Carlo Ancelotti confident Napoli can cause upset against Liverpool

Ancelotti thinks his side has what it takes to beat Liverpool on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Carlo Ancelotti confident Napoli can cause upset against Liverpool

  • Napoli can still go though through to second round if they lose 2-1 at Anfield.
  • Italians on a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, and defeated Liverpool 1-0 in October.

LIVERPOOL: Carlo Ancelotti believes Liverpool are good enough to win the Premier League, but the Italian is convinced his Napoli side can knock them out of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Ancelotti, who won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2010, takes his side to Anfield knowing that a point will guarantee a place in the last 16, and a victory will take them through as Group C winners.

Liverpool must win to stand any chance of going through, and a 1-0 scoreline — or any victory by at least two goals — will definitely secure their progress.

Napoli, however, arrive at Anfield on the back of a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, and defeated Liverpool 1-0 with a late Lorenzo Insigne goal when the sides met at the Stadio San Paolo in October.

Ancelotti is wary of opponents who overtook Manchester City to go top of the Premier League on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth.

He believes Jurgen Klopp’s side have the squad strength to stay there, despite the wealth of options that Pep Guardiola has at the Etihad Stadium.

“The Premier League is always a competitive league. Liverpool has the possibility to win,” Ancelotti said.

“The fact that they started really well means that it’s possible that they can do it.”

The Napoli boss is fully aware of the impact that the Anfield atmosphere could have on Tuesday’s match, but said that neither he nor his players would be intimidated by it.

“We know what’s at stake. We need to take the final step to get through the group. There’s no way we’re going to take this game lightly,” he said.

“Anfield is a beautiful stadium. The people are really passionate and the atmosphere is the best in the world.

“It is really exciting to be here — my players are positive because everyone wants to play at the best in the world...

“It’s the crunch game tomorrow. If we’re intelligent in the defensive and offensive phases, then we’ll go through.

“We also have a little advantage in the group; the cake has been made — now we need to add a little cherry.”

NAPOLI WON’T SIT BACK

Even though a draw will take Napoli through, Ancelotti has indicated that his team will attack.

They are the joint top scorers in Serie A this season with 32 goals, although they have scored one fewer than Liverpool in their five Champions League group games this season.

“I think we can draw on the first game in Naples, it has given us a lot of confidence and we’d like to put in a repeat performance,” he added.

“Obviously I don’t know what Liverpool are doing tomorrow but we know how they play at home, the kind of intensity, with which they set out.

“We haven’t come here to sit back. We’ve come here to play our own game.”

Napoli have conceded only four goals in the group, and defender Raul Albiol suggested that they will need that discipline to thwart Liverpool’s forward.

“It’ll be important to defend deep and be compact. We know that they’re lethal in the spaces — they have strong, quick forward,” he said.

“The mentality is important, we need to think about scoring.

“It’ll be a tough game, a difficult game; we need to be quick mentally and aggressive. We all want to win this game, but we need to be calm.”


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.