Liverpool face a do-or-die situation on Tuesday when they will host Napoli at Anfield in a clash that will determine whether the Reds’ Champions League campaign comes to an early end. Thanks to a series of away defeats within their group, Liverpool need to win - either by a 1-0 margin or by two or more goals - in order to keep the dream alive.
This will not be an easy task. Jürgen Klopp’s side will take on the group leaders in Napoli, who are also in second place in Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti’s side, in contrast to Liverpool, just need to secure a point in order to progress. It’s a scenario that has led some to wonder whether Ancelotti, savvy customer that he is, will take risks at Anfield in pursuit of extra points that he does not necessarily need.
At least publicly, Ancelotti has indicated that he will be going after a win.
“I have lots of memories of Anfield - my last one is a good one because I won the title there with Chelsea,” said the Napoli boss.
“It’s going to be a tough, exciting match,” added Ancelotti. “We’ll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter-productive to try and park the bus. Besides anything else, that’s not how we play.”
“We’ll try to boss the game and I’m sure the lads are ready and fired up to give their absolute all. We’ll go there with an attacking mindset.”
He certainly has the tools within his squad to trouble Liverpool if he’s so inclined. Rafa Benitez, who knows Napoli and Liverpool well, having been in charge of both, identified what he sees as the greatest threats to the Reds’ chances on the night.
“Carlo Ancelotti has experience of operating at this level,” noted Benitez. “And he has players such as defender Raul Albiol, wingers Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens, playmaker Marek Hamsik and striker Lorenzo Insigne who will not be worried about any noise.”
“For me, one key could be the counter-attack,” added the current Newcastle manager. “Liverpool will be on the front foot from the beginning and Mertens, Insigne or Callejon are tricky customers with their movement and pace.”