after they battered us at Anfield by three.
Game and group context: For whatever reason, the Reds were atrocious in Europe after having almost won the league the previous season. This was a third loss from four games and left us almost out; shambolic draws against Ludogrets and Basel afterward completed the job.
We came third and the Bernabeu team selection became something of a symbol of Rodgers’ inability, or unwillingness that season, to make us competitive on the biggest stage.12/13: Anzhi Makhachkala, Europa League – defeat
When it was played: Once more this was the fourth game, a trip to the far reaches of Eastern Europe to face the then-cash-rich Anzhi side, who now compete in the regional third tier of the Russian football league.
What was the score: A rather forgettable 1-0 defeat, lanky striker Lacina Traore the scorer just before the break.
Game and group context: Thankfully, the Reds had beaten Anzhi by the same scoreline just previously—and these games meant Liverpool, Anzhi and Swiss side Young Boys all finished on 10 points each.
By head-to-head ruling, the Reds came top, thanks largely to a 5-3 drubbing of the Swiss outfit in the first game—but in these fixtures against the other best team in the group, the Reds haven’t habitually given a good account of themselves.
Liverpool must check on the fitness of Andy Robertson for the Champions League clash with Napoli on Tuesday night, while Divock Origi has been ruled out.
Robertson – who was part of the Reds’ 20-man travelling squad – sustained a knock during the 3-1 win over Newcastle United at the weekend.
The left-back will therefore be assessed before a decision is made on his availability for the Group E tie at Stadio San Paolo.
“Robbo didn’t train today and we have to see,” Jürgen Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com on Monday.
“It is not a major thing, it was more precautionary today, but it is not 100 per cent sure [he will be available]. We will have to test it tomorrow and then we will see.”
Photos: Liverpool's pre-Napoli training session at Melwood
Origi did not make the journey to Italy, however.
The Belgium international picked up an ankle injury against Newcastle and is likely to be out for a short period of time, the manager confirmed.
“The update on Div is that it is not too serious,” said Klopp.
“We expect him [to be out for] between one and two weeks, but it depends a little bit on when he can deal with the pain. It is nothing really; it’s a feeling, but it should be fine.”
Alisson Becker and Nathaniel Clyne remain sidelined.
Roberto Firmino could make the 200th appearance of his Liverpool career.
Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, reported no new injury concerns during his pre-match press conference on Monday, but forward Arkadiusz Milik is yet to feature this season due to a groin issue.
The Napoli boss believes both sides have improved since they met in last year’s group stage, with the Italian telling the media: “We’re playing the best team in Europe and they haven’t dropped any points in the Premier League yet.
“We mustn’t alter the way we play, regardless of the team I pick. Of course you have to keep the opposition in mind and the defensive side is very important but if you want to win matches you have to impose your game by playing to the strengths of your players.
“Liverpool have improved because winning the Champions League gives you belief. Napoli have improved too, though, and we’ve bolstered our squad with the addition of some quality players. I think it will be a great game – hard fought and intense.”
Last time out
Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria (September 14): Meret, Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui, Ruiz, Elmas, Zielinski, Callejon, Lozano, Mertens.
Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United (September 14): Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Origi, Mane.