Defending champions Liverpool will kick-start their 2019-20 season of the UEFA Champions League with a mouthwatering encounter against Serie A biggies Napoli this week.
When the two clubs with attractive football philosophies lock horns on the field, it will be two different personas on the sideline watching over the players. As head coaches, Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti have been highly successful in their careers but they have both adopted slightly different routes to get to glory.
Ancelotti, or King Carlo as he is affectionately called, is a calculated tactician who tries to find the balance between pragmatism and adventure when asking his teams to pass and move. His teams have always been excellent goal-getters but they have all had a resilient backline which has been essential to Carlo's way of football.
Klopp, on the other hand, loves exuberance. The master of the Gegenpress, the German tactician places a lot of importance on pressing high upfront, closing spaces and moving forward with a high block, as a team. It is less systematic and traditional but equally effective at carving defences to shreds.
Napoli and Liverpool have impressed the crowds with their dazzling football and it is set to be a fixture that will see multiple tactical battles all over the field. Ancelotti has mostly preferred to a 4-4-2 with Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik the preferred duo to lead the line. Unfortunately for the Italian coach and in what will be a massive boost for the English side, Milik is nursing an injury and is unlikely to take part in the mid-week fixture.
There is a lot of emphasis on using the ball from the wings in Napoli's system and Lorenzo Insigne and Mertens are integral in the attacking third. As for Liverpool, they have the most selfless striker in the world in Roberto Firmino and his technical ability on the ball in the attacking third sets the stage for the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah to take centre stage from both the flanks.
Napoli no longer plays the Sarri-Ball, which caught the eye of many, including Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola. Ancelotti has toned it down a bit to fight a better balance between defence, midfield and attack. The gung-ho football of Liverpool won them the trophy last season. And it will be interesting to see if they can get that to work on a new beginning, against a calmer, more calculated Napoli, led by three-time UEFA Champions League-winning manager Carlo Ancelotti.