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The end of the 2018/19 season saw Liverpool crowned champions of Europe for the sixth time. This has been covered extensively throughout the summer but it still bears repeating. As ever, however, the narrative surrounding the winners can be diluted by their success: Liverpool raised the trophy and after a stunning comeback in the semi-finals against Barcelona, there were few who would say that they did not deserve the trophy. With that being said, it is easy to overlook the performances over the course of the tournament. It is easy to forget that Liverpool were almost knocked out at the group stage of the competition, by none other than the team they just faced, Napoli.

Napoli came into this match after a somewhat erratic start to their Serie A season. A 4-3 win over Fiorentina in the opening matchday was followed by a 4-3 defeat to rivals Juventus. Their match before this tie saw them pick up their first clean sheet in a 2-0 win over a struggling Sampdoria side but their defensive concerns were real. This is despite the significant transfer outlay over the summer on the Greek international central defender Kostas Manolas, who would partner the excellent Kalidou Koulibaly. Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti, therefore, had a lot to plan for before hosting this Liverpool attack with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and in particular, Roberto Firmino all threatening to reach top form.

In this tactical analysis, we will look closely at how Napoli were able to come away from this match with a 2-0 victory.

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Artwork by @chapulana

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