Nigeria: Napoli Sweat Over Osimhen’s Fitness Ahead of Liverpool Visit

Ahead of Napoli’s opening group match of the 2022 /23 UEFA Champions League encounter against Liverpool at the Stadio Maradona today, the Serie A side are sweating over the fitness of Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen.

The Nigeria international suffered a minor muscle-related injury in Napoli’s 2-1 road win over Lazio on Saturday but managed to go the distance.

Napoli were straight back to work at the Konami Training Centre for a recovery session on Monday morning, but Osimhen trained on his own following the knock he suffered in the closing minutes against Lazio.

Through their official website, the Blues provided a fresh update on the fitness of Osimhen at the end of training on Tuesday, stating that the number 9 followed his own programme in the gym and on the pitch.

Osimhen started the 2022-2023 season on fire, scoring in each of his first two matches in the Serie A but went three games without scoring after firing blanks against Lazio this past weekend.

Last season, the 2015 U17 World Cup winner missed 13 matches played by Napoli as a result of fitness issues.

It has come to light that the Super Eagles star played through the pain barrier in the closing minutes of the Serie A match against Lazio after suffering a minor muscle-related injury.

Napoli manager, Luciano Spalletti has said that he’ll make a decision about the availability of Osimhen after training today.

Osimhen did not train fully with the Napoli squad yesterday morning at SSCN Konami Training Centre.

In quotes relayed by Football Italia, Spalletti said : “With regards to Osimhen yesterday he experienced some pain, so he didn’t train yesterday and trained separately today.

“Tomorrow he will train with the group provided he feels better than today. Tomorrow, if he feels up for it, he will try and shoot, try to do a bit more with the ball and if he has a positive feeling about that, like this morning, he will be available for selection.”

Osimhen has started all the five matches played by Napoli in the 2022-2023 season, logging 425 minutes and has two goals to his name.

The 23-year-old has netted three goals combined in two appearances against Premier League opposition in European competition – a brace against Leicester City in the Europa League and once against Chelsea in the Champions League during his Lille days.

In a related development, Napoli manager also fractured his shoulder ahead of the match.

‘I was involved in an accident on Sunday,’ the Italian, 63, told reporters. ‘I was here to oversee a training session for Salvatore Sirigu and Diego Demme. I’m always here when players are training.

‘Unfortunately, I fractured a bone in my shoulder and experienced a lot of pain. I went for some check ups at the clinic in Milan, I had an x-ray, and that confirmed that I had a fracture.

‘I managed to return to Naples tonight with a friend. I missed yesterday’s training session but now it’s all good, I have my captain here to support me,’ he said smiling to Napoli skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo who was sat next to him.

‘You’ll be seeing me with this sling for a while now, for at least a month.’

Spalletti, formerly of Roma and Inter Milan, also warned Liverpool that they will be walking into a cauldron of noise on Wednesday night.

‘We know the strength that Maradona can give us,’ he said. ‘I am sure that tomorrow the Champions scream of our stadium will reach Anfield. The enthusiasm must prevail over the tension and our fans know how to give us a lot of life.’

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