Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Napoli v Liverpool FC
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Napoli will beat Liverpool FC in Naples on Tuesday night
Charlie Nicholas is backing Napoli to edge past Liverpool FC in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Reds will start the defence of their Champions League crown with a difficult clash against Napoli in Naples.
Liverpool FC won the Champions League title last season thanks to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
However, the Merseyside outfit lost 1-0 to Carlo Ancelotti’s side in Naples during the group-stage.
Liverpool FC haven’t put a foot wrong in the Premier League so far this season following five successive victories.
The Reds came from 1-0 down to ease to a commanding 3-1 victory over Newcastle United at the weekend.
Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas believes Liverpool FC will make a losing start to their Champions League campaign at Napoli on Tuesday night.
“This will be a good test for the Champions League holders. We saw a vulnerable side to their defence at the weekend again, conceding after just seven minutes against Newcastle. They have walked away comfortably and won, but that is not the point,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“The difference Roberto Firmino makes is unbelievable. He doesn’t get the goals that Mohamed Salah gets or has the pace that Sadio Mane does but he has skill and cunning. He is a real team player and is my favourite out of the three, my favourite to watch, although he may be easier to mark than the other two.
“iverpool have not improved in midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still a fringe player. We know they are a good side but those three have to be on their game to win matches.
“Napoli are all-action and very strong at home, but not convincing away from home. Dries Mertens just rocks up and does the job. He gets big goals and I expect him to grab another through the week.”
Liverpool FC haven’t won in Naples in Uefa competitions following a 0-0 stalemate in the Europa League back in 2010 before a 1-0 loss to Napoli in the Champions League group stage last term.
The Reds were 3-1 winners in the return fixture at Anfield in the Europa League nine years ago.
Liverpool FC edge past Napoli 1-0 at Anfield last season to secure their place in the round of 16 thanks to Mo Salah’s winner.
The Reds went on to beat Bayern Munich, FC Porto, FC Barcelona and Spurs to win the competition.