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Liverpool and Napoli rejoin battle for top spot

Section leaders Liverpool FC would move on to the brink of qualification by beating SSC Napoli on Matchday 4, but their visitors know an away win would change the complexion of Group K.

Action from the clubs' first meeting, a goalless draw on 21 October
Action from the clubs' first meeting, a goalless draw on 21 October ©Getty Images

A 0-0 draw in Naples on 21 October kept Liverpool FC top of UEFA Europa League Group K, while a victory against SSC Napoli at Anfield would leave them on the brink of confirming a round of 32 place.

• Should the Reds win, they need only avoid defeat at FC Steaua Bucureşti on Matchday 5 to confirm their progress.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time on Matchday 3 in what was Napoli's first match against an English club.

• Liverpool's 22 games against Italian opponents have ended W7 D5 L10 (W5 D0 L3 at home).

Match background
• Liverpool are unbeaten in eight European games (six wins and two draws) since a 1-0 loss at Club Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Liverpool have won all seven European games at Anfield since they last lost at home, 2-1 to ACF Fiorentina in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Napoli have not lost in five European games this season, but are on a run of three straight draws at the moment.

• They have lost only one of their last five European away games, going down 2-0 at SL Benfica in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round.

Team facts
• Napoli and fellow Italian club Juventus have been caught offside fewer than any other team in the group stage this season, with the flag being raised against them just twice each in the first three matchdays.

• Napoli left-back Andrea Dossena knows Liverpool well having spent 18 months there prior to moving back to his homeland in January. Capped ten times by Italy, Dossena joined Liverpool from Udinese Calcio in 2008, and at the time was only the club's second Italian signing, following in the footsteps of Daniele Padelli – a goalkeeper brought in on loan from UC Sampdoria in 2007.

• Napoli midfielder Hassan Yebda spent last season on loan in England with Portsmouth FC, though his side were relegated from the Premier League.

• Liverpool's Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen knows Italian football well having played for Juventus from 2008 until he moved to Merseyside this summer.

• A schoolteacher and semi-professional defender, Roy Hodgson won four Swedish titles – with Halmstads BK and Malmö FF – and a Danish crown with FC København as a coach. Switzerland, Blackburn Rovers FC, the United Arab Emirates, Viking FK and Finland are also among his many and varied employers. He has also coached in Italy, taking charge of FC Internazionale Milano and Udinese.

• While at Inter, Hodgson faced Napoli on six occasions with a record reading W3 D2 L1 (W2 D1 L0 at home).

• A midfielder who spent most of his playing career outside Serie A, Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri worked his way up as a coach, making a major breakthrough by leading AS Livorno Calcio into the top division in 2003/04. Spells at Reggina Calcio and Sampdoria followed before he took the Napoli job in October 2009.