It has been 350 days since a stunning solo-effort from Mo Salah sent Liverpool into the last 16 of the Champions League. A late super save from Alisson combined with Salah’s goal knocked Napoli out around this time last year. Now, Jürgen Klopp says Salah is set to return to fire into Napoli again.
“Mo couldn’t train for 9 days. He was with Egypt national team, came home. (Then) trained (at) kind of 60 (or) 70 percent (on Thursday). Then yesterday (Friday) he was first time 100 percent.” Klopp said in his post-match press conference following Liverpool’s 2-1 victory of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“We wanted to bring him on then we scored so we could rest him for today. (On) Wednesday he will be back.” These words from the Liverpool manager will evoke fear from Napoli fans whose side is currently embroiled in chaos.
What’s going on over at Napoli?
Coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are at odds with the board, particularly club president Aurelio De Laurentiis. According to Italian media, De Laurentiis fined the entire squad a quarter of their monthly wage.
The issue began following a 2-1 defeat to Roma on November 2nd. When De Laurentiis ordered a weeklong training camp in which players and staff couldn’t leave their hotel. Following the 1-1 draw at home to RB Salzburg, the squad refused to return to the camp and the Club announced legal action.
Subsequently, the Board imposed a club-wide media silence. Neither Ancelotti nor his team spoke to any media after the draw with Milan last Saturday. Conditions off the pitch are clearly affecting those on the pitch with Napoli winless in their last six games.
How it looks for Liverpool with Salah set to return
Liverpool, on the other hand, are flying. Since the 2-0 defeat at Stadio San Paulo in September, the Reds have won all three of their group games, scoring 10.
They are now firmly in charge of Group E and victory on Wednesday will see them qualify as group winners. The last time the reigning champions lost in all competitions, was to Napoli in the Stadio San Paulo, over two months ago.
The Liverpool manager is often unambiguous in his dismay for fixture congestion. Therefore, an opportunity to put the group stage to bed early is one to grasp with both hands.
Especially, since their final group game is away to RB Salzburg, sandwiched between two must-win games against Bournemouth and Watford.
With two-thirds of the Reds’ attacking trio on target on Saturday, and Salah set to return; Liverpool should punish Napoli’s low morale and fire themselves into the knockout stages.
Mo Salah – Image by Дмитрий Голубович under creative commons license
Sadio Mane – Image by Дмитрий Садовников under creative commons license