If Napoli defend in the Champions League as they did against Sampdoria, one dreads to think what attacking powerhouses like Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool will do to them.
There is little sugar-coating what is one of the toughest groups in the competition this year, with Coach Carlo Ancelotti conceding they are up against two of the favourites to win the cup.
What we can say about all three of those teams (adding Red Star Belgrade), is that they top their respective leagues and are yet to drop any points.
Liverpool have only strengthened since losing the Champions League final, replacing the ‘keeper who arguably cost them the trophy with Alisson Becker from Roma and bolstering their midfield with Naby Keita and Fabinho.
The last time these two met was only a month ago. Sure it was a friendly, but a 5-0 drubbing days before the start of the season is hardly encouraging. In the two competitive fixtures they have played, two Europa League group stage games in 2010, Napoli drew at home but lost 3-1 at Anfield.
This year they play Liverpool directly after Juventus in the fixture list, though Jurgen Klopp has his own headaches, as it is sandwiched between Premier League games against Chelsea and Manchester City.
While Liverpool have bolstered in defence, it is their front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino that strike fear.
An equally potent attacking trio is that of Paris Saint-Germain. It is doubtful this was the kind of reunion Napoli fans hoped for with Edinson Cavani, and even less welcome will be the sight of his strike partners Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé.
PSG also exited the competition at the hands of eventual winners Real Madrid at the Round of 16, but under the stewardship of new manager Thomas Tuchel will be looking to go all the way this time. Their only meeting came in 2014, a 2-1 friendly loss.
Once upon a time Crvena Zvezda, commonly known as Red Star Belgrade, had the potential to blow most teams away and were 1991 European Cup winners. This is their first appearance in Europe’s premier competition since the format was changed.
What they may now lack in talent, they make up for in fear factor, particularly at home where any Google of their fans returns pictures of either stands ablaze with flares or clashes with riot police. They can intimidate.
As can Napoli. No-one will be looking at the Serie A runners-up as pushovers, and can beat anyone on their day. But it has never quite clicked for them in Europe.
They have qualified for the Champions League five times in the last seven seasons, but never made it further than the Round of 16.
Last year no sooner had they been knocked out than Maurizio Sarri dropped all pretences that he cared about Europe, fielding a heavily weakened side for their tie against RB Leipzig in the Europa League.
Under Carlo Ancelotti things may be different this year. This is his competition. He won it twice as a player and a further three times managing Milan and Real Madrid.
What may give them further encouragement is that they qualified from an arguably tougher group in 2011-12. Pitted against Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Villarreal, they came second.
Under Sarri things may have been easier to predict, but it is clear the Partenopei are still finding their feet under Ancelotti. Getting out of this year’s Champions League group may prove a step too far.
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