- UEFA Champions League Round 1 now complete
- Napoli shock the current holders Liverpool with victory in Naples
- Red Bull Salzburg also a threat in Group E
The first round of games in the this season’s Champions League group stage are now complete and saw last season’s winners, Liverpool, suffer defeat in Napoli.
As a result, Napoli’s outright Champions League odds have now shortened from 33-1 on August 29, to 20-1. But are they a realistic bet to win outright? And even if they can’t win the whole tournament, can they at least win Group E? They are now -150 favorites.
We’ll take a look.
2019/20 UEFA Champions League Odds
*Odds taken 9/19/19.
Napoli’s win, while surprising in the circumstances, was, in fact, a repeat of last season’s group game – the Italians won 1-0 last October – and is further proof of what a difficult place the San Paolo Stadium is to visit. The noisy, raucous and intimidating crowd are definitely a factor and for Liverpool to lose there twice in the space of 11 months speaks volumes.
Carlo Ancellotti has put together a good team who will not only challenge Liverpool in Group E of the Champions League but also Juve in Serie A, and key to their success in both competitions will be their home form.
As an attacking force, they have plenty to offer with, Belgian Dries Mertens at the heart of everything they do, and in defense they have the indomitable figure of Kalidou Koulibaly – widely recognized as one of the best center-backs in European soccer – and so have the makings of a side that can succeed in Europe.
And of course, they have the wily figure of Ancelotti at the helm, someone who has been there and done it at the highest level, not only on the pitch but also in the technical area. If anyone is equipped to get a team to over-perform in the Champions League it’s Ancelotti.
FT: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool
⚽️ Mertens (pen) 82'
⚽️ Llorente 92' pic.twitter.com/5eNGy6UhvP
— Sphera Sports (@SpheraSports) September 17, 2019
Napoli’s win over Liverpool couldn’t have given them a better start but interestingly, Red Bull Salzburg’s emphatic 6-2 win over Genk suggests this one could be a three-way battle for a place in the knockout stages. The Austrian champion’s flying start won’t have gone unnoticed in Naples or Merseyside and while the next phase looks a long way away for Genk, Salzburg clearly means business.
Champions League hat-trick sensation linked with Manchester United again: Teenager Erling Braut Haaland scored three in the first half as RB Salzburg beat Genk 6-2 https://t.co/f4KoMySjVN pic.twitter.com/LBLEG4BUcv
— Sports News Desk (@sportnsdesk) September 18, 2019
So, first things first, and Napoli have a tough group to negotiate before they can even think about the knockout phase, but if they do make it, their amazing home form gives them a genuine chance; maybe not of going the whole way, but certainly of going deep in the tournament.
Ajax away from home in the Champions League this season:
v Real Madrid – 4-1 ✅
v Juventus – 2-1 ✅
v Tottenham – 1-0 ✅
— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) April 30, 2019
Let’s not forget that Spurs and Ajax made it to last season’s semifinal, with the north London team only missing out narrowly to Liverpool in the final, so it’s longer a preserve of the rich and elite.
However, it’s hard to look past Barcelona to win it, not least because of how they fell so dramatically at the semifinal stage last season. This may be Lionel Messi’s last chance to win it again, so watch out for the Catalans.
My pick: Barcelona to win the Champions League / Napoli to win Group E