Champions League permutations: What Liverpool need vs Napoli to win Group A today

Champions League permutations: What Liverpool need vs Napoli to win Group A today

Despite so much doom and gloom about Liverpool’s season so far, Jurgen Klopp’s side could still progress out of Champions League Group A as winners.

While that would do little to improve their Premier League form, conquering a group also containing one of Europe’s form sides in Napoli – who beat them 4-1 in September – would obviously be a positive step and perhaps something to build on.

In turn, that would offer a more favourable round-of-16 tie after the World Cup, with cup competitions now Liverpool’s most realistic avenue of success this season.

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Still, overcoming the Neapolitans will be difficult.

Luciano Spalletti’s side sit top of Serie A despite a major rebuild over the course of the summer, dropping points only twice so far and are yet to taste defeat.

Less than two months ago, Napoli romped to a huge win over Liverpool in southern Italy and have since scored three goals in each of their four Champions League outings. In a domestic context, they have failed to score just once and certainly have the firepower to punish a Liverpool side struggling to defend.

Liverpool, however, managed to pull a result out of the hat against Manchester City, offering a glimpse the quality that seemed so obvious only a few months ago.

Back at Anfield, Klopp’s side have certainly sprung surprises on European nights before.

What do need Liverpool need to do to win Group A?

Should Liverpool beat Napoli by four goals or more, they will win the group. If Liverpool win by fewer than four goals, draw or lose the game, Napoli will win the group.

If two or more clubs are level on points at the end of the group stage, a number of criteria will be taken into consideration to decide the next round qualifiers, starting with the head-to-head record among the teams in question.

It then goes to superior goal difference and then goals scored in those matches.

How about the other groups?

Group B

In a similar situation Club Brugge (10) and Porto (9) have booked their knockout stage tickets but the group winner is to be decided. Porto host Atletico Madrid, currently in the Europa League spot, while the Belgians travel to Bayer Leverkusen, who are a point behind Atletico.

A win or even a draw against Leverkusen could be enough for Brugge to win top spot.

Group D

Tottenham still sit top of Group D with eight points, and head to Marseille, who sit bottom but on six points. If Spurs draw, they finish second, no matter the result between Sporting CP and Frankfurt (both on seven points) in Lisbon, if Spurs win then they would top the group and earn a seeding for the lst-16 draw.

Should Spurs lose and the other pair draw, Marseille would win the group with nine points and three teams would be locked on eight. In that scenario, Sporting would advance in second place thanks to a win and a draw against the Londoners. Spurs would then be consigned to the Europa League.

Antonio Conte’s Tottenham are still top of Group D (AP)
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham are still top of Group D (AP)

While Group D is the tightest, there are still several other issues to be settled next Tuesday and Wednesday, with 12 teams through to the next round but only three guaranteed top spot.

Group C

Everything is settled as Bayern Munich have comfortably secured top spot with maximum points from five matches. Inter Milan, in second place on 10, also advance, leaving Barcelona in third to compete in the Europa League. Viktoria Plzen are bottom without a point.

Group E

Chelsea, the 2021 champions, are already through in first place ahead of their final group game with Dinamo Zagreb, whose best hope is a Europa League place. The second spot is a shoot out between AC Milan and Salzburg, with the Italians needing only a draw in the San Siro.

Group F

Defending champions Real Madrid have secured qualification but the winner of the group has yet to be decided. They top the standings on 10 points and face already-eliminated bottom club Celtic.

RB Leipzig, on nine, travel to Shakhtar Donetsk, who have six, needing a draw to advance. A Shakhtar win would leave both on nine, with Shakhtar advancing on their head-to-head record.

Group G

This group has been decided with Manchester City making sure of top spot. Borussia Dortmund, three points behind, advance as well but cannot dislodge City because of their head-to-head record. Sevilla, on five, are guaranteed a Europa League spot but as above, cannot overhaul Dortmund. Last-placed Copenhagen are already eliminated.

Manchester City are already through as group winners (Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Manchester City are already through as group winners (Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Group H

Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, both on 11 points and with an evenly balanced head-to-head after two 1-1 draws, have qualified already but the group win is still up for grabs.

The French side faces Juventus, on three points in third place and desperate to salvage a Europa League spot from their disappointing campaign.

Benfica travel to Maccabi Haifa, also on three, with the Israeli club hoping for a third place finish ahead of the Italians. PSG’s goal difference is +8 and Benfica’s +4.

Additional reporting by Reuters.