Jurgen Klopp has discussed his record against Napoli ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League opener against the Italian side.
Liverpool travel to face Napoli in the Champions League group stage this evening, with Klopp looking to improve his record at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. Klopp has failed to win on each of his previous visits to Napoli as a manager, while Liverpool are without a win in Naples in three attempts.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the German said he is keen to correct that record as Liverpool look to begin the campaign with a positive result, but admits his team face a tough test in Italy.
“Sure, we haven’t won here, with Dortmund not, with Liverpool not. But I am not sure, we quite frequently qualified for the Champions League final after Napoli was with us in the group stage. I am not sure if all the time, but maybe twice if I am right, with Dortmund and one year with Liverpool as well. But, who cares?
“How we say in Germany, I’m a late bloomer; I always need a little bit longer to achieve my stuff and that means sometimes I have to try two times, sometimes three times, sometimes four times – and Napoli [could be] four times, obviously. What do we have to do? Play better than in the previous three games, that would be very helpful because we didn’t play particularly well when we came here. One reason is because Napoli are pretty strong.”
Klopp discussed Napoli’s recent rebuild, with the club returning to the Champions League last season after finishing third in Serie A.
Stalwarts such as Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly have moved on this summer, with recent windows having looked towards the future. Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia are exciting talents in an emerging team, while Klopp praised the talents of Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński.
“They are not all young, but they’re all good…
“I’m not 100 per cent sure, but I think not too long ago there was like a bit of a nervous situation in Napoli around when players left for different reasons, obviously it has all settled again.
“I’m really happy for the people here. But one player who always stayed is Zielinski and around him you could build again another team – it’s [a] really, really interesting project, I have to say. Good football, intense style, different approaches, so really good, I have to say.
“Spalletti is a good coach, so nobody should be surprised and he’s obviously pretty relaxed about maybe some nervous things around. So, probably a really good fit – that’s how it looks.”