Napoli arrive at Anfield on Tuesday looking to consolidate their progression into the next round of the Champions League and eliminate Liverpool from the competition altogether. Former Reds and Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has offered his advice on the epic encounter.
The Newcastle manager, who has been at the helm of both clubs in a distinguished managerial career, has identified three players who Jurgen Klopp needs to be weary of if Liverpool want to continue their Champions League dream.
"It will be a fantastic atmosphere at Anfield - it always is - and Champions League nights are even better, so it will be difficult for Napoli," said Benitez, as quoted by the Express.
"But Carlo Ancelotti has experience of operating at this level. And he has players such as defender Raul Albiol, wingers Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens, playmaker Marek Hamsik and striker Lorenzo Insigne who will not be worried about any noise.
"However, it's also a difficult game for Liverpool. Napoli are playing well in Serie A. Under Ancelotti, the players are comfortable in different systems.
Teams into the last-16 of the #UCL— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) November 28, 2018
🏴 Manchester United
🏴 Manchester City
🇪🇸 Real Madrid
🇩🇪 Bayern Munich
Only 4 places remain in 3 Groups.
"For me, one key could be the counter-attack. Liverpool will be on the front foot from the beginning and Mertens, Insigne or Callejon are tricky customers with their movement and pace."
Liverpool need to win 1-0 or, if they concede, win by a two goal margin to guarantee a place in the knockout stages against a tough Napoli opposition who sit top of Group C and second in Serie A under Ancelotti.
"Both teams need to win which makes it even more interesting," said Benitez who spent two seasons at the Italian club before joining Real Madrid in 2015.
"But Napoli will know what it means. In my first season there we won 12 points, yes 12, and didn't go through.
"It was the first time a team with that number of points hadn't qualified and I can still remember the faces after the last game.
"It was hard to take. And a lot of those players are still there. They will know what it means.
Benitez, who UEFA Champions League title and the FA Cup to Anfield, also spoke of Liverpool's chances of clinching some much needed silverware under the German boss.
"Liverpool have the potential to win trophies - and I honestly think they will. When that will be in the future, I don't know but they have years ahead of them," said the current Newcastle manager.
As they so often are, a magical Champions League encounter awaits Anfield on Tuesday night with both teams vying for the all-important win to cement their place in the knockout stages of the competition.