Team news and stats ahead of Napoli vs Leicester in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick-off 5.45pm.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed seven players and three staff members have not travelled to Italy for Thursday’s Europa League game against Napoli.
Rodgers confirmed Youri Tielemans, out for five games with a calf injury, is back in contention and left-back Ryan Bertrand was also available.
Rodgers told a press conference the squad that had travelled to Naples had been depleted through both positive Covid-19 cases and other illnesses.
He said: “We’ve had a number of people, staff and players, who haven’t travelled. We’ve had some positive (Covid) cases, some are generally not well, so we haven’t taken the risk.”
When asked to specify which players had been taken ill, Rodgers added: “That’s something you will see in time. We will have seven unavailable.
“It’s been (over the) last few days really. In general, you’re starting to see a few more cases and, for us, it’s always about the health of our players.
“Travelling to a foreign country, we have to respect travelling into Italy. We still have a strong squad here, but unfortunately it’s not a fully-fit squad.”
Napoli, third in Serie A, two points behind leaders AC Milan, are bidding to rescue their season in Europe following two group defeats to Spartak Moscow.
Boss Luciano Spalletti will be without injured star players Kalidou Koulibaly, Osimhen, Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz.
The Foxes will progress to the last 16 as Group C winners with victory in their final pool game and could still avoid a play-off by finishing top if they draw.
Europa League permutations
Should Leicester lose to the Serie A title challengers, their passage to the knock-out phase will hinge on the result between Legia Warsaw and Spartak Moscow.
The Foxes let slip a 2-0 lead and were denied victory in the home game against Napoli in September by Victor Osimhen’s late equaliser, while their only group defeat came in Warsaw later that month.
Napoli sit third in the table after losing 2-1 in Moscow in November. Victory could see them qualify as group winners and with so many permutations it is a game they too cannot afford to lose.
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- The only previous meeting between these sides in European competition saw Napoli earn a point despite trailing by two goals with just over 20 minutes to go, courtesy of a double from Victor Osimhen.
- Leicester have never previously faced Italian opposition away from home in European competition, while Napoli have won six of their 10 home matches against English sides in Europe (D2 L2), beating Liverpool 2-0 in their last such match in September 2019.
- After going on a run of nine wins from 10 home matches in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League between December 2010 and December 2015 (L1), Napoli have since won two of their last five such matches (D1 L2), though did they win their last home match on MD3 against Legia Warsaw.
- Leicester won their last away match in Europe, beating Spartak Moscow 4-3, with Patson Daka scoring all four goals. The Foxes have never won consecutive away games in European competition.
- Napoli have lost their final group game in just one of the five seasons they’ve entered the competition at that stage, losing at home to PSV in 2012-13 (P5 W3 D1 L1 on MD6 in total).