Liverpool face a must-win situation to keep their UEFA Champions League hopes alive when they host Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday, 11 December 2018, kick-off at 22h00CAT.
Liverpool’s last UCL outing saw them beaten 2-1 away to French giants Paris Saint-Germain – it was a second successive loss (following on from their surprise 2-0 reverse at the hands of Serbia’s Red Star in early November) and leaves the Reds in third place (six points) on the Group C log.
Napoli are sitting pretty at the top of the table with nine points (one ahead of second-placed PSG) after they beat Red Star 3-1 at Stadio San Paolo in the last matchday. The top three teams in the pool still have a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds, while Red Stars can still make the Europa League, making this game and the simultaneous clash in Belgrade the central focus of Tuesday evening across Europe.
Jurgen Klopp’s men must win to have any chance of progressing, but even that may not be enough: if the Reds fail to better Napoli’s 1-0 victory in the teams’ meeting in Naples in October (which would see then ranked behind the Italians on head-to-head results), and PSG win in Serbia, then only third place will be attainable.
For the Partenopei the equation is very simple: avoid defeat at Anfield and they will advance into the knockout stages. Carlo Ancelotti’s team are unbeaten in the group thus far and will be confident of at least defending that status, if not completing a ‘double’ over the English giants.
The match also promises to set up a Senegalese battle between Liverpool’s forward Sadio Mane and his highly-rated compatriot, centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The defender has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and his performance against one of England’s top teams will be carefully watched by scouts.
Liverpool v Napoli – Head-to-head, European competitions
Matches played 3
Liverpool wins 1
Napoli wins 1
Last five results (Champions League only, most recent first)
Liverpool – LLWLW
Napoli – WDDWD