How Liverpool’s starting line-up looked the only time they avoided defeat away to Napoli

Liverpool visit Naples tonight in a mouth-watering Champions League group opener.


It’s a familiar journey for Liverpool as they’re drawn with Napoli for the third time in the last five seasons. The Reds also met the Neopolitans in a Europa League group tie in 2010/11.


Of those six matches, Liverpool have a beautifully symmetrical record: won two, lost two, drawn two.

However, their record when visiting the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona is decidedly worse. In their three visits, Liverpool are yet to win. In fact, they only avoided defeat there once – their first visit in October 2010. Here’s the team that lined up for them that day.Liverpool visit Naples



The 2010/11 season is one that few Liverpool supporters remember fondly. As a result there may be one or two surprises here. Roy Hodgson was the manager and as Autumn came, he was already under pressure.


At least he could still rely on the heroics of Pepe Reina, entering his sixth season at the club. Another legend in the line-up was Jamie Carragher, who played at centre-back alongside Martin Skrtel.


For a defensive spine, that wasn’t too bad. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Liverpool kept a clean sheet that day. That Paul Konchesky and Martin Kelly made up the rest of the defence though, means that it certainly was.


In something of a break from tradition for Hodgson, Liverpool played something resembling a 4-3-3 in Naples.Liverpool visit Naples


Whereas Liverpool may field the likes of Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara tonight, back in 2010 it was a little different.


Yes, they still had a bald schemer in the middle of the pitch, but that man was Jonjo Shelvey. Jay Spearing accompanied him in stodgy looking midfield, with Christian Poulsen making up the trio.


If Liverpool’s midfield was poor, then the attack wasn’t all that much better. Ryan Babel had come to Liverpool to much fanfare three years earlier, but was now reduced to the Europa League graveyard shift.


Playing with him was David N’Gog, who despite his limitations managed several big moments in a Liverpool shirt.

The same couldn’t be said of Milan Jovanovic. Brought in for nothing from Standard Liege that summer, Jovanovic had unfortunately become a symbol of the supporters discontent with Hodgson.


He managed just two goals in his 18 Liverpool appearances, and couldn’t find the net in Naples. Off the bench came, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Fabio Aurelio and Joe Cole.


Napoli, under Walter Mazzarri, were not quite the side they have since become. Still, Liverpool managed to keep the likes of Edinson Cavani, Ezequial Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik at bay. Fingers crossed Liverpool tonight can go one better still.

Liverpool XI vs Napoli 21st October 2010: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky; Shelvey, Spearing, Poulsen; Babel, N’Gog, Jovanovic


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