Liverpool v Napoli: Back Reds to swipe crisis-ridden Italians aside
Liverpool should confirm their place in the Champions League knockout stage and seal top spot in Group E on Wednesday night when Napoli arrive at Anfield, says Mark O'Haire.
Liverpool v Napoli Wednesday November 27, 20:00 BT Sport
Liverpool sneak Selhurst Park win
Jurgen Klopp said he has "no problem that Liverpool weren't brilliant" during their hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Roberto Firmino scored the winner five minutes from time as the Reds maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League after Wilfried Zaha had cancelled out Sadio Mane's 10th goal of the campaign.
Liverpool, who rested Mohamed Salah, have now gone 30 games unbeaten in the Premier League and have dropped only two points in the league all season. But the Merseysiders were far from their slick selves and fortunate to escape Selhurst Park with maximum points when Zaha wasted a great chance late on to score a second equaliser from close range.
Klopp said: "I'm happy with the result and big parts of the performance because I know it's not possible to be brilliant every game." Salah is expected to be restored to the starting XI for Wednesday night's clash with Joe Gomez also pushing for a return in defence. Andy Robertson was fit enough to feature on Saturday and will continue at left-back here.
Napoli in crisis
Napoli were held to a deserved 1-1 draw at Milan on Saturday evening. The Partenopei took the lead against the run of play as Lorenzo Insigne's curler bounced off the crossbar with Hirving Lozano quickest to react, nodding in the rebound. However, Carlo Ancelotti's charges were unable to stand firm and leaked the leveller only five minutes later.
The weekend result - a sixth game without a win - was arguably secondary to events unfolding off the field. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis ordered his squad to a training retreat the week before the international break, but a mutiny against the decision and trouble after the match against RB Salzburg has left players on the end of serious sanctions.
The Napoli hierarchy have ordered a press silence and large fines have begun to be inflicted. De Laurentiis is reportedly freezing salaries, aiming to dock 25%, and sell star names following the well-publicised fall-out. Ancelotti is under intense pressure and could be without injured Arkadiusz Milik, Mario Rui, Faouzi Ghoulam and Kevin Malcuit here.
Flawless Reds difficult to oppose
Liverpool's only defeat in 2019/20 came in the reverse encounter with Napoli back in September. That loss is the Reds' first and only reverse in 24 matches (W20-D3-L1) across all competitions dating back to May's trip to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.
Liverpool1.46 have been flawless at Anfield during Premier League and Champions League duty over their past 16 fixtures. The Merseysiders' unbeaten record here across the two competitions dates back to April 2017 while Jurgen Klopp's troops have returned W17-D4-L0 in front of their home fans during European action under the German's tutorship.
Napoli8.00 have triumphed twice since mid-September (W2-D7-L1) and picked up a solitary point from four fixtures with top-six opposition in Serie A (W0-D1-L3) this season. The Italians did sneak a 3-2 success at Salzburg in their most recent Champions League away day, although the Partenopei had W0-D3-L4 in their previous seven games as guests.
Liverpool to edge goal-laden encounter
Liverpool have kept only two clean sheets in their first 13 Premier League games this season, rewarding Both Teams To Score backers on 11 occasions. Ten of the Reds' 12 league triumphs have come alongside BTTS and a repeat at Anfield could be on the cards on Wednesday night.
Nevertheless, it may pay to take the slightly safer option of Liverpool to win and Over 2.5 Goals at 10/11with Betfair Sportsbook. It's a bet that's landed in all bar one of the Reds' 14 victories across the Premier League and Europe this term, and also allows for a complete no-show from a beleaguered Napoli outfit that are unlikely to be in the right head-space.