By 90Min
September 17, 2019

Liverpool had three-and-a-half months to sit back and bask in the glory of their Champions League glory, but now the hard work starts all over again.

The Reds' defence of Europe's top club prize starts in Naples against Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli, a side who were one of four to get a victory over Jurgen Klopp's men in Europe in 2018/19.

A late Lorenzo Insigne finish condemned Liverpool in last year's group stages, while defeats to PSG and Red Star put the eventual winners on the brink by the final gameweek.

Fortunately, a delicious Mohamed Salah solo effort and that point-blank stop from Alisson Becker saw the Reds triumph 1-0 on the night and progress to the last 16 at Napoli's expense. The rest, as they say, is history.

Less than 12 months on and here we are again but as kick-off approaches, how much do you know about the game?

Want some lucky omens to help predict the winner, some betting advice, or just stats to impress your mates down the pub with your anorak-ian knowledge? Well, with a little help from Opta, we've got you covered...

Drawing Blanks

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Despite their famous attacking prowess, Liverpool didn’t attempt one single shot on target in their group stage defeat away at Napoli last October. This is the only time in their last 74 games in the competition that they didn't at least test the keeper.

It's a low bar to improve on.

All Guns Blazing

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Having said that, over the last two Champions League campaigns, Liverpool have scored more goals (65) and won more games (15) than any other side in the competition. Not surprising really since they made to the final in both years.

Curse of the English

Napoli have won just one of their last six European meetings with English clubs. However, that one victory was, of course, over Liverpool last year. Grazie Insigne.

In general, English clubs have won the last seven successive games in European competition against Italian clubs (including qualifiers) – their longest such run ever.

Good Omens

In more positive news for Liverpool, the reigning Champions League champions have not lost their opening game the following season since way back in 1994/95 when AC Milan lost to Ajax.

Key Men

Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

For Napoli and Liverpool, their goal threats are pretty obvious. 35% of the 55 goals scored by Napoli in the UEFA Champions League have been scored by either Dries Mertens (10) or Lorenzo Insigne (9). Stop those two and Liverpool have a big chance.

Meanwhile, since the start of 2017/18, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has been involved in 22 goals in 25 Champions League appearances (14 goals, eight assists) - more than any other player for the club in this period.

As for Sadio Mané, he has scored 14 goals in 24 Champions League outings. Should he score against Napoli, he’ll equal Didier Drogba’s record of being the quickest African to bag 15 goals in Europe's top competition.

For more pre-match content see here for our full match previewcombined XI and predicted lineup.

You May Like