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Tuesday September 17 2019
New Napoli, new Liverpool

Napoli may have a rather different squad to last season unlike Liverpool, but the Partenopei must be wary of the Reds’ new-found steel, writes Sam Wilson.

“Normally it’s the European champions who are favourites but we hope it ends the same way as last year’s game at the San Paolo. We’ve bolstered our squad with the addition of some quality players. I think it will be a great game – hard-fought and intense.”

These are the words of Napoli Coach Carlo Ancelotti at his Press conference ahead of the Champions League match between Napoli and Liverpool this evening. Last season, in Naples, the Serie A side won 1-0; defeating the eventual winners of the tournament in a tight result. The away leg for Ancelotti’s side, at Anfield, was also a 1-0 result but in favour of the English giants, who qualified for the next round along with Paris Saint-Germain.

Ancelotti’s words ring true. Although he admitted that winning the competition had given Liverpool new belief and confidence, Napoli have improved greatly in the last couple of months. They were one of the only big clubs in Italy not to have changes off the pitch, sticking with Carletto after giving him a year to really mould the team in his own image.

Not only this, but the club also reinforced the areas they needed to over the summer. To replace the outgoing Raul Albiol, the Partenopei upgraded with the signature of Roma’s star defender Kostas Manolas. Similarly, they made changes in attack, bringing in highly-rated Mexican forward Hirving Lozano from PSV to add an extra dimension to the attack.

So far this term, Napoli have had a high-scoring run but have also conceded more goals than they perhaps may have liked. With a 4-3 victory over Fiorentina in their Serie A opener, the team then fell to a 4-3 defeat to Juventus. This weekend, they kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win against Sampdoria; meaning Ancelotti’s team are currently fourth, with two wins and one loss from three games.

Liverpool, meanwhile, do not look as though they have particularly strengthened from the previous campaign. The Reds had a quiet summer and signed only Spanish goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel for their first team. The new boy has already come in handy, given the injury suffered by former Roma shot-stopper Alisson. The Brazilian will be missing this evening, so the buck will lie with Adrian to pull out all the stops against Napoli’s quality going forward.

As Ancelotti says, however, Liverpool have grown mentally. They no longer are powered by the belief that they ‘could’do it but instead the faith that they ‘can’ do it. Winning the Champions League has given Jurgen Klopp’s men a mental edge as they are now also gunning for the Premier League trophy, as well as having another shot at European glory.

So while the Neapolitans have bolstered their ranks and Liverpool less so, the Champions League holders have a new-found steel, which will need to be overcome on the night. Whatever happens, no dodgy dressing rooms will get in the way of another spectacle at the San Paolo.

Have your say...
@Pinturicchio
LOL
I bet you do not even get the irony of what you write!
A Rube fan complaining about fake penalties and claiming 2 scudetti that do not exist?
Go back to trying to extort free match tickets and threatening to get your club in trouble.

Assuming you have ever even set foot in Turin.

Ciaciaociao

PS I am sure you enjoyed us beating Liverpool a few days ago.

You can leave your congratulations in reply if you like.
on the 21st September, 2019 at 9:46pm
@Partenopei

you and your ilk are so delusional that even if you were shown a collection of all pathetic dives and fake penalties you have received in the past 3 years, you'd deny each and every one of them.

I wouldn't be surprised if your club and you all fans count 2nd place as Scudettos... Your mentally delusional President mentions this very topic as a point in every interview he gives, so naturally you sheep believe in this fallacious argument as well...
on the 21st September, 2019 at 10:13am
@Pinturicchio

"That's 3 non-existing / fake penalties Napoli have received in 4 matches this season"

Wow, even for you that is bad. 3 of our 2 penalties this season were fake huh?
or are you including the one given against us?
on the 18th September, 2019 at 3:57pm
@ Jono Mario Rui is really making up for his performances last CL season against PSG. He's been great!
on the 18th September, 2019 at 3:01pm
@Pinturicchio I can't wait to see Atletico beat Juve and hear Juve fans whining because, in Europe, they can't bribe the refs <3
on the 18th September, 2019 at 3:01pm
@ Anonymous

Typical Juventino - classless with personal attacks because you can't point to facts.
on the 18th September, 2019 at 2:47pm
I've been very impressed with Mario Rui's performances the end of last season and so far this season.
on the 18th September, 2019 at 6:29am
LMFAO most ghetto backyards across Europe look 10x better than the ploughed field which Napoli used yesterday vs Liverpool.

Laughable penalty, the referee was pathetic to award a non-existing penalty which should've been a yellow card for simulation. VAR is useless if the referee is incompetent or won't change his stubborn mind.

That's 3 non-existing / fake penalties Napoli have received in 4 matches this season - don't catcall Neymar when Mertens deserves an Oscar every year...
on the 18th September, 2019 at 5:12am
@pina

I’m sure mertens will disagree hahahah shut up loser and crawl back to your losing hole. Can’t believe you are here for another season spitting the same nonsense. Don’t you age? Lol you can’t be an ignorant idiot for your whole life. Or can you ? hahahah
on the 17th September, 2019 at 11:06pm
@Pinturicchio Unlike Juve, Napoli don't cheat their way to domestic success. And in the last 5 years, Napoli has won the Champion's League as many times as Juve has lol
on the 17th September, 2019 at 7:05pm
@Pinturicchio, Who pissed in your cafe this morning? Sincerely hope it was me...
on the 17th September, 2019 at 5:27pm
Rooting for Napoli tonight, but I'd be really surprised if they upset Liverpool...
on the 17th September, 2019 at 4:14pm
After having a far superior head-2-head record over the epl in the last decade, the last 10 months have been disastrous with 7 straight defeats

The epl teams have gotten better, and may take the top spot Spain owned for so long

Juve were shocking against Fiorentina and if they play like that in the CL, they'll be in serious trouble

Napoli have a shot and should go through even if they lose tonight

Inter will be touch and go in a tough group

Atalanta have it tough, but have a good chance
on the 17th September, 2019 at 1:49pm
Yes, going out of the group stage again after incessant whining and blaming everything under the sun but themselves is so refreshing.

But that's Napoli for you, the idiotic club which talks smack without so much as a SF (let alone final) run in the European competition.

After the group stage, I eagerly await the moaning of all Neapolitans and in particular Napoli FC.
on the 17th September, 2019 at 1:47pm

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