The Reds are on their dream run in the Premier League. But that doesn’t take away the fact that they want to win the Champions League too. The current runners-up of the Champions League will be visiting San Paolo Stadium to face Napoli.
The draw and defeat against Chelsea may be a warning bell to Jurgen Klopp’s team who Otherwise had a perfect run in this year’s Campaign. A victory against Napoli will seal their spot as Group C toppers which could avoid other group toppers in Round of 16. Napoli had rejuvenated themselves after the appointment Carlo Ancelotti.
The front-three Mane, Firmino and Salah of Liverpool will remain untouched. Klopp hinted that he will ease Sturridge into playing XI soon. Xherdan Shaqiri will be another attacker on the bench.
Klopp would have loved to rest anyone of his midfielders in this mid-week fixture. Given the opposition’s strength, he will start the most preferred trio of Henderson, Milner, and Wijnaldum. Naby Keita will start from the bench.
Unlike the recent years, Liverpool defense had improved this season. The four-man tag team of Van Dijk, Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will be once again given the task guarding their lines. Alisson Becker will handle the gloves for Liverpool.
Alisson Becker; Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino and Mane.
The defeat against Juventus may not slow-down the Serie A runners-up. Predicting the Napoli first-eleven is the most daunting task ever since Carlo Ancelotti took charge in San Paolo. The Napoli manager is playing musical chair by changing the formation four times in his eight matches in-charge. So, I am going with his recently used 4-4-2 system used against Juventus. The 4-4-2 system will give more control to Napoli against high-pressure game played by Liverpool.
Ancelotti will have the biggest dilemma in choosing his front-two. He will have to select any two of Dries Mertens, Arkadiusz Milik, and Lorenzo Insigne. With Insigne in scintillating form, Ancelotti will partner either one of Mertnes and Milik with him.
Hamsik, Allan, Callejon, and Zielinski will operate the midfield. Ironically, Zielinski is a transfer target for Liverpool.
Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj and Rui will protect the Napoli post. While Ospina will stand guard for the sticks.
Ospina; Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj, Rui; Hamsik, Allan, Callejon, Zielinski; Mertens and Insigne.