Threats to Liverpool’s European hopes
With Napoli, Salzburg and Genk to face in the Champions League group stages, we take a look at the individuals Liverpool will have to watch out for in Group E.
Having lifted the trophy in this competition last term, expectations are once again high around Anfield, as the love affair with the Champions League continues under manager Jurgen Klopp.
Here are three players who could cause Klopp’s boys some difficulties in their efforts to reach the knockout stages of the competition this term.
Hirving Lozano (Napoli)
Napoli and Liverpool had two hard-fought tussles in the group stages last season and once again the sides have been drawn against each other in the pools.
The Azzurri won their home encounter against the Reds and lost on their travels, with the scoreline being 1-0 in both games.
If Napoli were not a handful before then they certainly will be now with the recent arrival of Mexico attacker Lozano from PSV Eindhoven.
The 24-year-old made a real impact with his efforts in the Netherlands and his displays certainly caught the eye of Partenopei boss Carlo Ancelotti.
It took $42m euros to bring Lozano to Naples and the club have a real talent on their hands.
Soon Liverpool will have to deal with that talent, who really established himself on the international stage at the World Cup last year.
Erling Braut Haland (RB Salzburg)
Salzburg have managed to win all five of their opening league fixtures this season, scoring 22 goals and conceding just three in the process.
With an impressive seven goals from the first five games, Norwegian Haland has made a flying start to life in the Austrian top flight.
The 19-year-old, who was born in Leeds and is the son of former Norway international Alf-Inge Haland, put pen to paper on a five-year deal after deciding to leave Molde in August 2018.
Haland is expected to have a bright future ahead of him and the teenager will certainly be a player that Liverpool have to be wary of.
Although not against top opposition, in May this year Haland scored nine goals in Norway’s 12–0 win against Honduras at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Norway's Erling Braut Haland would've won the Golden Boot in 19 of the previous 21 U-20 World Cups with the nine goals he scored TODAY vs. Honduras
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) May 30, 2019
That caught a few headlines and those tapes will be looked over by the Reds’ backroom team ahead of their first meeting against Salzburg.
Mbwana Samatta (Genk)
Another player who has made a flying start to the season is Tanzanian forward Samatta at Genk.
Five goals in five appearances has seen Samatta continue to impress with a Genk side who currently sit in sixth place in the Belgian top flight.
This encounter could arguably be Liverpool’s easiest in the group but the Reds can’t take anything for granted with Samatta on the field.
The 26-year-old has already proved he has an eye for goal and his efforts this season could see him move on to bigger and better things in the future.