Liverpool have still got one last chance to qualify from the Champions League group stage.
Serie A side Napoli arrive at Anfield tonight knowing that they will progress at the expense of their hosts as long as they avoid defeat – or even if they lose 2-1 or by similar scorelines thanks to the complex permutations. Their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has played down the task that faces his men and recently said that an away day against Atalanta would be more of a challenge for them. But is he right?
Liverpool may well have been poor away from home so far in the competition, with three defeats on their travels, but Paris Saint Germain and Red Star Belgrade have both been beaten at Anfield and manager Jurgen Klopp will he hoping to make it three from three to ensure his side progresses to the knockout phase. He will he keen to go one better than last season – when his team went all the way to the final in Kiev, where they were defeated by Real Madrid.
Napoli are unbeaten so far in the group and beat Liverpool thanks to a 1-0 victory in Italy earlier on in the season – which was snatched thanks to a very late goal by Lorenzo Insigne. The Reds put in a very underwhelming performance that night and are expected to rise to the occasion in front of a roaring atmosphere at Anfield tonight.
Anfield is famous for providing colourful and loud backdrops for European nights under the lights and the supporters will be expected to provide nothing less when the gates open ahead of kick-off. Banners, scarves and flags will be unfurled to help give the players the extra lift they can always depend on as they look to claim the priceless win to qualify for the last sixteen.
The attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will be expected to fire Liverpool on with the backing behind them from the likes of Andrew Robertson, Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker. Klopp has built a strong squad which should be getting to the latter stages of this competition and would represent failure should they not make it out this group – despite having to face the quality of Paris Saint Germain and Napoli.
There has been plenty of speculation that the German will select a midfield field comprising Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum – which has been met with mixed responses by fans. But those who are unhappy with the prospect of the trio starting tonight should look back to the visit of Roma in the semi-final first leg last season. Wijnaldum came off the bench after just over fifteen minutes to replace the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the Reds won 5-2.
If you think that Klopp will get his team over the line and into the next round, you can bet on Liverpool with winningsportsbets.co.uk and make a few quid should they pull of another great escape in European competition at Anfield. Should any fans or the players themselves need any inspiration or motivation for the game, they need look no further than the last group phase game in 2005 against Olympiakos. Liverpool needed to win that game by two clear goals and went behind shortly before the break when Rivaldo scored a free-kick. But three goals, including a Steven Gerrard thunderbolt, won it for Rafa Benitez’s side and they famously went on to win the competition that season.
Who would bet against that happening again this season if Liverpool get through the game tonight?