Carlo Ancelotti joked he will call Zlatan Ibrahimovic about a move to Napoli following Saturday's 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic talked up his chances of a return to Serie A as the 38-year-old expressed his interest in playing for Ancelotti's Napoli.

Former Juventus, Inter and AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Italy's top flight during an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

Responding to Ibrahimovic's comments after Arkadiusz Milik's double guided Napoli past Verona, head coach Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia: "I'll call him tonight and say we're waiting!

"I have a great deal of affection for him, I saw he scored 29 goals in 30 MLS games.

"Tomorrow, after I've called him, I'll let you know how it went!"

Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy are in action in the MLS play-offs on Sunday.

The Galaxy will meet Minnesota United for a spot in the Western Conference semi-finals against Supporters' Shield champions Los Angeles FC.

Ibrahimovic netted 30 goals during the regular season, four adrift of top scorer and LAFC captain Carlos Vela.

Ex-Manchester United star Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the season and the veteran has been linked with a return to Italy, as well as Argentine giants Boca Juniors – where Roma great Daniele De Rossi is based.

Carlo Ancelotti is pleased to have the full backing of Aurelio De Laurentiis and has thanked Napoli's chairman for clarifying "lies" that surfaced in the media.

Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport this month reported Ancelotti is considering his future at Stadio San Paolo following a difficult run of form.

Napoli entered the international break on the back of one win in four matches in all competitions and already trail Serie A leaders Juventus by six points.

De Laurentiis this week rubbished suggestions he had fallen out with Ancelotti and assured the veteran coach he can stay on for another decade should he wish.

Ancelotti has reiterated he is happy in Naples and is keen to get his side's campaign back on track, starting with victory at home to Hellas Verona on Saturday.

"De Laurentiis' comments cleared up the rubbish we've heard people saying about us," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"We have an excellent relationship and I'm very happy here. What the president said came from the heart. 

"I'm pleased he has confidence in me and I'm also happy he cleared up some of the lies that have been going around.

"What matters now is that we look forward and get back to winning again. We have a very important game tomorrow which gives us the chance to pick up three points and get going again."

Back-to-back goalless draws have been compounded by tension between Ancelotti and captain Lorenzo Insigne, who was left out of the squad for the stalemate with Genk.

Insigne admitted this week he does not always see eye-to-eye with his coach, though Ancelotti has talked up the forward's importance.

"The situation with Lorenzo is not at all complicated," he said. "He made an excellent start to the season then he had a dip in form and I decided to rest him. 

"He's a key player when he's relaxed, happy and able to fire up the team as he does so well. He's less effective when he's on edge because he's not able to express his full potential.

"I didn't think he looked sharp in training and decided that it was best [to leave him out against Genk] - a strong decision perhaps but it's all cleared up. I repeat, Insigne is a hugely important player for us."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted there will be a time when he will have to sell star defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best and most in-demand defenders in the world since joining Napoli from Genk in 2014.

The 28-year-old Senegal international was heavily linked to Manchester United before the Premier League giants signed Harry Maguire in a world-record transfer prior to the transfer window closing.

Koulibaly continues to be linked to United and when asked about Napoli's centre-back, De Laurentiis told Sky Sport Italia: "I loved Koulibaly the man so I refused €105million, but a time will come when I'll have to sell him. Whoever says we didn't improve our defence is wrong."

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also attracting plenty of interest amid links to LaLiga pair Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in a €30m deal in 2018-19 and the Spaniard has starred in Serie A.

"Fabian's always been a top player," De Laurentiis said. "If I convince myself to pay a stranger €30m, I do it for a reason and now I know why.

"It's one thing to play for your country and another to do it for a team who play every three days. We found Fabian, but we'll find more like him. The door's always open. I don't get attached to players."

The futures of Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon are also uncertain, with the Napoli duo linked with moves to the Chinese Super League.

"I'm absolutely not prepared to make a major effort for them," De Laurentiis added. "Each player has a value, depending on where they play, how they play, how old they are and what they do.

"If they want to sell themselves out in China, overpaid to live a life of s*** for two or three years, it's their problem. I can't consider China to be competitive. China's far away. If they consider it to be close, it's their problem.

"In life, you have to choose whether to be happy and find a job you enjoy doing or work just for money. For me, money is a means and not an end; if it's an end for them then they should go to China."

De Laurentiis also said Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne must "change his attitude" as he threw his support behind head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Amid reports of a tense relationship between Insigne and Ancelotti, De Laurentiis added: "I didn't fight with Ancelotti, he can stay here for another 10 years. In cinema, my relationships, like my one with [director Carlo] Verdone, last a long time.

"Insigne's an excellent sportsman, but he must stay calm, change his attitude and lay off certain things. He's always had an attitude of discomfort in Naples. I understand him, I protect him and I like him a lot, but he's always found his situation in Naples to be uncomfortable. Therefore, I just want to say that he needs to calm down and become a more peaceful person, but that's his problem. Neither [agent Mino] Raiola nor Ancelotti can resolve that.

"He's a great player and he can be in good form or bad form. If he's less so, it's up to the coach not to play him. Insigne can't come out cracking jokes or with an 'almost' defiant attitude. The coach is a family man, 60 years old, and won't tell you to get lost because he's three times your age."

Where will Fabian Ruiz be playing by the end of January?

Napoli will be hoping Fabian remains at Stadio San Paolo.

However, LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are determined to bring the former Real Betis midfielder back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID SURPASS BARCA IN BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Madrid have moved ahead of Barca in the race for Napoli star Fabian and want to sign the midfielder in January, according to Marca.

Fabian has attracted plenty of interest since swapping Betis for Serie A side Napoli, where the Spaniard has starred since his €30milion arrival in 2018.

Barca have been keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, but rivals Madrid have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Fabian is of interest, Tuttosport says Barca are eyeing Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who has a €111m release clause.

- There is plenty happening at Camp Nou. Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are willing to let Ivan Rakitic and Carles Alena leave in January. Barca are also reportedly not interested in signing a new centre-back as they trust Jean-Clair Todibo or Ronald Araujo, with Marca saying right-back is an area they are looking to strengthen.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Fiorentina are targeting in-demand Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old has been linked to Juventus and Manchester United.

- AS claims Madrid are considering a move for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, before his contract expires at the end of the season.

Hakan Calhanoglu's time at AC Milan could be coming to an end, with Calciomercato reporting the struggling Serie A side may sell the 25-year-old. Calhanoglu has struggled for consistency since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017.

Barca are lining up an approach for PSV sensation Donyell Malen, according to Sport. It comes as AS reports Ernesto Valverde's side are set to hand contract extensions to Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Nelson Semedo.

Either through injuries or dips in form, Luis Suarez has started to show signs of regression at Barcelona and they are planning for a future without him.

The Uruguayan striker has been a remarkable player for Barca, but at 32 he is approaching the twilight of his career and the Blaugrana have been considering who they might want to replace him with when the time comes.

Meanwhile, one player recently heavily linked with Barca could be signing a new contract with his current employers.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DRAW UP STRIKERS SHORTLIST

Barca have significantly strengthened several areas of their team in recent transfer windows, with Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo, Frenkie de Jong and Neto bolstering their options.

They are now beginning to turn their attentions to the central striker role, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The publication reports Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is the ideal target, though Barca are said to be hopeful of getting him on a cut-price deal in 2021 after he has entered the final year of his contract, assuming he does not sign an extension in the meantime.

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane is also said to be high up their list, despite their being acknowledgement that his wages would be more of an issue than the transfer fee.

The other two reportedly being considered are Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca missed out on securing the return of Neymar in the most recent transfer window and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG are now planning to offer the Brazilian a new bumper contract.

- The LaLiga champions are also looking at midfield reinforcements with potential. Napoli's Fabian RuizEduardo Camavinga of Rennes and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz are all being considered, though Mundo Deportivo say Real Madrid are also tracking the trio with intent.

Christian Eriksen's future has been a hot topic for the last few months, with the Tottenham midfielder's contract ending next year. Sport1 in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already been in touch with him.

Liverpool are hoping to sign Brighton and Hove Albion-owned centre-back Ben White, 21, according to the Sun. The defender is impressing on loan at Leeds United and the Reds see him as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who is said to be eager for a move to get first-team football.

- Despite languishing 12th in the Premier League after a wretched start to the season, the Daily Mail say Manchester United will not be splashing the cash in the January transfer window.

- But the Daily Express report United have reached a "verbal agreement" with Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, who are said to be demanding £10million for the Croatian forward.

Lorenzo Insigne says he does not always see eye-to-eye with Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti but has underlined his commitment to delivering success this season.

Ancelotti guided Napoli to a second-placed Serie A finish in his first season in charge at Stadio San Paolo last time out, with Insigne scoring 10 goals in 28 league appearances.

But Napoli are fourth in the table after seven matches in 2019-20 – already six points behind leaders Juventus - while one goal in Insigne's past five league games represents a disappointing run of form.

The Italy international admits his relationship with Ancelotti is unusual but has denied suggestions the coach has played him out of position.

"My rapport with Ancelotti is a bit odd, as at times we have had rows, but that's all down to our respective personalities," Insigne told Rai Sport.

"There is a difference of character between us. We happen to squabble, but Carlo remains a great coach and I hope to win with him.

"He has not imposed a role on me I did not want since he took over at Napoli.

"Sometimes, when I get over-tired or anxious at training, it can happen that I respond to his observations, but these are things that end there. I often joke with the coach."

Insigne also sent a message to any Napoli fans doubting his commitment to his hometown club.

The 28-year-old, four times a Serie A runner-up with the Partenopei, said: "Some Napoli fans haven't understood me, as they consider me arrogant, as if they have a different image of how I am in reality.

"I hope that they can change their minds and stand by me, because I'd get myself killed for the Napoli jersey.

"The time has come for Napoli to win. We’ve been waiting too long now."

Manchester United are in crisis - and the Red Devils might try to spend their way out of trouble.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side 12th in the Premier League and only two points off the relegation zone, additions to the squad seem inevitable in January.

The latest transfer rumours suggest a raft of players could be heading to Old Trafford in a bid to stop the rot.


TOP STORY – FOXES DUO ON UNITED'S RADAR

Harry Maguire has already made the move from Leicester City to Manchester United and, according to the Sun, the Red Devils want to raid the club again in January. The UK newspaper claims a £130million double swoop is being lined up for Ben Chilwell and James Maddison.

Goal reports West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly are also targets for United, regardless of Solskjaer's future. United also continue to be linked with striker Mario Mandzukic, who is struggling for minutes under new Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri.


ROUND-UP

- United are struggling but Everton have been even worse, with the Toffees in the relegation zone after eight games of the new season. According to a report in UK tabloid the Daily Star, Marco Silva has been given three games to save his job. Unfortunately for Silva, the third game of that run is against his old club Watford in the EFL Cup. The Hornets surely would love to push Silva towards the sack.

- England boss Gareth Southgate will hand Chelsea starlet Mason Mount his first international start when the Three Lions take on the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday, reports Sky Sports. Mount has impressed for the Blues this season, scoring four goals in eight Premier League starts.

- The forward has spent his whole career at Bayern Munich, but Thomas Muller could be moving on. The ex-Germany international has slipped out of favour under Niko Kovac and is not content to play a back-up role. According to Bild, Muller will seek a move in January.

- Sampdoria are closing in on an agreement with Claudio Ranieri to become their new coach. Bottom of Serie A, Samp are seeking a replacement for the sacked Eusebio Di Francesco. According to various Italian outlets including Sky Sport Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Samp could pay Ranieri - who led Leicester City to the Premier League title - €1million a year. Ranieri also replaced Di Francesco after he was sacked by Roma last season.

- Right-back Elseid Hysaj could leave Napoli during the January transfer window, his agent Mario Giuffredi has told Rete Sport. Hysaj was previously linked with Manchester United and Juventus, but Giuffredi indicated Roma would be his client's preferred destination. A fee of around €30m has been mooted for the Albania international.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says he cried when he sacked Carlo Ancelotti.

The Italian was fired by the Bundesliga giants in September 2017 after a 3-0 Champions League defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

Ancelotti led Bayern to the Bundesliga title in his only full season in charge, but poor performances in Europe saw him depart.

Rummenigge was tasked with informing the former Chelsea and Real Madrid head coach of Bayern's decision to move him on, with the experience proving emotional for Bayern's chairman.

"First of all, I think Ancelotti is a good manager," former Germany striker Rummenigge said on Thursday. "Unfortunately, Bayern were not going well after a year and a half and Ancelotti did not get the results we were expecting in the second season.

"But Ancelotti is a good man, a real friend for me. He is always incredibly calm. I have worked with a lot of managers, each with different skills and abilities. But only Ancelotti has the ability to always stay calm, even during difficult moments.

"I remember I had the task to sack him. I was about to cry. Ancelotti understood the situation, he gave me a hug and said: 'It's fine. You are not my boss anymore, but we are still friends.'

"So, I cried because I was not expecting those words from him in that moment. He was not upset. I realised he was a really good man."

Ancelotti is now in charge of Napoli, who are fourth in the Serie A table having taken one win from their past four games in all competitions.

The 60-year-old is one of only three coaches to win the Champions League or European Cup three times, along with Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane.

Neymar may not have secured his return to Barcelona, but the Paris Saint-Germain star's future continues to make headlines.

The Brazil forward was keen on making a Barca comeback, two years after his world-record transfer to the French capital.

But as Antoine Griezmann struggles to settle in at Camp Nou, the Frenchman could see himself shipped out to make way for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR & GRIEZMANN IN SWAP DEAL

Barcelona are considering the possibility of sending Griezmann to Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar, claims Le10Sport.

Neymar was unable to secure a return to Barca during the transfer window following his €222million exit in 2017.

But as Griezmann – who only arrived from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in the off-season – finds it difficult to settle and develop a relationship with Lionel Messi, the Barca recruit is being talked about as a possible makeweight.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City star James Maddison is Tottenham's number one target to replace soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen, according to the Daily Star. Maddison has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Real Madrid could trigger Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak's €120m release clause as Thibaut Courtois struggles at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to ElDesmarque.

- The front page of Corriere dello Sport says Lazio have signed star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to a new contract until 2024. The deal, worked out in secret for another season, appears to end speculation of a move to the likes of InterUnited, Real Madrid, Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain.

Gennaro Gattuso could make a sensational return to AC Milan, but only in an unlikely scenario. Amid mounting pressure on coach Marco Giampaolo, El Corriere claims Gattuso – who stepped down at the end of 2018-19 – would make his way back to San Siro if directors Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban quit.

- The Express says Chelsea will offer Willian a new contract amid links to LaLiga champions Barcelona. It comes as the Evening Standard reports the Blues will reward Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori with fresh deals.

- Could Carlo Ancelotti leave Napoli at the end of the season? Corriere dello Sport suggests the Italian head coach could depart if results do not improve. Napoli are already six points adrift of Serie A leaders Inter.

- Marca says Manchester United are keeping an eye on Mexico international Jose Juan Macias. The 20-year-old Leon forward scored his first international goal on debut for El Tri on Wednesday.

- Ernesto Valverde's future as Barcelona boss is far from certain and with that in mind, TNT Sport reports that River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo is the club's first choice.

Tottenham star Son Heung-min would be open to a future move to Serie A side Napoli, according to his agent Thies Bliemeister.

Son has established himself as one of the best forwards in the Premier League and Europe since joining Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.

The South Korea international has scored 70 goals for Spurs, while he played a key role in the club's memorable run to last season's Champions League final.

However, a new adventure in Italy could interest the 27-year-old, who has netted three goals in all competitions this term.

"I've never brought a player to Napoli, but I'd like to because [Diego] Maradona, my favourite player, played for them," Bliemeister told Radio Marte's 'Si gonfia la rete'.

"I've talked to Napoli in the past, with executives who are no longer at the club. I'll take advantage of this double-header with Salzburg to talk to them.

"As for Son at Napoli, why not? You can never say never in football. Son likes Italy, the food and Italian people.

"It's not easy to take him from Tottenham because he costs a lot but, one day, who knows?"

Son scored the opening goal in Tottenham's humiliating 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich on Tuesday as Spurs look to bounce back against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti admitted Napoli should have been more clinical in their goalless draw with Genk, but defended his decision to leave out some key attacking players.

Dries Mertens was dropped to the bench and Lorenzo Insigne was not part of the squad as Napoli played out a stalemate in Wednesday's Champions League clash at the Luminus Arena.

The Serie A side hit the woodwork three times in the first half and had a shot saved off the line, with Arkadiusz Milik particularly guilty of wasting some promising opportunities.

Napoli beat Liverpool in their opening Group E fixture and remain top of the standings, though Ancelotti acknowledged his side could have been further in front of the chasing pack.

"We knew this game could be tough," he told reporters. "We should have simply been more clinical, that's all I have to say about the team's performance.

"The goal remains to finish first, even if in reality first or second it doesn't change much.

"Every game in the Champions League is difficult, but we're in a good position after two games."

Asked about his decision to overlook Insigne for selection, with Hirving Lozano partnering Milik up top, Ancelotti said: "He was lacklustre in training so I preferred to keep him out and prepare him for the next game.

"Milik had his chances. He and Lozano had a good game.

"Unlike Italy, the games are much more intense in Europe. We have to improve in the small details, at the moments that can cost us."

Genk were beaten 6-2 by Salzburg two weeks ago and captain Mbwana Samatta was pleased with the response from his side.

The Belgian hosts tested Alex Meret twice in the first half but never really looked like coming away with all three points.

"We played against a tough opponent but it was important that we showed character today after the bad result in Salzburg," Samatta said. 

"It is important for us to get a draw in the Champions League and start from that."

Napoli wasted a number of opportunities as they played out a goalless draw with Genk in Wednesday's Champions League clash at Luminus Arena.

The Italian visitors beat reigning European champions Liverpool 2-0 in their Group E opener last month but could not build on that win in Belgium.

Carlo Ancelotti's men hit the frame of the goal three times in the first half and Kalidou Koulibaly also went close as Genk held on for their first point, two weeks on from being thrashed 6-2 by Salzburg.

Arkadiusz Milik in particular was guilty of spurning big chances for a Napoli side who top the group with four points, though Liverpool and Salzburg have a game in hand to play.

Jose Callejon's low shot was parried onto the post by Gaetan Coucke 15 minutes in and Milik had a couple of goes at converting from the rebound, the Poland striker's first shot being blocked and his second clipping the crossbar.

Milik missed another good opportunity 10 minutes later when pulling away from his man but again skimmed the crossbar with his header from inside the six-yard box.

Koulibaly was next to go close for the visitors when his shot was blocked on the line by Patrik Hrosovsky, while Milik headed over when teed up by Koulibaly seconds later as Genk somehow went into the interval all square.

Milik picked off from where he left off early in the second half by heading over once again and, 10 minutes later, Callejon side-footed wide when left all alone inside the box.

Genk, who tested Alex Meret a couple of times across the 90 minutes, managed to keep their opponents relatively quiet in the remainder of the match to claim a point.

What does it mean? Napoli fail to build on Liverpool win

Napoli's victory over Liverpool in last month's opener left them in a strong position, but their away-day struggles in Europe means progression cannot be taken for granted.

They are now without a win in their last seven away group stage matches, last picking up three points in the 2016-17 edition, and this draw against Group E's weakest side could yet prove costly.

Koulibaly a rock at the back

It is now back-to-back clean sheets in Europe for Napoli this season and Koulibaly has played a key part in both shutouts.

The centre-back regained possession more times than any player on the field, had the second-most touches of any player and also offered an attacking threat for good measure.

Milik's misses prove costly

Milik, yet to get off the mark this season, could easily have had a hat-trick inside the opening 45 minutes.

Used as the focal point in attack in the absence of the benched Dries Mertens, the 25-year-old failed to stake his claim and was replaced after 72 minutes.

What's next?

Genk host Excelsior Mouscron in the Belgian top flight on Sunday, the same day Napoli go to Torino in Serie A. 

When the Champions League returns for matchweek three later this month, Genk welcome European champions Liverpool and Napoli make the trip to Salzburg.

Champions League holders Liverpool face Salzburg for the first time in their history on Wednesday as Jurgen Klopp aims to extend his unbeaten record at Anfield.

The Reds lost 2-0 to Napoli in their opening group fixture, increasing the importance of a result against a Salzburg side that thrashed Genk 6-2.

Exciting teenager Erling Haaland – son of former Premier League defender Alf-Inge Haaland – scored a first-half hat-trick in that match and should be ready for the trip to Merseyside after battling illness.

Barcelona, meanwhile, could have the fit-again Lionel Messi available for their date with Inter, a chance for the star forward to break his duck against the Serie A side.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard heads to France in search of his maiden Champions League win in charge of Chelsea, while last season's semi-finalists Ajax visit Valencia.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Wednesday's eight matches.

 

Genk v Napoli

6 - Napoli are without a win in their past six away games in the Champions League group stage (W0 D2 L4), last prevailing on the road with a 2-1 defeat of Benfica in December 2016.

13 - Genk have won none of their 13 Champions League matches (W0 D7 L6). Only Irish side Shamrock Rovers and Maltese outfit Floriana have played more games without winning (14 each) in the competition's history.

 

Liverpool v Salzburg

19 - Reds boss Klopp remains unbeaten after 19 matches at Anfield as Liverpool manager (W15 D4 L0). His streak is 10 games shy of Bob Paisley's club record.

2 - Salzburg striker Haaland will attempt to become the second player to score more than once in each of his first two Champions League appearances, Diego Simeone having done so for Atletico Madrid in September 1996.

 

Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund

13 - Czech champions Slavia handed out 13 Champions League debuts in their Group F opener, a 1-1 draw at Inter. The only player to feature who had previously appeared in the competition was Nicolae Stanciu.

68 - Dortmund have scored with just two of their past 68 attempts at goal in the Champions League and have been held goalless in five of their six most recent outings.

 

Barcelona v Inter

3 - Barca captain Messi has been directly involved in 15 goals in his past 17 games against Italian teams (12 goals, three assists), but has failed to score in any of his three Champions League meetings with Inter.

2003 - Inter boss Antonio Conte was an unused substitute for Juventus the last time an Italian coach won a Champions League match at Camp Nou, a quarter-final clash in 2003. Marcello Lippi was in charge of the visitors.

 

RB Leipzig v Lyon

5 - Each of Timo Werner's five Champions League goals have been scored away from home. No player has hit more on the road without scoring in their own stadium.

18 - Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is one game away from equalling former AEK Athens midfielder Vassilios Tsiartas' unwanted record for most Champions League appearances without winning, which stands at 18 (set between 1994 and 2003).

 

Zenit v Benfica

9 - Artem Dzyuba has been involved in nine goals in nine Champions League matches for Zenit, scoring six times and registering three assists, including one for Sardar Azmoun in his side's 1-1 draw against Lyon.

10 - Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Benfica have lost more Champions League group stage games (10) than any other team.

 

Lille v Chelsea

8 - Ligue 1 side Lille are winless in eight Champions League home matches since a 3-1 victory over AEK in October 2006, having gone undefeated in their first eight at home.

2 - Frank Lampard is in danger of becoming the second Englishman to lose his first two matches as a manager in the Champions League, after Ray Harford with Blackburn Rovers in September 1995.

 

Valencia v Ajax

2 - Valencia, 1-0 winners at Chelsea in their Group H opener, are looking to start a Champions League campaign with two consecutive victories for the first time since 2006-07, when Quique Sanchez Flores was in charge.

41 - Ajax captain Dusan Tadic has created 41 chances in the Champions League since the start of last season, more than any other player in the same period.

Jurgen Klopp is convinced Virgil van Dijk remains the world's best defender despite his mistake in Liverpool's 2-0 loss to Napoli last month.

The Reds' Champions League defence got off to a disappointing start at the San Paolo thanks to late goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente.

Mertens' opener came from a contentious penalty before Llorente capitalised on a slack piece of play from Van Dijk to seal the win and put pressure on Liverpool ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Salzburg at Anfield.

Klopp says his faith in the Netherlands star has not at all been shaken by that incident, and he is not ready to panic about their chances of progressing to the knockout phase after only one match.

"Yep, I think so. I'm really happy with all my other defenders but yeah, he is the best at the moment," Klopp said on Tuesday when asked if he felt Van Dijk was the best in the world.

"We conceded in Napoli… which country are you from? Italy? I thought so… I still think it was not a penalty!

"Napoli have to come to Liverpool, so it's not decided yet, but we lost the game, that's a fact as well and we have to start winning.

"We don't even have a little bit of a feeling that this game tomorrow is half done. It's not. They will surprise a lot of people. But if there is anybody in the world who knows most about how they do what they do, it's me. I have a pretty good side as well and we want to be the most uncomfortable opponent in world football and if we are that tomorrow it's not easy for Salzburg."

Salzburg thrashed Genk 6-2 on matchday one, with 19-year-old striker Erling Haland scoring a hat-trick in that victory.

Klopp says he has a plan to deal with the rising Norway star, who has hit 11 goals in seven league starts this season.

"Norway has good footballers!" he said. "A wonderful player, very young, confident, looks focused. A proper player and in a decent place at the moment. He's not the only threat for Salzburg, unfortunately, but he is a proper one.

"Yes [we have a plan to stop him], and you have to watch the game tomorrow to see it."

Napoli defender Kostas Manolas was taken off against Brescia due to muscle fatigue, the Serie A club have confirmed.

Manolas scored his side's second goal in Sunday's 2-0 win at Stadio San Paolo but had to be withdrawn 20 minutes into the second half.

However, Napoli have allayed fears of a possible lay-off for the Greece international, who has started five of their opening seven matches this term.

Defensive team-mate Nikola Maksimovic could be facing a spell on the sidelines, though, having limped off with a hamstring injury later in the match.

"Tests have revealed that Nikola Maksimovic suffered a pulled right hamstring," a statement read on Napoli's official website. 

"Kostas Manolas was also taken off during the match, but the Greek defender was just feeling some tightness."

Dries Mertens and Manolas gave Napoli a two-goal lead at half-time, but Mario Balotelli pulled one back for Brescia with a 67th-minute header - his first goal in Serie A since returning to Italy last month.

Brescia boss Eugenio Corini told reporters: "Mario is a player you all know, he arrived with great motivation. 

"His technical qualities are recognised. From him I always expect something more, an important individual performance which can help the team."

Victory for Napoli got them back on track following their surprise 1-0 home loss to Cagliari in midweek, but they were made to fight for the three points.

"Suffering is natural in these games, because if you don't kill it off with 3-0 and then concede a goal, it all opens up again," Carlo Ancelotti told DAZN.

"We played an excellent first half, the second was less impressive, but the temperature was very warm and it made the teams get more stretched out."

Napoli face Genk in the Champions League on Wednesday, before returning to Serie A action with a trip to Torino in a week's time.

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