Liverpool v Napoli Preview
Napoli are the next arrivals at Anfield as the Europa League beckons once more, Liverpool will be looking to make it a third win in a row as Roy Hodgson samples an upturn in form, if not an upturn in popularity.
With one eye on the visit of Chelsea at the weekend, the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres could well be rested once more although Hodgson remained tight lipped on the subject, preferring to “add a little excitement” as to who would take the field with the side already informed.
The medical room at Melwood will retain the injured Joe Cole (hamstring), Daniel Agger (calf) and Dirk Kuyt (ankle) with the in form Soto Kyrgiakos nursing a minor knock, he faces a race to be deemed fit along with Ryan Babel and Glen Johnson, who has missed the last four games.
Liverpool currently top Group K in the Europa League with five points gained from three games played and manager Roy Hodgson believes that four points from their remaining three fixtures will be enough to advance to the knockout stages of the competition. With the fixture at Anfield and the travel element ruled out which can often have an impact, Hodgson looks set to field a stronger side than in previous European outings.
Former Red, Andrea Dossena will make a return to Anfield for the visitors as he looks set to start to try and make an impact on the left flank.
“I think if we can get four more points we’ll be pretty much secure for a place in the next round as I can see the other games being tight,” he commented.
“We got one of the tougher groups with Napoli, Steaua and Utrecht and on paper it looked even, but we’ve done what we’ve needed to do.
“We’ll have a strong team out on Thursday, we won’t rest too many.”
On the current injuries that the team is carrying, Hodgson provided a little further insight:
“The injury situation is gradually improving. Glen Johnson has been training since the start of the week, which is very positive. Dirk Kuyt and Fabio Aurelio are still training separately, or in Daniel Agger’s case not at all.
“He has a fairly serious calf problem and will travel to London today to see another specialist for a second opinion.
“But when it comes to Aurelio and Kuyt, they are both out on the training field, training individually trying to get over their injuries.
“Ryan Babel has actually trained with us as well since the start of the week, despite the severe bruising on his ribs.
“He has done well to get back as quickly as he has done because bruised ribs are a tricky injury because if you take another bang on them it can be very, very painful.
“I’m not certain about his participation tomorrow night, but at least he’s back in training and could certainly be ready for the weekend.”
“Brad Jones is another slight injury worry we have, but again I think a lot of these players will be fit for the weekend game against Chelsea and that means we’ve got a pretty large squad to choose from tomorrow night.
“I think the team we put out tomorrow will be regarded on paper as a stronger team, I just hope it’s a stronger team on the field of play because the team that played in Napoli did very well.”
With new owners NESV in town and attending the game, hopefully it will be another European night to remember for the Reds. John Henry’s wife Linda Pizzuti was making some preparations of her own this evening as she again took time out on Twitter to catch up with Liverpool fans ahead of seeing her first game, making sure she was up to speed on the Anfield songbook. A lady is who becoming a breath of fresh air and applauded in her own right.
Image Source: Daylife
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