Liverpool travel to Napoli in defence of Champions League trophy


Liverpool will begin to defend their title as European Champions at Italian side Napoli on Tuesday evening.

The Premier League leaders have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the 2019-20 campaign, winning all five of their fixtures in the top-flight so far.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have an early lead of five points over their nearest rivals, Manchester City, but concentrations on Tuesday turn towards defending their Champions League title.

Napoli, meanwhile, sit three points behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan. Managed by Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian side have won their only home fixture of the season so far – a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria.

Team news

Liverpool will remain without goalkeeper Alisson Becker (calf) and Naby Keita (groin). Divock Origi (ankle) was substituted from the 3-1 win over Newcastle United due to injury and is unlikely to feature, as is Nathaniel Clyne (knee).

Carlo Ancelotti has had to work with a depleted squad so far this term. Arkadiusz Milik missed both of Napoli’s opening games; Lorenzo Insigne, who scored the 90th-minute winner in this fixture in Italy last season, has returned to his best fitness levels.

One familiar face for Liverpool will also be Fernando Llorente. The former Spurs man signed for Napoli from the London-based club on a free transfer in the summer after his contract at the Champions League runners-up expired.

From the dug-outs:

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Italy, Jurgen Klopp said:

“I’ve never had this situation, where I went somewhere as a ‘reigning champion’ [in Europe], so I don’t know, I have no idea, but I can believe Napoli will be really motivated – and not because we were champions last year.

“They are a really strong side. They’re also the only team we have to be concerned about right now because it’s our next opponent – and we know they are of the highest quality and it will be a tough one for us.”

In contrast, Napoli boss Ancelotti said:

“Liverpool have grown because last season gave them so much awareness.

“On the other hand, we’ve also grown because we’ve added more quality to their squad.

“It’ll be a hard-fought match as we’ll be facing the best team in Europe. We hope to get the same result as last season.”


Alisson’s absence means that Liverpool will have to put their faith elsewhere should the Reds’ defence come under a similar assault as to that suffered at Anfield, in December, when Klopp’s side narrowly edged past Napoli. Mohammed Salah netted a 34th-minute winner on that night last year.

The two sides have locked jaws five times in the last nine years. Liverpool have won three of those previous meetings, Napoli have won the other two.


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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