Liverpool face ‘Kvaradona’ Napoli star dubbed ‘best player to watch in Europe’

Liverpool are set to face a Napoli star compared to Diego Maradona and hailed as "the best player to watch in Europe".

Jurgen Klopp's side travel to Italy on Wednesday to face Serie A giants Napoli in their opening Champions League group stage match, but will have to be wary of an emerging star in the opposition squad. Georgia international Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has garnered a glowing reputation since joining Napoli this summer, which has earned him the nickname "Kvaradona" in reference to the Argentine legend.

The 21-year-old winger has already bagged four goals and provided an assist in five appearances for the club this season.

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Speaking on The Totally Football Show, the New York Times' Rory Smith described Kvaratskhelia as "the most exciting player I have seen for years. He is absolutely extraordinary.

"I was watching the Lazio game on Saturday night and it struck me that, I think it’s just he’s so… he feels different to everybody else.”

In that comeback victory over Lazio at the weekend, Kvaratskhelia proved to be a constant threat, causing problems with his dynamic dribbling skills.

He struck the woodwork twice and created multiple chances for his team-mates before grabbing the winner with a powerful first-time finish inside the penalty area in the second half.

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“He is, certainly six weeks into the season, he is the best player to watch in Europe as far as I can see,” added Smith. Kvaratskhelia remains a relative unknown, though, having signed from Dinamo Batumi in his native Georgia this summer for £9million.

He had spent the last three years in Russia with the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow, Rubin Kazan and Dinamo Moscow before returning to his homeland back in March.

Eight goals in 11 appearances for Batumi, plus two assists, were enough to seal a move to Napoli during the off-season. The son of former Azerbaijan international Badri Kvaratskhelia, the exciting winger made his professional debut aged just 16 in September 2017.

Just two months later he had already scored his first senior goal. Having made his international debut aged 18 in 2019, he has since scored eight times in 17 caps for his country.

Liverpool fans will hope their side can neutralise the threat posed by Kvaratskhelia in their opening Champions League match on Wednesday, with Ajax and Rangers completing the composition of Group A.

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