More than three months after the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid, it’s time again! The most important European club competition starts with the group stage in a new edition. The defending champion from Liverpool gives himself the honor on Tuesday evening. Needed is the team of coach Jürgen Klopp then just the SSC Naples.
Rarely was the term “just” more appropriate than before this top duel in Group E, because against the Italian top club for the “Reds” last season in the premier class had almost come to an early end. If the English had not won their home game against the Ancelotti team in December 2018, they would have been eliminated sensationally in the preliminary round.
Fortunately – from the point of view of the LFC – Mo Salah paved with his goal in the first half not only the way into the second round, but also for the first European Cup triumph since 2004. The Neapolitans, which would have been a draw in the said match, had the bitter leap into the Europa League and failed there in the quarterfinals at Arsenal FC.
In the run-off to the new champions league season between Naples and Liverpool, they will be offered lower odds against the reigning champions.
Based on the favorite role is primarily in the previous performances of Klopp protégés. In the Premier League, the “Reds” rush from victory to victory, and convince above all with a lively offensive, which has always been able to score at least two goals.
Although in the previous year both matches ended in the preliminary round with the scarcest of all possible wins (each 1-0 for the home team). Referee of the highly anticipated match at the Stadio San Paolo is the German Felix Brych. The kick-off will take place at 20:00 .
Napoli’s Società Sportiva Calcio has established itself as an integral part of the UEFA Champions League in recent years. For the sixth time in the past nine years, the “Azzurri” have made the leap into the group stage. However, it never went beyond the last sixteen.
Worse still: in fact only in two of the previous five cases, the “Partenopei” could survive the preliminary round and move into the knockout stage. Last year, the team of former Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti failed in the death group to Paris St. Germain and Liverpool FC. However, the odds on paper are pretty good this season.
In addition to the English runner from the Merseyside the southern Italians are the best prospects for jumping into the next round. The task will be to leave Red Bull Salzburg and the Belgian outsider Genk behind. Experience has shown that light blue people need concentrated performances in front of their home backdrops.
For example, in 2018/2019, the Neapolitans collected seven of their nine points in front of their own fans. Nevertheless, only four of the nine recent Champions League home games have been victorious (three defeats, two draws). Napoli is also dependent on good home results, as the statistics show that all four successes from the last twelve matches in the premier class at the Stadio San Paolo have been retracted.
Accordingly, the group stage opener on Tuesday night for Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Co. already has an important character. If, as in the previous year, a home win against the “Reds” succeeds, the “Tifosi” could emerge from a strengthened position to take on further group games.
To be able to dream of three points against the defending champion, but it requires an increase compared to the first three games in Serie A, in which the team of coach Carlo Ancelotti revealed in particular defensively unsuspected weaknesses. Both in the 4: 3 victory in Florence and a week later in the tight 3: 4 defeat at the “Old Lady” in Turin keeper Meret had to grab three times behind each.
It was not until last weekend when the 2-0 win against Sampdoria was the first time the “white vest” was maintained, even though the guests from Genoa also scored almost ten goals, but did not show the necessary effectiveness.
But since it can be assumed that self-confident Englishmen represent a completely different caliber and the not so solid-looking SSC defense will always cause problems, we think it is quite possible that between Naples and Liverpool, the odds on at least three hits paid, especially since the Italians themselves also have the quality to score goals.
The last home game, in which the “Azzurri” remained without their own goal, dating from April 18, 2019. At that time, the Neapolitans lost in the Europa League quarter-final against Arsenal 0-1. However, it was the only one of six European Cup games in 2018/2019 on the home green, in which the kicker from the foot of Vesuvius refused to celebrate a goal.
Due to injury, the fourth-placed Italian Serie A will continue to miss the Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik. The 25-year-old is suffering from a groin injury, which forces him to a still unspecified break. Otherwise, all top performers are on board, including Lorenzo Insigne, who returns slowly to full fitness after injury and further enriches the already strong offensive.
For Liverpool Football Club, things could not get any better at this early stage of the season. In the Premier League, the “Reds” celebrated five wins on the first five matchdays, thereby immediately creating a small cushion on reigning champions Manchester City, who are already five points behind in second place.
The incentive and greed to present the championship trophy to Anfield’s own fans for the first time in 30 years (most recently in 1990) drives the collective with coach Jürgen Klopp at the top, day after day, week after week and game by game. In the current constitution, it is hard to imagine that the LFC can not reach the target this season.
At the weekend, the Reds celebrated in front of home crowd against Newcastle a 3-1 win, which once again underlined the demonstrated footballing dominance. With the exception of the 2-1 victory in Southampton, in which the first goal fell in the final stages, the Klopp team has so far won all Premier League matches with at least two goals difference.
The German-Austrian coaching duel with Ralph Hasenhüttl has also been the only match in the probably strongest football league in the world, in which last year’s runner-up marked fewer than three of their own goals.
Incidentally, potential Liverpool doubters will primarily base their skepticism on the away record of the “Reds”. In the last season lost the current Premier League leader namely, all three guest appearances in the group stage.
Only thanks to three home victories reached the eventual titleholder ever the knockout stage. After all, the English then stingy with goals and scored alone in Munich (3: 1) and in Porto (4: 1) seven goals in 180 minutes away.
In the current season fell in the five official competitive matches also always at least three goals. Before the duel Naples vs. Liverpool is a corresponding prognosis on many hits therefore definitely obvious.
Anyone wishing to bet on the outcome on Tuesday night should remember that the Beatles City team have lost six of its last ten UEFA games outside of England, including their recent two encounters in Italy.
Despite the top form and undeniable quality, Naples’ and Liverpool’s odds of away wins in our eyes are not really promising, especially as there are no decisions at this stage of the Champions League preliminary and potential title contenders, if any, hard to do at this early stage.
Personnel Jürgen Klopp must continue to renounce Nathaniel Clyne, Naby Keita and goalkeeper Alisson Becker. The Brazilian backing is – as in the league or in the European Supercup – represented by Adrian. A question mark is also behind the use of Divock Origi. The “Trio Infernale” on offense (Salah, Firmino, Mane) will storm from the beginning.