Liverpool's confusing season continues. Beating Napoli 2-0 looks a dazzling result when set in a certain context, yet utterly meaningless in another.

Did they deliver for Jurgen Klopp? If so, why didn't they deliver for Klopp against Nottingham Forest and Leeds United on the past two Premier League weekends?

Two tap-ins ended Napoli's unbeaten run that stretched back to April, but Liverpool needed to win by four goals to pip their visitors to top spot in Champions League Group A after a shocking September night in Naples.

So Napoli advance to the last 16 as group winners, Liverpool joining them as runners-up, and that was more or less what everyone expected from the first minute of this tussle.

But just for a moment, Mohamed Salah's match-winning strike meant the world, and Darwin Nunez's last-gasp second goal of the game put a red cherry on the cake.

Liverpool were not English football's down-and-outs before this game, but some would have had them heading that way after those rotten league defeats plunged them firmly into the mid-table mud.

And this was most certainly not the old Liverpool. That team has gone for now, but Klopp commanded his charges to never "lose sight of our own qualities and our own potential", insisting they "can turn things around" and describing it as their "responsibility" to do so.

He urged the players to "change the perception that exists" of them, to summon their "bravest face" for the rest of Europe to witness, and on this night they just about obliged.

The last time Napoli visited Anfield, on November 27, 2019, it was a meeting of soaraway league leaders and a team in crisis. Liverpool led the Premier League by eight points from their nearest rivals, who at that point in the season were Leicester City.

Napoli, meanwhile, were in disarray after first-team players rebelled en masse and quit a training retreat just days before the Anfield visit. That getaway was ordered by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and there were reports of heavy fines for those that fled.

On the pitch back on that occasion, Napoli were without a win in six matches in all competitions as they arrived in Liverpool. Carlo Ancelotti was a fortnight away from the sack, while in the present day it is Klopp's position that appears at its most endangered in years.

The game finished 1-1 three years ago, Liverpool coming from behind in what one press box colleague that night described to me as the Reds' "worst performance of the season".

Liverpool went on to win the Premier League, their first domestic league title triumph since 1989-90.

Napoli are presently chasing their first Serie A crown since... 1989-90. A day after Halloween, such parallels were almost spooky, these teams seemingly heading in opposite directions.

So what did Tuesday's rematch bring? Well, firstly, a meeting of soaraway league leaders and a team in crisis.

As Liverpool's form goes from bad to worse in the Premier League, Napoli are racing away in Serie A, five points clear of second-placed Atalanta, whom they face on Saturday. They were on a 13-game winning streak ahead of this tussle, including a 4-1 mauling of Klopp's men back at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Ahead of kick-off, Klopp's agent dismissed a theory the German manager could resign, pointing to a contract that has almost four years to run. This was Klopp's 100th Champions League game, across his time with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, making him the first German boss to reach that landmark, but it arrived at a dark hour in his Reds reign.

What could he, and what could we, hope to learn? What was needed from Liverpool was a performance, something to carry into the Premier League games against Tottenham and Southampton that come before the World Cup break.

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, at 24 years and 25 days, became the youngest player in the club's history to tot up 50 Champions League appearances.

In his landmark outing, Alexander-Arnold was confronted by a defender's worst nightmare in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the young Georgian winger who is taking Europe by storm this season and shone in the first half here before fading.

Leo Ostigard thought he had headed Napoli ahead when he powered in a free-kick from Kvaratskhelia in the 53rd minute. In the 57th minute, the goal was disallowed for offside, with VAR seemingly operating at traction engine pace.

Napoli had never won away from home against an English side in European competition, drawing three times and losing on eight of their previous visits. It was looking like this might be the night they ended their wait.

And then, with five minutes plus VAR timing remaining, Salah prodded in from a foot out after Nunez's header from a corner was saved on the line.

Anfield roared, Luciano Spalletti frowned, and Jurgen Klopp allowed himself a smile before hugging the substituted Curtis Jones. Nunez tucked in from even closer range deep into stoppage time, and suddenly it was songs and good times again at the famous old ground.

Napoli should be fine and keep winning in Serie A. They impressed again, but perhaps slackened off once it became clear Liverpool would not be hitting four past them.

Quite what happens next for Liverpool is anybody's guess. They could yet head into the World Cup break in the Premier League's bottom half, or this might be a turning point.

This result and performance was "a really good reaction", according to Klopp. "I'm really happy," he told BT Sport.

His team have won five Champions League games in a row, so why wouldn't he be happy? Ah yes, the Premier League.

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."

The great Arrigo Sacchi is in awe of "genius" Luciano Spalletti's Napoli team, comparing them to his Milan side and Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.

Sacchi's Rossoneri were widely considered one of the greatest club teams of all time, but the coach sees similarities in Napoli's class of 2022-23.

The Partenopei are unbeaten through 12 matches in Serie A, opening up a five-point gap at the top already as they chase a first Scudetto since Diego Maradona's time at the club.

In the Champions League, Napoli have five wins from five, including remarkable 4-1 and 6-1 defeats of Liverpool and Ajax respectively.

Sacchi, in an interview with Il Mattino, suggested a run to the semi-finals should be "the minimum goal" for this season, while he is backing them for domestic success.

His praise went further, too, as he said: "This Napoli are spectacular and a team one step away from legend.

"They are in the wake of the greats of the past, [Rinus] Michels' Ajax, Guardiola's Barcelona and my unbeatable Milan.

"I never get tired of watching them play. How could I? There is style, there is pride, there is a spirit of belonging, there is beauty, and there is a coach who has put ideas at the centre of everything.

"In a country where we only look for profit, Spalletti focuses on merit, on strategy, and not on tactics."

Among teams in Europe's top five leagues, Napoli have won the joint-most matches in all competitions (15 – also Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain) and have the outright best winning percentage (88.2).

Only Bayern (69) and PSG (54) have netted more goals (50 for Napoli), while the Bundesliga giants are the sole side averaging more goals per game (3.45 vs 2.94).

Napoli's early season success is all the more impressive given the number of stalwart stars who left the club ahead of the campaign.

Kalidou Koulibaly and Fabian Ruiz were sold for significant fees, while greats Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne moved on at the end of their contracts.

But Napoli invested superbly, signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Kim Min-jae and a host of impressive loan recruits.

"It's a lesson for everyone: ideas are worth more than money," Sacchi continued.

"What [owner Aurelio] De Laurentiis did this summer is something extraordinary: he took semi-unknowns and put them in a project where there was a vision, which many clubs lack.

"And the rest was done by the genius of Luciano."

Until now, Napoli have pretty much risen to every challenge this season as they aim to win the Scudetto for the first time since 1990.

They sit top of the Serie A table after 10 games and are one of just two teams to not lose a game, with Luciano Spalletti's men already beating Lazio and Milan away from home.

While their past three league games – wins over Torino, Cremonese and Bologna – would have always been expected to yield Napoli victories, a slightly trickier run begins this weekend.

Before the break for the World Cup, Napoli still have to face Rangers and Liverpool in the Champions League, plus high-flying Udinese, second-placed Atalanta, Sassuolo and, first up, Jose Mourinho's in-form Roma in Serie A.

Sunday's trip to the capital poses a real threat to a historic achievement that is…

… within touching distance

While Napoli's Champions League exploits – hammering Liverpool, Rangers and Ajax, twice – have attracted plenty of praise, the true extent of their form doesn't appear to have really registered outside of Italy yet.

However, they are undeniably on a remarkable run across all competitions.

 

Napoli have won each of their past 10 matches, meaning they are just one victory away from equalling the longest such run in the club's history.

That 11-game winning streak was recorded between April and September 1986, the Diego Maradona era.

Although the run ended in September, that was still the season Napoli won their first Scudetto.

Kvaradona

Napoli may not have a player of Maradona's ilk this time, though supporters have certainly taken to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The Georgia winger only joined in pre-season, but his impact has been phenomenal.

 

Already he has been involved in 13 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions, which is more than any other Serie A player.

He heads into the weekend on a particularly effective run, too, having registered one assist in each of his past four games. The last Napoli player to have a better run (five games) was club great Lorenzo Insigne in early 2016.

The 'Kvaradona' nickname is seemingly here to stay.

 

Napoli's versatile arsenal

As good as Kvaratskhelia has been for Napoli this term, it wouldn't be fair to say they're completely dependent on him.

In fact, the Partenopei have earned themselves a reputation for being adaptable and versatile.

For starters, they've had 15 different scorers in Serie A this season, which is the joint-most with Bayern Munich across the big five leagues.

And on top of that, Napoli's 35 goals from set-pieces (including penalties) since the start of last season is more than any other Serie A team.

 

Omens on Napoli's side?

Mourinho has Roma in good shape. They're fourth in Serie A and go into the weekend having won each of their past three league games – they last managed four successive top-flight wins in August 2020.

But their recent record – for what it's worth – against Napoli is pretty poor, having only won one of their previous eight Serie A meetings, a 2-1 victory in November 2019.

On top of that, Roma are winless in their past 12 home league games against teams in the top four at the beginning of the matchday, losing the three most recent examples.

A Roma win will put them just a point behind Napoli, however. Regardless of the latter's fine start to the season, they won't be expecting a straightforward contest.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti hailed the atmosphere at the sold-out Stadio Maradona as his side fought past Ajax 4-2 to secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages.

Goals from Hirving Lozano, Giacomo Raspadori, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and Victor Osimhen saw Napoli continue their unbeaten campaign in Group A in front of a raucous home crowd.

It was a result that secured a place in the last 16 with two matches to spare.
 
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Spalletti said about the home support: "On evenings like this, you are swept along by the atmosphere. At one point, I felt dizzy and thought I could see stars going around my head.

"This qualification is down to the lads and I am fortunate to be working with a group like this. The entire city is proud of them, a city that pushed us on with the right motivation."

With another four goals tonight, the Partenopei have further demonstrated their goalscoring capabilities. 

They have now scored 17 goals in the group stages, representing the most ever by an Italian side in the group stages of the competition.

When asked about the tactics behind his free-scoring side, Spalletti said: "Systems no longer exist in football, it’s all about the spaces left by the opposition. 

"You must be quick to spot them and know the right moment to strike, have the courage to start the move even when pressed," he added.

Lozano, whose header in the third minute opened the scoring, was Napoli's ninth different goalscorer in the Champions League this season. 

And Napoli's final goal, scored by the returning Osimhen, was the their 10th, the most of any side in this season's competition.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Lozano said: "It was a great game, I think the whole team did a good job.

"I am very happy with the victory and my goal. We are all pleased to enter the history books. It was very difficult against a strong side like Ajax.

"We continue to work game after game to keep improving."

Napoli's next fixture is home to Rangers as they look to maintain their unbeaten group stage record and secure the top spot in Group A.

Luciano Spalletti declared "even Diego Maradona will have been proud" after Napoli thrashed Ajax 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Despite falling behind to Mohammed Kudus' ninth-minute opener in Amsterdam, Spalletti's side responded with goals from Giacomo Raspadori, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Piotr Zielinski putting them 3-1 up at the break.

The visitors' task was made easier after Dusan Tadic's second-half dismissal; Raspadori and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia increasing the advantage, before Giovanni Simeone sealed an emphatic victory.

Spalletti referenced the late Maradona after Napoli scored six times in a European game for the first time in their history, while Ajax suffered their heaviest defeat in all competitions since November 1964.

"When you go into a stadium like this, with that roar there, it's not easy to immediately regain the conviction in pressing and recovering after going a goal down," the Napoli coach told reporters. 

"It could have disturbed us a lot, but the team did the things it had to do; they never let themselves be influenced and won a great match.

"More than the result, it is beautiful as the performance shows us our qualities; the boys played important football and will benefit because they have all seen it. They played very good plays, even Maradona will have been proud tonight."

Continuing their perfect start to the competition after making it three wins from three, Napoli are three points clear of Liverpool at the halfway point in Group A, and in the driving seat to reach the knockout stages.

"With this victory, we have excellent chances [to qualify], but we have to achieve other results," Spalletti added. "What gives context is the quality of the opponents who we produced this performance against, they are a great club."

It's a bit early in the season to call Napoli's trip to Milan a "title clash" given we're only six games in, but for the Partenopei it is clearly an opportunity to make a statement.

Luciano Spalletti, a former Milan coach, has guided Napoli to 14 points from their first six matches, and they sit top of the fledgling table ahead of Atalanta and the Rossoneri on goal difference.

While Milan have already beaten bitter rivals Inter this term, Napoli haven't had the chance for such a signal of intent – at least, not in Serie A.

But neither Spalletti nor Stefano Pioli will be able to rely on their star men in San Siro on Sunday, adding to the unpredictability of a match that promises excitement.

Sorely missed

Rafael Leao and Victor Osimhen will miss this contest due to suspension and injury, respectively. Both absences are bitter blows to not only the teams, but fans tuning in.

Leao has been an especially key figure for Milan over the past year or so. Since the start of last season, he has played in 40 out of a possible 44 matches, with only Alexis Saelemaekers and Sandro Tonali (both 41) appearing more regularly.

Their win percentage with him stands at 70, while they average 2.3 points with Leao on the pitch. Of the four games he has missed, Milan have only won two.

Over the same period, Osimhen has missed 12 league games for Napoli. Their win rate increases from 58.3 per cent to 65.6 per cent when he plays, and their goals average goes up to 2.2 from 1.5 per game. Similarly, he's the only current Napoli player to score 10 or more Serie A goals (16) in that time.

The opportunity is there for others to step up in their absence.

 

At home on the road

As their position at the Serie A summit suggests, Napoli have enjoyed a fine start to the season, and their Champions League demolition of Liverpool made even more people sit up and take note.

Any successful team cannot just rely on a vociferous home support, however, and Napoli have made decent early strides in that regard, amassing seven points from their first three away Serie A games.

If they can avoid defeat on Sunday, they'll be unbeaten after the first four away games in an Italian top-flight season for the third campaign in succession, a feat no team has ever achieved before.

Granted, Milan's recent home form is decent, having won six on the trot in San Siro, which is their best run since 2013 (eight successive wins). But it was Napoli who ended that run, and the Partenopei are also hoping to rack up three consecutive away league victories over Milan for the first time in 43 years.

Party up front, business in the back

Yes, that's not quite how the saying goes, but this altered phrase is more applicable to Napoli. They have been exciting to watch going forward this term, with Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Andre-Franck Zambo Aguissa and Piotr Zielinski all catching the eye on the offensive.

But credit where it's due to Spalletti's side when they're not on the attack, as Napoli have been solid defensively.

Stretching back into last season, they have kept six clean sheets in their past nine Serie A games, including three in six this term.

Even when they have conceded, Napoli possess the necessary mentality – and ability – to fight back, with their six points gained from losing positions second only to Milan's seven in 2022-23.

 

Milan unbeaten, Napoli with everything to prove

Milan's title success last season was helped massively by their exceptionally strong end to the campaign.

They finished 2021-22 with six successive wins and went on an undefeated run that stretched back to January 17 when they suffered a shock 2-1 loss at home to Spezia.

Milan have since stretched that unbeaten streak to 22 league games, which is their longest such run since a 27-match undefeated run ended in January 2021.

That form highlights the task that Napoli face on Sunday, though by the same token, being the team to halt such a sequence would surely show Spalletti's team mean business.

Bayern Munich supporters protested against football fans being impacted by the death of Queen Elizabeth II during their Champions League fixture against Barcelona, unfurling a banner that called for authorities to "respect fans".

The Premier League postponed a full fixture programme last weekend following the passing of the UK's longest-reigning monarch, with the English Football League doing likewise.

While English top-flight football will resume on Friday, Manchester United's match against Leeds United, as well as Liverpool's trip to Chelsea, will not take place due to policing concerns on the weekend of the Queen's funeral.

The situation has also impacted European football; Arsenal's Europa League clash with PSV has been called off, while Rangers' Champions League meeting with Napoli was pushed back by one day.

Policing issues also mean Napoli are unable to take any supporters to Scotland for that match, which coach Luciano Spalletti described as a "real penalty" on Tuesday.

Against this backdrop, Bayern's fans displayed a message in the 26th minute of their match against Barcelona, which read: "Last-minute match delays and bans because of a royal's death? Respect fans!"  

Second-half goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane helped Bayern to a 2-0 win over the Blaugrana, maintaining their perfect start to the Champions League campaign.

Luciano Spalletti acknowledged Napoli's 4-1 Champions League hammering of Liverpool will cause a "stir" as he urged his players to deliver again after laying down a benchmark.

Goals from Piotr Zielinski, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone sent Napoli in 3-0 up at half-time, though it could have been four if Victor Osimhen's penalty was not saved by Alisson.

That marked just the fourth occasion Liverpool have found themselves three goals down at the interval in the Champions League, with Zielinski adding a fourth soon after the break.

Luis Diaz curled in a fine curling effort to reduce the deficit, but the Reds never recovered from a toothless showing as they fell to their joint-heaviest defeat in the competition.

Napoli are also unbeaten in their last nine Champions League home matches (W6 D3), scoring 20 goals and conceding just five in this spell – which includes three wins over Liverpool.

With an impressive showing in UEFA's flagship club competition, Spalletti suggested his side have placed a marker for their performances and must seize the initiative after a memorable victory.

"It is an important result because the measures are always taken based on who the opponent is, and they are called Liverpool so the result will cause a bit of a stir," coach Spalletti told Amazon Prime Video.

"What becomes fundamental is to play the football we know how to do and follow it up for 95 minutes, without going in flashes, that highlights the level of personality."

Asked if the victory served as a lesson for what Napoli could achieve, Spalletti added: "No lessons, no presumption, no arrogance.

"When you play for Napoli you have to do this every day. We played a good game, now let's think about Spezia."

Napoli will look to capitalise on the impetus from their victory over Liverpool when they host Spezia on Saturday before facing Rangers, who were smashed 4-0 by Ajax in Wednesday's other Group A game.

Piotr Zielinski struck twice and assisted another as Liverpool's poor start to the season continued with a humbling 4-1 defeat at Napoli in their Champions League opener.

Jurgen Klopp's side have underwhelmed in their first six Premier League games, winning just twice, and were behind after only five minutes in Naples following Zielinski's penalty.

Alisson denied Victor Osimhen's spot-kick just 13 minutes later, but Napoli were 3-0 up at half-time after strikes from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone, the latter on his Champions League debut.

Zielinski finished past Alisson again after the interval before Luiz Diaz responded with a bending effort – a mere consolation goal for Liverpool in the Group A encounter.

Osimhen rounded Alisson before striking the post with just a minute played, but Napoli were soon ahead after James Milner handled Zielinski's effort inside the area.

Zielinski found the bottom-left corner from the resulting penalty and another spot-kick arrived soon after when VAR sent referee Carlos del Cerro Grande to check a Virgil van Dijk foul on Osimhen, who was then denied by Alisson diving to his right.

Van Dijk cleared off the line with the goal gaping for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia but Napoli doubled their lead when Zielinski teed up Anguissa, who fired under the onrushing Alisson.

Alex Meret tipped away a goal-bound Van Dijk header before Simeone, on for the injured Osimhen, turned Kvaratskhelia's driven cross into an empty net on the stroke of half-time.

Zielinski doubled his account just two minutes after the break, dinking over Alisson on the rebound following Simeone's pass, before Diaz curled into the bottom-right corner after Andy Robertson's offload.

Meret pushed a powerful Diaz header over from Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross but Liverpool were unable to recover after a toothless first-half showing.

What does it mean? Liverpool's group-stage run ends as Napoli struggles continue

Liverpool cruised to six wins from as many group-stage games in last year's competition but their attempts to become the first English side to win seven straight such matches ended abruptly.

The Reds have conceded the first goal in five games in all competitions this season, the joint-most of any Premier League side, and were never going to recover after finding themselves three down at half-time in the Champions League for just a fourth time.

Liverpool's third Champions League defeat at Napoli in the last five seasons leaves Group A wide open after the first matchday, in which Ajax smashed Rangers 4-0 in Wednesday's other game.

Kvaratskhelia leaves Trent spinning

Klopp heaped praise on Luciano Spalletti's "interesting project" before the clash and pinpointed Zielinski as the main threat – and the midfielder responded with two goals and an assist.

But Kvaratskhelia should also take the plaudits after regularly tormenting Alexander-Arnold, creating a team-high three chances – one of those the assist for Simeone's goal – before his 57th-minute removal.

Van Dijk dives in

Van Dijk epitomises Klopp's revolution at Liverpool, with his calmness and authority in defence characterising the dominant Reds, but his performances have left much to be desired in recent weeks.

The centre-back fouled Osimhen for the second spot-kick, the second penalty he has conceded in his last seven appearances for the Reds. He had previously not given one away in 150 games in all competitions.

What's next?

Liverpool will aim to recover when they return to Premier League action at home to Wolves on Saturday, while Napoli host Spezia in Serie A on the same day.

Jurgen Klopp kept his message to his Liverpool players simple ahead of their Champions League opener at Napoli, urging the Reds to "play better" after previous struggles in Naples.

Wednesday will mark the third time Napoli and Liverpool have met in the Champions League group stage in the past five seasons, with the Italian side winning home games against the Reds in both 2018-19 (1-0) and 2019-20 (2-0).

Klopp also lost 2-1 at Napoli while Borussia Dortmund coach, and he knows his players must improve on these previous showings.

"I'm a late bloomer," he said. "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."

Despite Liverpool's poor record at Napoli, the Reds have won each of their last three away games against Italian sides in European competition, although the Partenopei have five victories in six Champions League home games against Premier League opposition.

Luciano Spalletti will be in the opposite dugout to Klopp this time around, and the German heaped praise on the Napoli coach and his squad.

"He is a real great of the game, worked all over the world, very successful, you can always see his stamp on the team," Klopp added.

"It's always clear who is the coach, I respect that a lot. Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

"[The Napoli players] 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 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 [Piotr] 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. Spalletti is a good coach, so nobody should be surprised, and he's obviously pretty relaxed about maybe some nervous things around. So, it's probably a really good fit – that's how it looks."

Arthur Melo, on loan at Liverpool from Juventus, will be familiar with Napoli after his exploits in Serie A and could make his debut against Spalletti's side, but Klopp warns the midfielder will need time to settle.

"Arthur needs now just football – and training, especially – that's how it is. He wasn't in team training for a while at Juve, so he needs proper team training – and that's what we are doing with him," Klopp explained.

"Can he play minutes? Yes. Should he play full game? No, because he needs to get used to the intensity in each competition. It's not like in the Champions League you have to work less than in the Premier League.

"Not at all, especially not here. He is doing well, he is really giving his absolute all in training. We have to be careful with him as well, and then we will see whether we can use him."

Napoli would find it difficult to say no to a €100million (£85m) offer should Manchester United make a move for Victor Osimhen, head coach Luciano Spalletti has said.

United have reportedly been weighing up a big-money bid for the Nigeria forward, though those rumours have quietened since their focus switched to signing Antony from Ajax.

Osimhen has also attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Bayern Munich this window, but he remains a Napoli player ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline.

However, speaking after Napoli's goalless draw with Fiorentina on Sunday, Spalletti admitted his side would struggle to turn down a mammoth sum for the 22-year-old.

"The club thinks of any situation that is of interest to our players," he told DAZN. "I say that if a club offers you €100m, it is not easy to say no. 

"Since I arrived here, all the players have been on the market for the right price."

Osimhen directly contributed to 24 goals in all competitions for Napoli last term and has two goals and an assist in his first three Serie A appearances this campaign.

The former Lille attacker has also been touted as a possible makeweight in a swap deal involving Cristiano Ronaldo, who is seeking Champions League football.

Asked if Osimhen is open to joining a new club, Spalletti said: "He gave his response before, saying he wants to play in the Champions League with this team.

"He cares about his team-mates, he chases down opposition players to help out and is a very strong focal point in attack. 

"Having him at our disposal with that mentality is the best we could ask for."

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti would love to see Cristiano Ronaldo move to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

He doubts it will happen before the transfer deadline on Thursday, but Spalletti made it clear he believes Ronaldo could make a big impact on his team.

Ronaldo is no stranger to Serie A after spending three seasons at Juventus, and Napoli have been linked with a move for the 37-year-old in recent days.

He continues to be linked with an exit after starting just once this season under new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, having joined the Red Devils when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was boss 12 months ago.

Dutchman Ten Hag said on Saturday, after Ronaldo played as a substitute in the 1-0 win at Southampton: "We want him to stay."

There is time for movement, however, before the exit door closes, with Ronaldo reportedly keen to play Champions League football in the new season, which is something United cannot offer.

Talk of a swap deal involving Napoli's Victor Osimhen was brushed aside by Osimhen's agent this week, with Roberto Calenda writing on Twitter: "No negotiations in progress, no exchanges."

Now Spalletti has offered his personal view on Ronaldo, saying on Saturday: "Anyone would like to coach him, but as Osimhen's agent said there is no negotiation. [Napoli owner Aurelio] De Laurentiis also confirmed this."

With the window closing, Spalletti added: "I see it as difficult."

Ronaldo has had little to say about his future. He has been tipped for moves to the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Sporting CP and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks, but nothing has materialised. Last season, he was United's 24-goal leading scorer across all competitions.

Spalletti is one of the first significant figures to openly enthuse about the prospect of signing the veteran former Real Madrid forward during this twilight phase of his rightly lauded career.

He sees no problem with integrating Ronaldo, should he ever become available to Napoli.

"We are talking about someone who has won more championships, scored more goals, has the quality to be anywhere on the pitch," said Spalletti, quoted by Corriere dello Sport, ahead of his team's match at Fiorentina on Sunday.

"He is someone who resolves things on his own. The problem would not exist in one way or another."

Napoli are closing in on the signing of Verona striker Giovanni Simeone as Luciano Spalletti said the Serie A club are beginning a "new cycle" following a host of big-name exits.

Spalletti's team threatened a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era before tailing off to finish third last season, but have since seen the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne depart.

Reports have suggested Napoli will combat the losses of Mertens and Insigne – the top two goalscorers in the club's history – by bringing in Verona striker Simeone on an initial loan deal.

Simeone – the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone – scored 17 Serie A goals last season, a tally bettered only by Ciro Immobile (27), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Lautaro Martinez (21).

The Argentine averaged a goal every 157 minutes throughout the campaign, converting 55 per cent of his big chances.

Ahead of Napoli travelling to Verona for their Serie A opener on Monday, Spalletti revealed the striker's arrival was imminent as he pledged to rebuild the Partenopei's side.

"If everything is okay, of course he will come, we are waiting for him, if you stay, say hello to him too!" Spalletti said amid reports Simeone was undergoing a medical with Napoli.

"He is one we need and Naples is what he needs, it is a correct purchase.

"We will do our best right away, and that I am convinced that we will make the fans fall in love again, as happened last year.

"Now we are talking about a Napoli that no longer sees in their ranks the most important players, and there is talk of players for a new cycle.

"It's a responsibility that stimulates me a lot. Of course, a little support from the city and society is needed, the most difficult things are those of the changing room dynamics.

"They changed without [Faouzi] Ghoulam, [David] Ospina, Mertens and Insigne. In addition to the game dynamics there are those of character, and we have to recreate those there. I'm not afraid of anything." 

Napoli have announced the signing of central defender Kim Min-jae from Fenerbahce, shelling out a reported €19.5million for the South Korea international in a bid to replace Kalidou Koulibaly.

Luciano Spalletti's team finished third in Serie A after threatening a first Scudetto win since the Diego Maradona era last term, conceding the joint-fewest goals in the division (31, alongside Milan).

But the Partenopei have been in the market for reinforcements since they lost defensive colossus Koulibaly to Chelsea in a €40m deal earlier this month.

Kim, who has 42 caps for his country and will hope to feature when they open their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on November 24, is the man Napoli have signed to fill that void after he enjoyed an impressive one-season spell in Turkey.

Having contributed to Fenerbahce conceding just 38 league goals last term, the towering 25-year-old has penned a three-year deal with the option of two further seasons in Italy.

Reports also suggest Kim will have a release clause of €45million.

Napoli begin their 2022-23 Serie A campaign at Verona on August 15 but have endured a troubled off-season, losing both Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne during the transfer window, while president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed on Saturday that club legend Dries Mertens is also departing.

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