Liverpool take on Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo later this week, keen to get away from a miserable Premier League campaign that has seen enormous pressure placed on the Liverpool boss. A place at the top of Group K is at stake. The reds won their first game against bottom placed Steaua Bucharest but were lucky to hang on to a 0-0 in Utrecht after being comprehensively outplayed.
This will be the first game between the two clubs. They will meet again on the 4th November at Anfield.
Injuries and Suspensions
Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson will miss the game through injury. Daniel Agger is unwell. Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Lucas Leiva and Raul Meireles have all been left at home by the manager.
Liverpool reached the Europa League semi-finals last year before being knocked out in injury time on away goals after Diego Forlan scored a late goal.
Since then, the reds have changed manager and endured their worst league start in 57 years. Defeat against Blackburn next week will make it the worst opening 9 games in over 110 years. Liverpool were also knocked out of the League Cup by a side in the wrong half of League 2.
The reds dispatched both European part-time opponents in the qualifying stages before entering the group stage. A home 4-1 victory over Steaua Bucharest was the highlight of the season so far, before a disappointing game away in Utrecht that ended 0-0.
Napoli have had a solid start to their season. They currently lie in 4th place after 7 games, with 3 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat to their name.
In the Europa League they have drawn both games so far. A 0-0 at home to Utrecht, and a 3-3 away draw in Bucharest.
Liverpool –(from) Reina, Jones, Hansen, Konchesky, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Wilson, Carragher, Kelly, Spearing, Poulsen, Shelvey, Maxi, Babel, Jovanovic, Pacheco, Eccleston, Cole, Ngog.
Last Europa League starting XI – Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kelly, Skrtel, Meireles, Cole, Leiva, Poulsen, Torres, Kuyt: Bench: Jones, Kyrgiakos, Rodriguez, Spearing, Jovanovic, Babel
Napoli: Last Europa League game: De Sanctis; Santacroce , Cribari, Grava; Maggio, Gargano, Yebda, Vitale; Zuniga, Sosa; Cavani
Napoli have only lost once in 9 competitive games so far this season. The reds haven’t won in the last 6 games. Liverpool’s brand of defensive counter-attack football may favour them if Napoli decide to go all guns blazing. Notably the reds have been leaking goals from all areas of the pitch and the result of this game is likely to depend on the accuracy of Napoli’s forwards. We’ll remain optimistic and go for a draw.
Napoli 0-0 Liverpool
Napoli are favourites to win the game at 5/4. Liverpool are outsiders at 12/5. The draw can be found at 11/5.
You can get 7/1 on the game ending 0-0.
TV and Online
The match will be broadcast on ITV4 in the UK. Further information is available in the forum