Napoli coach Spalletti 'not fooled' by Liverpool form or Klopp praise

By Sports Desk October 31, 2022

Luciano Spalletti says Napoli will "not be fooled" by Liverpool's recent struggles, nor by Jurgen Klopp suggesting the Reds cannot record an emphatic victory to top their Champions League group.

Klopp's side must defeat Napoli by four goals at Anfield on Tuesday to win Group A, having been thrashed 4-1 by Napoli on matchday one in the reverse fixture before recovering with four successive wins.

While Liverpool progressed to the knockout stages with a game to spare, the Reds have struggled in the Premier League this season, sitting ninth in the table – some 15 points behind leaders Arsenal.

Klopp heralded the potential of Napoli on Monday, suggesting a four-goal victory would be near-impossible as he backed the Serie A side to reach the final, though Spalletti took the praise with a pinch of salt.

"I think I've read that he said they don't think about winning 4-0 ... I think he said it seriously," the Napoli coach said in a jovial manner.

"If he said it seriously that he can't win 4-0 if he wants to, let's talk about it! Excessive compliments sometimes serve to lift you up and then smash you down.

"[Klopp] made the last two Champions League finals, so he is better than everyone, he and his team. We accept compliments if they are sincere, but compliments do not make results and standings.

"We know the game will be very hard. We will have to be the same as always, as in the first leg, and it is almost impossible to repeat that match.

"To finish first or second, everything changes, it seems stupid to answer whether we want to win or not – we came here with the best intentions possible.

"Then there is a stage like Anfield, against those players there, and we will have to prove that we are up to it."

Back-to-back domestic defeats against Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, in between a European victory over Ajax, have raised more questions over Liverpool's capabilities.

Spalletti refused to accept the Reds are a struggling side, though, suggesting their results belie Liverpool's performances in recent weeks.

"Liverpool are a team in great health – let's not be fooled by the result of the last match, which I have watched as well as the previous ones," he added.

"I find Liverpool the same as always. It is clear if they miss ten goals in front of the goalkeeper and by chance everything goes wrong, as in their last game [against Leeds], a result can be questioned.

"But teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, they have the best footballers in the world, here in the Premier League, and we come to gamble against them."

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