Liverpool will be hoping for another of their famous European nights, as Group C leaders Napoli come to Anfield on Tuesday night. It's a do-or-die final group game in the Champions League.
Jürgen Klopp's men will be desperate to win to secure progression, and they'll need to do it by a 1-0 scoreline, or by two clear goals, such are the complexities of the permutations this time round.
In their last European action, Liverpool lost 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain; marking the first time they have lost three consecutive away games in the group stage.
Group C is still wide open, as two of Liverpool, Napoli, and Paris Saint-Germain can all still make to through to the Round of 16.
Check out 90min's preview of Tuesday's Champions League showdown.
How to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Tuesday 11 December 2018|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||Anfield|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
|Referee?||Damir Skomina (Slovenia)|
Champions League Group C Scenarios
Group C is a little bit complicated, so it's worth taking a look at what the possible scenarios and outcomes could be, depending on what happens on Tuesday night. From the top down:
- Napoli go through with a win or a draw against Liverpool, or if PSG lose.
- PSG go through with a win against Red Star, or if Liverpool lose.
- Liverpool go through as group winners with a 1-0 win, or a win by two or more clear goals against Napoli.
- - OR -
- Liverpool go through with a win against Napoli and if PSG draw or lose against Red Star.
- Liverpool will finish third and enter the Europa League if Red Star lose and they draw, or fail to win by 1-0 or two clear goals.
- Red Star will finish third and enter the Europa League if they beat PSG and Liverpool lose.
The Reds only have two fit senior centre backs in Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip. Dejan Lovren missed out against Bournemouth due to a concussion picked up in training, but should be fit for Tuesday's match.
Liverpool's defensive injuries are starting to mount up, and they are lacking reinforcements for their backline. Even forgotten-man Nathaniel Clyne is out for two weeks and not in training.
Sadio Mané seems to have shaken off the cut to his foot, after coming on as a second half substitute against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Napoli have no new injury concerns and Carlo Ancelotti will be able to field his strongest starting line-up. Faouzi Ghoulam returned from long-term injury against Frosinone, and could start at left-back on Tuesday.
Though they remain without Simone Verdi on the right wing (muscle) and ex-Spurs centre-back Vlad Chiriches (cruciate ligament rupture).
|Liverpool:||Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Keïta, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané|
|Napoli:||Ospina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Callejón, Allan, Hamšík, Zielinski; Insigne, Mertens|
In recent memory, Liverpool and Napoli have only faced each other four times (and one of those was a pre-season friendly this year, in which Liverpool emerged 5-0 winners).
Away at Stadio San Paolo in early October, Liverpool were deservedly beaten 1-0 by I Partenopei thanks to a last minute goal by Lorenzo Insigne.
Previously, these two sides have only met in the Europa League in 2010: a 0-0 draw in Naples, followed by a 3-1 win for the Reds at Anfield.
The only other element of head-to-head might be Ancelotti vs. Liverpool, as he remembers his time with Chelsea and, of course, as Milan boss losing at Istanbul in 2005 and winning the 2007 Champions League final against the Reds.
Despite struggling in Europe, Liverpool's league form is far more encouraging, with three wins since their loss in Paris at the end of November.
Beating Bournemouth 4-0 at the weekend will definitely have put the wind in their sails, with a further gust blustered by Mohamed Salah's hat-trick.
Napoli also come into this one with their tails up, having dismantled lowly Frosinone in a 4-0 win at home to stay second in Serie A. In fact, they've lost just twice all season: a freak 3-0 loss away to Sampdoria at the start of the season, and losing 3-1 to Juventus after going down to ten men.
With both teams scoring four and coasting, it remains to be seen whether either side can weather the storm of Tuesday night.
Here's how both teams have fared in their last five fixtures:
|Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool (08/12)||Napoli 4-0 Frosinone (08/12)|
|Burnley 1-3 Liverpool (05/12)||Atalanta 1-2 Napoli (03/12)|
|Liverpool 1-0 Everton (02/12)||Napoli 3-1 Red Star Belgrade (28/11)|
|PSG 2-1 Liverpool (28/11)||Napoli 0-0 Chievo (25/11)|
|Watford 0-3 Liverpool (24/11)||Genoa 1-2 Napoli (10/11)|
Both Liverpool and Napoli are simultaneously peaking in form as they prepare for Tuesday. Liverpool will feel that things have finally fallen into place, having been waiting for the attacking elements of the team to click.
Meanwhile, Napoli have established themselves as Juventus' closest challengers in Serie A, and remain unbeaten in Europe this season.
Knowing what Liverpool need to do to advance in the Champions League, Ancelotti will set-up defensively and try to hit them on the counter using the pace and trickery of Insigne and Mertens.
But with Liverpool finally finding their attacking flair, and now that their midfield seems to be performing, the smart money would be with the Reds.
Liverpool know that only a 1-0 result, or a win by two goals or more will be enough to see them keep their Champions League campaign alive. Based on previous European campaigns under Klopp, it will be yet another famous European night at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Napoli