Liverpool vs Napoli prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Napoli
Liverpool come into the final matchday of their Champions’ League group knowing that a win of 1-0 or by 2 clear goals will be enough to see them in the draw for the knockout stages.
Any other result, and they start needing a favour from Red Star Belgrade against PSG. Reds fans would be right in thinking this feels a lot like Olympiakos in 2004/05. Although, they will be aware that they’ve been knocked out at this stage in 2 of their last 3 campaigns.
For Napoli, a point would be enough to see them through. Or any defeat by 1 goal where they also get on the scoresheet. They could also conceivably lose this game by any score and still go through should PSG fail to get the job done in Belgrade.
These two sides have only met once in European competition history at Anfield. Back in 2010, Steven Gerrard came off the bench to save Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool from defeat. He turned around the score-line from 0-1 to 3-1 with a 13 minute hat-trick.
A similar score-line would be enough to see Liverpool through to the knockout stages. Although they will be hoping they are not needing 2 goals in the 87th minute once more.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Who will win?
Liverpool are unbeaten in 18 successive European matches at Anfield. They have 13 wins and 5 draws during this undefeated run. They are bookies favourites to make it 14 wins from 19 here, with odds of 4/7.
Napoli have drawn 3 of their 5 Champions’ League group games so far this season. This includes both of their away games in Paris & Belgrade. If you think they can complete the set with a draw at Anfield, odds of 7/2 are available.
Napoli haven’t won any of their last six Champions League away matches. However, they enjoyed a 1-0 win over Liverpool on matchday 2 of the group in Naples. If you believe they can repeat the feat once more, odds of 15/4 are available.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Who will score?
Mohamed Salah comes into the game on the back of scoring a hat-trick at the weekend. He has scored 8 goals in as many matches in the Champions League at Anfield.
Liverpool have won 4 and scored 3 penalties in the Champions League this season; more than any other side. Odds of Milner adding to his 2 goals this season, both penalties, are 3/1; 11/1 as first scorer.
Roberto Firmino’s 2 Champions League goals this season are accredited as being the winning goals in both home games this season.
Dries Mertens has 10 goals in total in the Champions League making him the highest Belgian goal-scorer in the competition. If you think he can extend his tally on Tuesday, odds of 7/4 are available; 13/2 to score first.
Lorenzo Insigne grabbed a late winner when these two sides met on matchday 2 in Naples. He has 3 goals in the competition so far this season. If you think he can break Reds hearts once more here, odds of 7/1 are available as first scorer; 15/8 at any time.
Liverpool vs Napoli: Match preview
When these two sides met in Naples, Liverpool failed to register even a single shot on target. In a game that Liverpool need to focus on winning, and likely scoring at least twice, that will need to change on Tuesday.
Reds fans will feel a lot has changed since then. Klopp seems to have abandoned the idea of the Milner-Henderson-Gini trio as serviceable in big games. Their dismantling by PSG in the last round of games seemed to loudly hammer this point home.
Looking at the above graph, we can see that both sides are making less defensive actions in their opponents half since they started the season. This has had little impact on Liverpool’s defensive numbers. However, maybe it will help them to have more in the tank over the busy Christmas schedule and also towards the end of the season.
Let’s Focus on Napoli
With Napoli, we are seeing a clear downward trend since the start of the season in the number of goals being conceded. This is perhaps the side leaving fewer spaces at the back due to pressing less. Or even just a general improvement in the side as they adapt to Carlos Ancelotti’s tactics.
When we break the goals they have conceded down into a game-by-game basis, we can see that they have not kept many clean sheets this season. The ones they did keep tended to be against sides with attacking talent much inferior to that which they will face on Tuesday.
Ones to Watch
So who are the danger men for the two sides? Well, as you can see here, Salah is the standout player on the pitch in terms of end product. Shaqiri, Firmino & Mané should also be expected to ask questions of the Napoli backline.
However, Napoli have a core of key men for them who are all capable of posing a threat to Liverpool in Insigne, Mertens, Milik, Callejón & Ruiz.
Naby Keita may be the surprise key man though. He was the best player on the pitch by some distance recently against Burnley. He is both extremely press-resistant in midfield and adept at picking open a packed defence. He was also a key player for the Leipzig side who travelled to Naples and won 1-3 back in February eliminating Napoli from the Europa League.
No matter where we look, 3-1 seemed to be repeating throughout this article. Whether it’s 3-1 against Olympiakos in 2004. Or the 3-1 win at Anfield in 2010 for Napoli’s only competitive visit here. Or even the 1-3 win Keita’s Leipzig picked up last season.
It just seems like it is destined to be. 3-1 to Liverpool.
Liverpool team news vs Napoli
Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to come in for James Milner at right full back.
Jordan Henderson may also be in line to start if Klopp decides to rotate his midfield options.
Sadio Mané is also in contention for a starting spot having recovered from a gash to his foot.
Dominic Solanke has now returned to full training following his groin injury. Although, he isn’t expected to take part in this match.
Dejan Lovren has been absent recently due to a concussion. He was still not able to play against Burnley or Bournemouth, but is expected to make the bench at least here.
Joe Gomez won’t been seen in action again until the New Year. He has been ruled for at least 6 weeks due to a lower leg/ankle fracture.
Rhian Brewster & Nathaniel Clyne will also miss out due to fitness/injury.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is Liverpool’s only other long term injury concern at the moment. He is unlikely to feature this season.
Napoli team news vs Liverpool
Faouzi Ghoulam played his last game for Napoli in October 2017, since when he has been out with a fractured knee cap & ligament injury. He made a successful return at the weekend as one of their star performers, with 2 assists. Is he ready for a game of this magnitude though?
Alex Meret, who was signed in the summer to replace Pepe Reina, also made a successful return from injury at the weekend. He broke his arm in pre-season and had yet to feature in competitive action for them. Napoli have been rotating goalkeepers in his absence between David Ospina & Orestis Karnezis. Although Ospina has been first choice for Champions League matches so far.
Simone Verdi (Muscle Injury) and Vlad Chiriches (Cruciate Ligament Rupture) look to be the only remaining long term injury concerns for Napoli. Neither will be seen in action until towards the end of the campaign, at the earliest.
Predicted Liverpool team vs Napoli
Predicted Napoli team vs Liverpool
The latest tweets from Liverpool pre Napoli
That save. 😱
That counter-attack. ⚡️
Alisson ➡️ Sturridge ➡️ Salah ➡️ Shaqiri ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/OHTy81xUqq
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) December 9, 2018
"OHHHHHH WHAT A HAT-TRICK!!!" 😱
🎙 You're in for a treat with our latest Match In A Minute 👇 pic.twitter.com/kHbvtEqCRL
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) December 8, 2018
The latest tweets from Napoli pre Liverpool
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) December 9, 2018
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) December 8, 2018
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.