Napoli got back on track, sweeping Livorno aside 4-0 at the Stadio San Paolo.
Rafa Benitez lost his unbeaten record with a 2-0 Champions League mauling by Arsenal on Tuesday, plus confidence was further dented by losing Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Christian Maggio to injury. Dries Mertens and Federico Fernandez received rare starts. Livorno were fuming after their four-match positive streak was ended by a controversial penalty in Verona, while Marco Biagianti and Ruben Botta missed out.
Livorno haven’t conquered Naples in over 70 years, last tasting victory in December 1940.
It took just three minutes to break the deadlock, as Mertens sparked a counter-attack and his through ball found Goran Pandev for an angled drive across Francesco Bardi. It was his seventh career goal past Livorno.
The Amaranto fought back with Pasquale Schiattarella bursting into the box and Innocent Emeghara pouncing on the rebound, but Giandomenico Mesto threw himself at the Swiss-Nigerian striker to block.
Moments later Pandev threatened a second goal, skipping past Leandro Rinaudo to fire over the bar.
Gokhan Inler scored with help from Italy Under-21 goalkeeper Bardi, who got his hands to the long-range strike, but let it bounce up over him into the net. It was another assist from Belgian international Mertens.
Emeghara thought he had put Livorno back in the game with a stunning volley on the stroke of half-time, but it beat Pepe Reina only to smack against the woodwork.
Jose Maria Callejon had been relatively quiet during the game, but added a third goal when he was sent through by a Pandev assist and his low drive might’ve taken a slight deflection to wrong-foot Bardi at the near bottom corner.
Bardi kept the scoreline down with a spectacular save on the Mertens curling free kick and Inler smacked one of his long-range classics on to the woodwork.
However, Bardi could only parry a Lorenzo Insigne attempt into the path of Marek Hamsik for the fourth goal.