THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Liverpool's tie with Napoli.
Liverpool v Napoli | Wednesday 27th November 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
It’s an intriguing clash at Anfield on Wednesday night as current Champions League champions Liverpool hope to get revenge on Napoli after their loss at the Stadio San Paolo on Matchday 1.
Liverpool are going off as short as 2/5 here and given their imperious home record you can understand that, however, they’ve not been totally convincing in this competition this season bar an easy win in Genk. Salzburg came to Anfield and gave the Reds an almighty fright, they only just scraped a 2-1 win at home against the Belgians too and as we’ve mentioned they lost their toughest test away in Naples.
Something has seemingly gone slightly under the radar, in the UK press at least, with an ongoing crisis of sorts at Napoli. Outspoken chairman Aurelio De Laurentis has threatened to fine the squad for failing to return to a ‘Ritiro’, which is basically a training camp, after their home draw with Salzburg a few weeks ago.
It seemed like quite a wild move from the hierarchy and gaffer Carlo Ancelotti initially voiced his concern towards the owner for this strange manoeuvre.
It’s almost like the players have been naughty schoolboys who’ve been placed in detention, forced to stay at the hotel at the training ground, but the players revolt has only further widened the gap in the already fractious relationship between players, fans, owner and manager.
I suppose the only real relationship that could be anything like mutual is that of the ultras and De Laurentis as both have acted at the dismay of the players performances this season. Midfielder Allan had his house burgled and Piotr Zielinski had his car broken into, these kind of crimes, although wrong and immoral, are relatively common when the ultras don’t believe you’re wearing the shirt with pride.
It looks like it is a long road back to restoring this calamity but the best way to start is by getting results, a strong Champions League run could make up for their domestic deficiencies. Carlo has been around long enough to know how to ride out these times of intense pressure and his squad is one stacked with quality, they should improve.
It was another narrow away win for Liverpool this weekend, Roberto Firmino bagged late on to take all three points as the disciplined Merseyside outfit dogged it out at Selhurst Park. It’s a crucial quality, especially when going for the title. You’re not going to be playing at maximum capacity every game, it’s just not how football works, so to grind out narrow wins shows excellent spirit and superb game management.
The fixture list is starting to mount up now for Jurgen Klopp and he will have to rest and rotate regularly in what is a packed December schedule with eight games to play, including a trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup. Ideally they’d want to get the job done here so they can send a second string to Salzburg in a fortnights time.
It could more difficult than the odds suggest though as Napoli have lost just one of their last 10 in this competition.
The betting angle
Liverpool know a win here would secure their place in the knockout stages. A point would mean they’d have to avoid defeat to Salzburg providing the Austrians win in Genk this week. If that’s the case and they lose this they will certainly be in a last game one-off battle with Salzburg for the other qualifying spot.
Ultimately though, a point a piece here would keep it in both teams hands and I think the price on a stalemate looks too big at 21/5 (Bet Victor).
Rarely do you see the draw priced up at bigger than 3/1, never mind 4/1, when two teams without a massive gap between them meet. Napoli exploited the Reds’ flaws and were deserving of their win in the reverse fixture. Although it’s hard to argue with Liverpool’s exemplary Anfield record I do think the Italians have been slightly disrespected in the market.
Gli Azzurri have drawn five of their last six and seven of their last 10 so it’s a result they have a penchant for. It’s more of a price play than anything though, I cannot back Liverpool to lose at home so I’ll just plump for the outright stalemate given the amount it’s landed in recent Napoli games.
Liverpool v Napoli – Draw (21/5 BetVictor)