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Liverpool out to make Champions League history against Napoli

Liverpool out to make Champions League history against Napoli

Liverpool will be aiming to earn a slice of English and Champions League history when they take on Napoli in Wednesday’s Group A opener at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side were largely unplayable in Europe prior to a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the final, where Vinicius Junior‘s winner was overshadowed by the horrendous scenes of crowd trouble outside the Stade de France.

Liverpool’s quadruple challenge had already faded by that point as Manchester City pipped them to the Premier League title, but they still ended the season with the FA Cup and EFL Cup to their name.

Prior to reaching the knockout rounds of the Champions League, Liverpool were handed a far from straightforward group against AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto, but the Reds remarkably claimed six wins from six.

Should Liverpool run out winners in Naples this week, they will become the first-ever English team to win seven consecutive Champions League matches in the group stage.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in the throes of ecstasy on August 27, 2022© Reuters

Klopp’s men scored 17 goals and conceded just six in the 2021-22 group stage to advance as group winners, with only Ajax and Bayern Munich also progressing without dropping a single point.

Coincidentally, Liverpool could also match a European record set by those two teams on Wednesday after they also claimed six victories from six away games in Europe last season.

Benfica, Villarreal and Inter Milan were all defeated by Liverpool on their own patch in the knockout stage of the tournament, while Bayern and Ajax are the only two sides to have previously won seven in a row away from home in the Champions League.

Ajax achieved the feat in the 1996-97 tournament before their streak was ended by Juventus, while Bayern racked up seven on the bounce in February 2014 prior to drawing at Manchester United.

However, Liverpool have enjoyed a far from satisfactory start to the new Premier League season, winning just two of their opening six league fixtures to sit seventh in the table and six points behind table-toppers Arsenal.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on August 15, 2022© Reuters

The Reds were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw away to Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday lunchtime and have also struggled for success on Napoli’s turf over the past decade.

In fact, Liverpool are yet to score at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona following three previous visits to the Naples Stadium, firstly drawing 0-0 in the group stage of the 2010-11 Europa League.

The two sides renewed hostilities in the 2018-19 Champions League group stage, where Napoli would claim a 1-0 triumph in front of their own fans before recording a 2-0 success one year later.

Liverpool also head into Wednesday’s game having suffered another injury blow, with Fabio Carvalho being forced off at half time in the draw with Everton with a dead leg.

While Thiago Alcantara may be fit enough to return, Klopp is set to be without Calvin Ramsay, Caoimhin Kelleher, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ibrahima Konate this week.

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