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The group stage of the 2022/23 Champions League comes to an end this week
Napoli are in pole position to finish top of Group A - and they could even break a record
Liverpool need a big win to overhaul their opponents and finish as group winners
The odds for Liverpool vs Napoli are brought to you by the Caesars sportsbook, where new customers will receive a $1500 risk-free bet by simply creating an account.
Luciano Spaletti’s side have been magnificent this season and the odds on an away win are incredibly generous.
Back Napoli to beat Liverpool on Tuesday. (+330)
By common consensus, Liverpool were one of the three best teams in Europe last season (alongside Manchester City and Real Madrid). Yet although the Reds won the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, they fell just short in the two biggest competitions: City edged them out in the Premier League title race and Madrid beat them 1-0 in the final of the Champions League.
To play so well throughout the season and miss out on the most significant trophies in the game must have been a deflating experience. That is probably one of the main reasons for Liverpool’s disappointing start to the current campaign.
Another possible cause is that the squad has grown old together. Jurgen Klopp’s high-energy, heavy-pressing style of play is best suited to young, hungry players in their early 20s. The finger has also been pointed at the club’s recruitment department, which has been accused of failing to sufficiently refresh the first team. Sadio Mane has been sorely missed, even though he has yet to hit the ground running in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
One thing is for sure, though: the Liverpool of this season is vastly different from the one which came so close to glory in the Premier League and the Champions League in 2021/22.
Remarkably, their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday was their first in the league in front of a full house at Anfield since April 2017. It leaves Liverpool just a point above the bottom half of the table, and eight adrift of the top four.
Liverpool’s form has held up better in the Champions League, where they have won four games out of four since a 4-1 thrashing by Napoli on matchday one. They must better that result (a 3-0 victory would also suffice) on Tuesday to finish top of Group A, but the Reds have at least already made sure of a place in the round of 16.
Before this competition began, Liverpool were the strong favorites to finish top of Group A and the best online sportsbooks fancied Napoli to edge out Ajax in the race for second. Yet although many tipped the Partenopei to qualify for the last 16, few anticipated them dominating the group as they have.
Napoli have been nothing short of sensational up to now. They started as they meant to go on by blowing Liverpool away at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in that aforementioned 4-1 win.
Napoli went on to beat Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox, before a stunning double over Ajax featuring a 6-1 victory on the road and a 4-2 triumph in front of their own fans. Napoli remain top of the group following another 3-0 success against Rangers last week.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have been so good that they might even make Champions League group stage history this week. In both 2019/20 and 2021/22, Bayern Munich finished with 18 points and a +19 goal difference. If Napoli win by four clear goals on Tuesday, they will break that record.
It is certainly a long shot, but anyone who has watched Spalletti’s side in recent weeks will know that it is not impossible. Napoli’s confidence is sky-high: not only are they flying in the Champions League, they are also top of Serie A following a 4-0 victory over Sassuolo at the weekend.
Given that Liverpool have struggled for much of the campaign and Napoli are playing better soccer than virtually any other team in Europe, the odds for this match are something of a surprise.
Playing at home does confer Liverpool a slight advantage, as does their historic strength. As they proved in a recent 1-0 victory over Manchester City, form is temporary but class is permanent.
Yet when you consider that Napoli have won 15 of the 17 fixtures they have contested in all competitions this term, drawing the other two, a price of +330 on an away win looks extremely generous indeed.
That is good news for bettors, of course, and we would recommend taking advantage of that price by backing Napoli to come out on top. The Anfield crowd may well be jittery after recent results, including the unexpected setback against Leeds last time out, while Spalletti’s charges will be able to play with freedom and their customary pizzazz.
Napoli are unlikely to get the 4-0 (or 5-1, 6-2, etc.) win they need to break Bayern’s record and become the highest-performing team in group-stage history. But a victory at Anfield, even against this diminished Liverpool side, would be a real statement of intent.
That is a prize worth fighting for and we are backing Napoli to pick up their sixth win in their sixth Champions League game of the campaign.
|Teams||Liverpool vs Napoli|
|Location||Anfield, Liverpool, England|
|Time||Tuesday, 1 November 2022, 15.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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