"I'm so excited to be leading Napoli in the Champions League. It's like the Luna Park of football, featuring players who are really fired up and who dazzle onlookers. Napoli being in the Champions League is just rewards for our excellent 2021/22". Luciano Spalletti shared his thoughts at Napoli's pre-match press conference ahead of Matchday 1 in the Champions League, in which they take on Liverpool.
"Players dream of playing in this competition all their lives. The standard is really high and games can be won or lost in a single passage of play.
"You've got to be so switched on against teams such as Liverpool. You can prepare as thoroughly as possible but when you're up against real champions you know that they're capable of coming up with something out of the blue.
"That being said we've got some top-drawer players and I'm convinced that the lads will play a blinder tomorrow, carrying on from where they left off against Lazio. I'll say it again, this group of players can garner even more affection from the Maradona this campaign."
How's Victor Osimhen doing?
"He followed a custom schedule today and it was positive. If he does well in training tomorrow then he could take part."
Would you settle for a draw tomorrow?
"That wouldn't be faithful neither to my approach nor to our playing style. We always go out to try and win, as was the case at the Olimpico against a top team. It's not right to make calculations. We'll go out and try and play the Napoli way, aiming to win. We'll see what we're capable of achieving."
What kind of game do you expect? How will Liverpool set themselves out?
"Liverpool are a dynamic team, alternating between attacking from the left and from the right. They try and get in behind you and are relentless with their pressing. They don't play an Italian-style of football, that's for sure.
"Besides from the tactical side of things they've got amazing individuals who are great in one-on-one situations. We'll need to have a lot of energy and use our heads so that they don't tire us out and so that we can play our game.
"We'll need to accept that at points they'll be on top of us, while always recognising that we'll be capable of doing them damage. It's not like we need to play eye-catching football, we've just got to be effective and decisive. We don't take to the pitch looking for plaudits, we just want to play to a Champions League standard and pick up points."
You'll be going head-to-head with Jurgen Klopp:
"It's an honour to be on opposite sides to Klopp. There's nobody quite like him and his playing philosophy sets his team apart in world football. I'll try to read what he's trying to ask of his team.
How much can the Maradona drive the team on?
"We're aware of how much power the Maradona can give us. I'm convinced that the noise generated by the fans tomorrow will be heard as far away as Anfield. The fans enthusiasm can dampen the tension and their support will help us so much."