Wednesday night sees Liverpool travel to the Diego Maradona Stadium to play Napoli in a bid to stop their poor start to the season in a new competition. These two teams have matched up twice in the last four seasons in the group stage and Liverpool will be hoping for a better result than the last three times they were here – where they have only collected one point with an aggregate loss of 3-0.
Napoli have started the season very well and are currently top of the league after five games with 11 points. They are also top scorers in the Serie A and will fancy the prospect of facing a struggling Liverpool side. They also love playing at home in the Champions League, and have only ever lost three of their 21 games, winning 13. They are also unbeaten since April at home, scoring 15 goals in the five games since then. This is a daunting task for the struggling Reds. They are missing Lozano for this game but may be boosted by Victor Osimhen being available. There were initial concerns that the striker had picked up a serious injury after beating Lazio 2-1, but Napoli’s sporting director has suggested that it is just fatigue and the Nigerian will be available for this game.
Liverpool’s struggles have been well documented. They have only won two games out of the six that they’ve played so far and have only picked up two points in their three away games so far. There are many different theories and potential reasonings for this, ranging from the departure of Sadio Mane to Jurgen Klopp’s “seven season curse”, but it will be a cause for concern for Liverpool, who may end up falling even further behind Manchester City and too far to challenge for the title this season. A new competition may be what they need to boost morale around the club right now.
Napoli v Liverpool Bet Builder Tips
Napoli to Win or Draw
Napoli seem a big price on Wednesday night. As mentioned previously, Napoli have a very good home record and are a very tough side to beat at the Diego Maradona Stadium. They only lost five games at home all of last season in the league, many of which against weaker opposition where they rested players. They have only lost 3 of their 23 games at home in the Champions League and have won five of their last six home Champions League games against Premier League opposition. They are however, going to miss Hirving Lozano who was stretchered off at the weekend. Having said that, they do have adequate replacements In Politano or Raspadori.
Liverpool’s midfield injury concerns have been well documented in the media and they have been furthered with the injury of Fabio Carvalho in the Merseyside derby. They will be boosted by the news of Thiago being back in a light fitness session on Tuesday, but he will probably not be risked for this game. New midfielder Arthur however should be available to come in but has still not featured in a game since May 11th, so his fitness is a concern. Napoli’s midfield is strong with Zielinski, Zambo Anguissa and Lobotka, and they could frustrate Liverpool once again.
Salah, Nunez and Diaz have all been relatively ineffective for Liverpool so far this season, and they were shut out again on the weekend as they had a stalemate at Everton. Given that Liverpool’s attack was shut out in both 2018/19 and 2019/20 at Napoli, when it was much stronger, this would suggest that this hostile environment will not be the place where the forwards regain their mojo in front of goal. Napoli to win or draw at 13/5 also provides a value as a line that would have landed in 13 of their 21 home Champions League games, especially if Osimhen is available.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia 1+ Shot on Target
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia signed from Rubin Kazan and so far he looks an inspired signing with four goals already this season. He also managed three in Georgia’s four Nations League games. He has had a limited number of minutes in all his games, playing less than 70 minutes in all five appearances so far. However, he will likely play longer here as a result of Lozano’s head injury on the weekend and Osimhen’s fatigue so should be given more time.
He has had 13 shots and seven shots on target in just 298 minutes, as well as three shots on target at Lazio on the weekend. In a very poor Rubin Kazan side that finished 15th last season, he managed 21 shots on target in 19 league games and didn’t start two of those games. In the 14 games where he played more than 65 minutes, the left winger had a shot on target in nine of those. He is likely to be given less attention by the Liverpool defenders than others such as Osimhen and Zielinski.
A lot has been made of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defending in recent years and the defender looked tired on Saturday before being subbed on 58 minutes. He has allowed shots from the left winger in all his games so far, especially away from home. Bobby Reid of Fulham managed a shot on target against him, Elanga managed a shot in his half, and Rashford managed to score as a left winger for Manchester United. On the weekend Anthony Gordon had two shots, one of which on target. Fulham and Everton especially are much worse teams than Napoli, and Kvaratskhelia should be afforded opportunities. Given his record, 10/11 seems very generous for a shot on target.
Over 3.5 Cards
Italian teams always tend to be good for a card and Napoli are no different. In their five league games so far this season, they have seen 21 cards, and this line has landed in four of them – the only exception being a 4-0 drubbing of Monza. Liverpool have had just 20 cards in their six games, but English refs tend to be a lot more conservatives when it comes to bookings, and Liverpool have seen an increase in their cards this season as opposed to last.
The referee for this game is Carlos del Cerro Grande. The Spanish referee averages 5.48 cards per game across his 38-game career (with stats available) and has shown at least four cards in 76.75% of these matches. This season he has officiated two matches and shown 11 cards already suggesting he won’t hold back. He has only done two Champions League matches before, both of which were last season and saw four or more cards with 12 in total. Given the hostile atmosphere of the Diego Maradona Stadium, as well as how much this game means to both sides given their starts, he should get his cards out a few times in this game.
Virgil van Dijk to have 1+ Shots
Virgil Van Dijk may not be the same player as he was before his injury, but he still manages to pose a constant threat in front of goal. He has managed eight shots in just six games already this season and is a nightmare to deal with from set pieces. Given Joel Matip’s injury, he’s been given even more responsibility at set pieces and the ball has been delivered into him much more. He has managed three shots in his four games against Napoli in his career.
The main opportunity that Van Dijk will be given a chance for a shot is at corners, where Napoli concede an average of 4 per game this season (against far worse teams than Liverpool) and Liverpool average almost 8 per game. Napoli have conceded three shots to centre backs so far this season and given Van Dijk’s imposing stature and threat at set pieces, I fancy him to add to this tally.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
Back the 8/1 Napoli v Liverpool Bet Builder below ⬇️
Haven’t got a Paddy Power account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Paddy Power and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £30 on the 8/1 Napoli v Liverpool Bet Builder. Here are the two possible outcomes:
Or you get your £30 stake back as cash
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets *
Napoli v Liverpool Cheat Sheet
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Napoli v Liverpool in the Champions League
📅 When is Napoli v Liverpool? / Wednesday 7th September 2022, 20:00
🏟 Where is Napoli v Liverpool? / Diego Armando Maradona Stadium (Naples)
📺 What TV channel is Napoli v Liverpool on? / BT Sport 2
🟨 …And who is the referee for Napoli v Liverpool? / Carlos del Cerro Grande 🇪🇸