Napoli vs Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s Faltering Side Set for Champions League Heartache

Football players from Napoli and Liverpool staying next to each other

Wednesday 7th September - 20:00

For all the plaudits Liverpool received last season for their ultimately unsuccessful shot at landing an unthinkable quadruple, it appears that both the physical excesses of that failed effort, as well as the mental fatigue that comes with it, has hit Jurgen Klopp’s side pretty hard.

Liverpool played a massive 63 games last season, and incredibly they only lost four, but they ended up with just FA and EFL Cup trophies to show for it. 

Whilst that would be considered a big success for most sides, and even the Merseyside club, the fact that Klopp’s men came so close to winning both the Premier and Champions League, means that the players and fans would have felt underwhelmed with the trophy haul at the end of 2021-22. 

Stuttering Start

On the face of it, the six fixtures Liverpool started their season with are those you’d expect them to secure a better return than they’ve managed. Indeed the selection of games they started would have led to a great deal of Premier League betting interest on the Merseyside team, but things haven’t worked as Klopp would have hoped. 

Their latest performance, away at local rivals Everton, was a case in point. Though the home side dug in and battled hard, you would still expect Klopp’s side to have too much for the Toffees, but in the end, the result was a fair one, and arguably Frank Lampard’s side could have won it.

Mohamed Salah barely got a look in, and new signing Darwin Nunez is still adjusting to life in the Premier League. At the back, Virgil van Dijk has actually shown signs of complacency, and in the middle of the park, Liverpool have suffered horrendously with injuries.

Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are all out, and that led to the loaning in of Juventus start Arthur Melo, which should help the club with much-needed depth, but all in all, this Liverpool side is in need of a break and looks haggard even though the new season has only really just got started.

Their nine-point haul from six games is way below what Klopp will expect, and he knows how to marshall his troops for the big matches but may find the trip to Naples to be a very tricky one indeed.

Napoli Flying High

In marked contrast to the fortunes of their opposition, Luciano Spalletti’s side are very much on a roll. Last season Napoli’s title push fell away with a couple of months left of the campaign, but that hasn’t stopped them from starting this one like a runaway train.

After five games, they sit on top of the pile and are unbeaten and look fresh and ready to make an impact in this season’s Champions League. Their latest win, a comeback triumph from a potentially awkward away fixture at Lazio, is further proof that Spalletti is moving the club in the right direction.

Chief among those to have made a great start to the season is new signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, an understated signing from Dinamo Batumi who has bagged four Serie A goals in four starts. Meanwhile, Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen, who was constantly linked with a summer exit, is also firing on all cylinders, and Napoli will feel they can more than match Liverpool in their Champions League opener.

Best Bets

Back Napoli to Defeat Liverpool - 16/5

The 16/5 offered on Napoli to beat Liverpool, from Grosvenor Sports, is a decent bet to place given the respective standings of the two teams ahead of this midweek encounter. History buffs and those who like to dwell on previous meetings should note that on the three occasions Naples has played host to the Reds, the Italian side have won twice and drawn once and never conceded a goal.

Some fans may point out that Liverpool managed to win all six of their group-stage matches last season, but it’s clear that this team isn’t quite on the same footing as in 2021/22, not yet, at least.