Klopp picks out ever-present Napoli dangerman and slams ’embarrassing’ question ahead of Liverpool clash

·3-min read
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, August 2022 Credit: PA Images
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, August 2022 Credit: PA Images

Jurgen Klopp has warned that Piotr Zielinski is a seemingly ever-present Napoli threat as Liverpool take on their exciting new project.

The Reds have not won against the Serie A side at their home ground in three attempts since Klopp took over. The two sides squared off in the 2018/19 campaign, when Napoli won 1-0 at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

The campaign after, the Italians beat Liverpool 2-0 at their stadium. Nevertheless, Klopp’s men got through both groups with a respective win and draw at Anfield.

It is an even worse record for Klopp, whose Borussia Dortmund lost at Napoli in the 2013/14 campaign.

The German said: “I have never won here, not with Dortmund, not with Liverpool.

“But, we frequently qualified for the Champions League final after Napoli was the best in the group stage – I’m not sure all the time but maybe twice.

“How we say in Germany, I’m a late bloomer. Sometimes I have to try two times, three times, sometimes four times.

“With Napoli it’s four times and we have to play better than in the other three games, because we didn’t play particularly well and they were  strong.”

Liverpool have rejuvenated their team for the future with the likes of Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Harvey Elliott in recent seasons.

Napoli have also injected more longevity into their team with centre-back Kim Min-Jae, Mathias Olivera and Giacamo Raspadori among their summer signings.

But Klopp picked out Polish attacking midfielder Piotr Zielinski, who is into his seventh season at Napoli, as one of their constant dangermen. Zielinski has started this season with one goal and three assists in Serie A.

Klopp warns of Napoli star

“They are all young, but good,” Klopp said of Napoli’s recent investment. “I’m not 100 per cent sure, but not too long ago there was a bit of a nervous situation about players leaving for different reasons.

“But now it’s all settled again and I’m really happy for them. One player who has stayed is Zielinski, around him you can build another team.

“It’s a really interesting project, good football, intense style, different approaches so really good.

“[Luciano] Spalletti is a good coach so nobody should be surprised. He seems pretty relaxed so they’re a really good fit.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Liverpool released a statement urging fans to follow specific travel advice while in the city.

Asked if he thought Napoli was a dangerous city, Klopp said: “That’s an embarrassing question from you. You want to create headlines, I really don’t understand it.”

Klopp confirmed that Thiago Alcantara is in contention to return from injury after training for the second day in a row.

Jordan Henderson’s injury will keep him out until after the international break. Klopp admitted he is unsure if Carvalho’s dead leg will keep him out of Saturday’s clash with Wolves.

As for Curtis Jones, the Liverpool boss urged caution after a stress reaction in his tibia caused the England Under-21 international a setback.

Reds looking to set record straight

Liverpool have of course not won at Napoli since Klopp took over, so getting their first win there will be a key task.

As well as Napoli’s talent, their atmosphere has caused the Premier League club problems too.

Liverpool need to forget their league struggles for a while and focus on a new challenge in Europe.

The Champions League poses new questions of Klopp’s team – questions that they answered emphatically last season with six wins from six group stage games.

And Liverpool need to harness more of that intensity if they are going to secure three points at the home of their bogey team.

READ MORE: Alisson Becker gives thrilling seal of Liverpool approval to Arthur Melo

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