Liverpool found that out to their detriment as they succumbed to a late Lorenzo Insigne goal which gave the Azzurri an important three points. The win was no doubt vital for the Azzurri in terms of allowing them to take a giant step to qualify for the knock-out stages of Champions League.
But after watching Napoli this season, this win over The Reds is worth more than its weight in gold and represents a boost for the Naples side and its manager Carlo Ancelotti. Ever since replacing Maurizio Sarri at the helm, Ancelotti is still in the stages of experimentation with his team.
In adopting a rotational squad policy, the former AC Milan manager is therefore trying to deconstruct Sarri’s identity while gradually stamping his own authority on Napoli. The defeat to Juventus last weekend was no doubt a blow for his men but this win over Liverpool proves that Ancelotti is on the right track.
It was evident in the way Napoli played as they shut down the wide avenues which prevented the likes of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah from exploiting the spaces. Ancelotti had definitely studied his opponent as his team were compact in defence and tactically disciplined.
Compared to Sarri, the Partenopei under Ancelotti is unpredictable underscored by how he left out key midfielder Piotr Zieliński in the starting line-up. However it must be said that traces of Sarri’s work are still evident especially in the quick inter-play between the forwards and the hogging of possession.
Moving forward it would be interesting to see how this Napoli team morph further and what the final product will be. At the moment it is anyone’s guess.