Napoli vs Liverpool Champions League Preview

Napoli vs Liverpool Preview: Resolving Klopp’s Selection Dilemma

Caught in the middle of an extremely difficult run, Liverpool head over to Serie A hotshots Napoli looking to get back to winning ways and restore the momentum after a win-less double against Chelsea.

The 2-1 Carabao Cup elimination at Anfield was followed by a nervy 1-1 draw. Daniel Sturridge neutralized Eden Hazard’s opener with his 50th Premier League goal in a Liverpool shirt, as the Reds failed to record their fourth away win on the bounce.

Stamford Bridge is one of the most difficult grounds to play at in the division, and with Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea looking like one of the strongest sides in the Premier League, Liverpool should be applauded for the way they replied after going down.

Saturday’s trip to west London was an overall positive affair for Liverpool supporters who saw a team never ready to give up. Twelve’s effective time possession chart tells us that the Reds finished the game with 55% possession to their name as opposed to Chelsea’s 42% which is a fine indicator of Liverpool’s desire and drive.

Jürgen Klopp has instilled a winning mentality in his team but the German will now need to address a couple of glaring talking points as his side prepare for a difficult Champions League challenge.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian King did not have the best of games at Stamford Bridge but we shouldn’t be overly harsh on him. Salah set the bar extremely high last season and can’t be expected to produce world-class displays week in and week out.

He looked a threat at times against Chelsea but his touch was poor, as was his finishing. The attack section of his Twelve ratings illustrates it perfectly, although a toggle at the only important actions tab would reveal a bigger picture – the one where Salah is doing his best to end his off patch.

What is most worrying at the moment is that the Egyptian was easily muscled off the ball and from a mental point of view he is not cutting a happy figure at the moment.

Salah is well aware of his below-par form and appears to be letting it get to him which is a point that needs addressing. Klopp subbed him off after 66 minutes at Chelsea and should seriously think about leaving him on the bench for the Napoli game.

Sturridge and Shaqiri

Klopp nailed it when it came to the substitutions he made against Chelsea. The Reds’ boss made three tactical changes – all of which brought a clear improvement in Liverpool’s performance.

It only took three minutes for Daniel Sturridge (after replacing Milner) to score a stunner and prove his class. The fans tend to forget how gifted the England striker is and do not give him the credit he deserves, but his Saturday strike again highlighted what a key figure he could be this season for the Reds.

Napoli vs Liverpool Champions League Preview

Not many players boast the ability to score a goal like that and at such an important moment in a big game, which is why Sturridge is making it extremely difficult for Klopp to deprive him of a starting berth against Napoli.

Another player who deserves to be considered for a place in the starting line-up in Italy is Xherdan Shaqiri. A direct replacement for Salah at Stamford Bridge, Shaqiri was earlier involved in an on-pitch argument with Klopp in the Carabao Cup loss but it did not prevent him from putting in a fine cameo during his half hour on the pitch.

The Swiss international did produce arguably the worst moment of the game for Liverpool with his poor finish going wide off the post but the summer recruit still did more than enough to earn a positive review.

Once again, make sure to toggle the Only important actions button in order to get a clearer view of everything Shaqiri did against Chelsea. He earned 1,093 points and was second on Twelve’s leader board when it comes to points per minute.

Shaqiri is given freedom to roam and only needs minutes under his belt to start producing results.  Even Klopp discussed it himself – claiming he wanted the Swiss winger to play with a clear mind and get into positions as much as possible – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shaqiri as a starter against the Partenopei.

If slotted in an advanced midfield position, ahead of Naby Keita who I see taking Jordan Henderson’s starting place, Shaqiri would provide Liverpool with a proper boost in an alternative formation setup which could look a lot like this.

Milos has selected Sturridge, Shaqiri and Allison for Napoli vs Liverpool in Twelve’s game, but who would you choose? Download our app on Android or iOS to take him on!

5 thoughts to “Napoli vs Liverpool Preview: Resolving Klopp’s Selection Dilemma”

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