For Napoli, challenging for a Champions League position, the game against relegation-threatened Livorno seems simple enough on paper. However, their tiredness from the midweek win against Swansea in the Europa League match, combined with the troubles the partenopei often have when facing so-called small teams, the match might not be so simple. A win is a must, though, as Napoli cannot afford to lose any more points if they are to reach Roma while staying clear ofFiorentina.
With Livorno currently a point from safety, every match is do or die. While Napoli occasionally slips against relegation candidates, Livorno's record against top sides is almost disastrous - they've managed to get just two points from matches against teams in the top half of the table, earning draws with Milan and Torino. But their form has improved recently, earning seven points from two wins and a draw in their last five games.
Rafa Benítezwill be without two key players, who, together with Marek Hamšík, form the spine of Napoli. Both Gonzalo Higuaín and Raúl Albiol are suspended for this game. Reports suggest that January signing Henrique will join Federico Fernández in the back line, while Goran Pandev will be preferred to Duván Zapata in Higuain's role. The midfield pair will, most likely, be Gokhan Inler and Jorginho, as the latter is rested with no European duties.
For the amaranto, Emerson will return to defense after playing in midfield against Verona last week. Coach Domenico Di Carlo will have to do without forward Luca Siligardi and, more importantly, captain Andrea Luci, as the midfielder picked up an injury against Cagliari that will keep him out for the rest of the season. And while Innocent Emeghara has shown improved form up top recently, Di Carlo may give Inter loanee Ishak Belfodil his first start with Livorno.
Injuries and suspensions
Livorno: Luca Siligardi, Andrea Luci (injured)
Projected line ups
Sunday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. local, 12:30 p.m. ET
Stadio Armando Picchi, Livorno
TV: RAI Internazionale (USA), ESPN (UK), Sky Calcio 3, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online: beIN Sports Play (USA and Canada)