Carlo Ancelotti insists Napoli are fully focused on Liverpool, there is “no internal warfare” and “the only thing missing is a moment of magic.”
It kicks off at Anfield on Wednesday at 20.00 GMT.
“This game is worth a great deal because we have two match balls to go through, one here – which is very difficult, but also very exciting – and great tennis players close the match on the first match ball,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.
“We’ll try, the team is very focused on this game, because the thing this squad is missing is the flashpoint to emerge from a difficult moment and start expressing our full potential again. That moment of magic could be tomorrow evening.”
Ancelotti was only speaking because of a contractual obligation with UEFA, breaking the club-imposed press silence that has lasted ever since the team ‘mutiny’ against a training retreat after the 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg.
“I think the press silence has been a way of concentrating on the pitch, but also ended up giving airtime to many who have said all sorts of rubbish. The atmosphere is much more relaxed than people say.
"There is no club against squad battle, no internal warfare, there is a club and everyone trying to analyse why our performances have not been what we expected. That is above all in Serie A, because in the Champions League we are essentially on track.
“President Aurelio De Laurentiis can’t come with us because he just made a long journey from Los Angeles, but he is close to the team and close to me. If anything, too close, as he calls me every day! As long as he’s paying the phone bill, that’s fine.”
This morning, the club sent out legal letters to the players informing them of the fines up to 25 per cent, punishment for that refusal to go back into a training retreat.
“As I said, this is talking about the past. What’s done is done, I can guarantee we are all concentrated on the present and what to do on the pitch,” insisted Ancelotti.
“Last season’s match must remind us that Napoli played very well, we came very close to eliminating what would go on to be the Champions of Europe and now we are in a much stronger position than we were then.”
Lorenzo Insigne has not made the trip, as he injured his elbow against Milan on Saturday evening.
“The defence will always have four men. We’re missing Insigne and no matter what some might say, he had this elbow injury and was not available to play.
“We then need to evaluate Fabian Ruiz and Mario Rui’s condition. The others are all in good shape and we will try to bring something positive out of difficult circumstances.
“We need to raise the bar and perform closer to our level, because the team can do more and its current performances don’t satisfy anyone, including me.”