Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti believes that Liverpool are an even better side after their Champions League win last season, as the clubs prepare to go head-to-head in the competition again.
Lorenzo Insigne’s last-gasp strike was all that separated the sides in the corresponding group-stage fixture last season, before the Reds prevailed in the reverse encounter at Anfield.
With the teams paired together in the Champions League for the second successive season, Ancelotti is aware of the visitors’ threat but claims Napoli have also improved ahead of clash on Tuesday night.
He said: “We’re playing the best team in Europe and they haven’t dropped any points in the Premier League yet.
“The result is very important in matches like this but it’s even more important we have the confidence to match the best teams out there.
“Last year we were in a really tough group and we very nearly qualified. We’re determined to erase the disappointment of last season, which had a psychological effect on us in Serie A too.
“Normally it’s the European champions who are favourites but we hope it ends the same way as last year’s game at the San Paolo.
“Liverpool have improved because winning the Champions League gives you belief.
“Napoli have improved too and we’ve bolstered our squad with the addition of some quality players. I think it will be a great game – hard fought and intense.”
Liverpool pipped Napoli in qualifying for the last 16 last term by virtue of scoring more goals in the group stage after the teams could not be split on points and a number of other determining factors.
The Reds went on to scoop the most prestigious trophy in European club competition, but glory does not appear to have blunted their ambition as they have started the Premier League campaign with five straight wins.