Red’s timely victory against Napoli might have seemed like a meaningless tie, with both teams safely through to the round of 16. However, the win is of great significance for Napoli and bodes well for the rest of a strange season.
Napoli – Europe’s Most Fearful Team
On current form, Napoli definitely has bragging rights to be considered the best team in Europe. The statistics do not lie. They were on an unbeaten run of 21 games, including a 13-game winning sequence of consecutive victories.
They play an attacking brand of football that is the envy of all of Europe. Luciano Spalletti’s men came to Anfield with verve and swagger, content with their own hype.
Liverpool’s nervy win brought them crashing back to earth. Therefore, halting their poor run, for now at least.
Red’s Still Shaky Defense
Despite the victory, Liverpool still looks disjointed at the back. Trent Alexander- Arnold’s topsy-turvy season continues. He was exposed on a few occasions by the Georgian wunderkind Khvicha Kvaratskhelia through some poor positional play.
A silver lining was the return of Ibrahima Konate after a lengthy injury layoff. His performance belied any rustiness as he kept Victor Osimhen, one of Europe’s red-hot strikers, relatively quiet.
Virgil van Dijk took some tentative steps toward regaining his best form. He marshaled the back four well enough, considering the attacking firepower of the Gli Azzuri. The Dutch defender offered a towering presence from set pieces.
Liverpool’s Attack – A Bright Spot
Jurgen Klopp will be pleased with the return of Curtis Jones, who was also back from injury. The young midfielder showed flashes of his old self and will be a welcome addition to the rest of the squad.
Mohamed Salah looked to have regained that spring in his step and was lively the entire game. The Egyptian marksman is on a five-game-scoring run in the Champions League, with the Anfield faithful hoping this will extend to the Premiership.
Darwin Nunez did get his goal late, but his decision-making is still questionable. The Uruguayan must improve if he is to justify that huge price tag and grow into his Anfield career.
Premier League Blues
The fans will surely hope that Tuesday’s unlikely victory will serve as a springboard for Liverpool’s stuttering League campaign. Being in the mid-table after 12 games is unfamiliar territory for a side gorging at the top in England for several years.
Their resolve will undergo a test immediately as high-flying Tottenham lies in wait on Sunday. The daunting trip to London will be a litmus test for an erratic Liverpool side.
Jurgen Klopp must be scratching his head as his team has recently beaten two of Europe’s best, namely Manchester City and Napoli. However, recent losses to Nottingham Forest and Leeds have contributed to their Jekyll and Hyde season.
Fans will hope that the Red’s timely victory over Napoli will finally be the catalyst to kickstart the season. Third-placed Tottenham will be no pushovers. Their last-gasp victory over Marseille to advance as group winners have reinvigorated Antonio Conte’s men.
Whatever happens, we should expect a titanic clash. Nothing less than perfection from a currently imperfect Liverpool will be needed to douse the Lilywhite’s flame.