Liverpool to face Napoli once again


Liverpool will take on Napoli for the second season running after being drawn in Group E of the Champions League.

The Reds faced the Italian giants during last season’s group stages, and they look set to enjoy two more battles with Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will also take on Salzburg and Genk in the group stages following Thursday’s draw in Monaco.

Liverpool will be looking to defend their crown after their heroic display against Tottenham in Madrid last summer.

Klopp’s team lost their first game against Napoli in October, with Lorenzo Insigne netting the winner in Naples. Liverpool gained revenge on match-day six, with Mohamed Salah’s goal securing their spot in the knockout phase.

The Merseyside outfit have never faced Salzburg or Genk previously in competitive or friendly action, but the games will be special for Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who both used to represent the Austrian club.

This year’s group stages begin on Tuesday, September 17, but fixtures have yet to be confirmed.

Before the draw, Klopp confirmed Liverpool would struggle to retain their title, and he claims all English teams may find it difficult to compete this season.

He told SkySports: “I will have no problem with [reaching the final] if it happens again, but at this moment I am not too sure it will.

“We have the same chance like everyone else, but that is all, and I don’t see us, the English teams, dominating. I really think a lot of teams have a good chance.”

Liverpool’s Champions League win last season was their first since 2005, and they have already made an impressive start to the new Premier League campaign.

Klopp’s troops are the only team to have won all of their games so far, with Norwich City, Southampton and Arsenal unable to stop the Reds.

Liverpool have Manchester City breathing down their necks as they prepare to travel to Burnley this weekend.

Saturday’s game is Liverpool’s last before the international break before they then face Newcastle United, Chelsea and Sheffield United.

With games now coming thick and fast, Klopp will hope Alisson can regain full fitness as the Brazilian continues to nurse a calf injury.

Liverpool’s fringe players will now be needed more as Klopp tries to juggle his squad and keep them fresh. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who signed a new deal last week, is pushing for more minutes alongside fellow midfielders Keita and Adam Lallana.

Striker Divock Origi proved his ability in the competition last season, scoring in the final as well as a brace against Barcelona in that epic comeback win in the last four, while Joe Gomez has had to be patient so far this term after injury hampered his last campaign.