22.11.2013 11:50 - in: Serie A S

      Livorno in the spotlight

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      Juventus.com takes an in-depth look at the Bianconeri’s latest Serie A opposition, Tuscan outfit Livorno


      The Amaranto, a nickname that refers to the maroon colour of their strip, were founded in 1915 and made their debut on a national level in 1919/20.

      The team in fact only just missed out on being crowned champions of Italy that season after losing to Inter in the north v south final, the majority of which they were forced to play a man down because of an injury.

      Livorno were one of the 18 teams (and the only one from Tuscany) which competed in the first ever Serie A championship in 1929. But they continued to yo-yo between divisions A and B until 1942/43, when they began the season with six consecutive wins and ended up second in the league table just behind Torino in what is still their highest ever Serie A placing.

      Sadly World War II broke the spell, though, after which the Amaranto began to find themselves further and further from the top of the table before eventual relegation in 1948/49.

      The 1950s and early 60s saw them twice slip into Serie C, and after a brief period of improved fortunes they went down to Serie C2 in 1983.

      But the next year was a different story: under new manager Renzo Melani they were runaway league winners, conceding only seven goals during the entire season.

      And the arrival of president Aldo Spinelli in 1999 then sparked a revival that would see the team return to Serie A and beyond into Europe.

      The manager who led the Amaranto back to the top flight in 2003/04 after a 55-year absence was Walter Mazzarri, helped by the contribution of a young Giorgio Chiellini.

      That Livorno side outperformed many people’s expectations as new arrivals to Serie A, finishing ninth mainly thanks to the goals of Cristiano Lucarelli, who ended the season as the league’s top scorer.

      The next year they did even better, coming sixth to qualify for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history, where they would be knocked out in the last 16 by Espanyol.

      In the 2009/10 season, new manager Serse Cosmi enjoyed a dream debut as his men beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico for the first time in 62 years, but in April he parted ways with the club and they were relegated to Serie B once again that year.

      The Amaranto are newly-promoted this season, having won their play-offs against Brescia and then Empoli after a third-place finish.


      Livorno play their home games at the 19,238-capacity Stadio Armando Picchi on the outskirts of the Tuscan coastal city.

      Inaugurated in 1935 as the Edda Ciano Mussolini, in the 1950s it became known as “Yankee Stadium” by the American allies who ran it and held military demonstrations and American football games there.

      In 1990 it was officially renamed in honour of the great Livornese hero Armando Picchi, who spent five seasons with the club and went on to captain the “Grande Inter” side which won three Scudetto titles between 1962 and 1966 and consecutive European cups in 1963/64 and 64/65.

      The ground also hosted three matches in the 1960 Olympics, including a 4-3 thriller won by Brazil against England.

      Transfer Activity

      As they prepared to take on Serie A’s most fearsome strikers after previously competing in Serie B, Livorno began their summer transfer dealings by replacing outgoing goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo with Italian Under 21 international Francesco Bardi on a loan deal from Inter.

      Two other loan arrivals from the Nerazzurri with a lot of potential are Marco Benassi and Ibrahima Mbaye, who both starred in the Inter Primavera team that won the league championship in 2012.

      Sitting alongside Benassi in the defensive midfield position will be Alfred Duncan, a young Ghanaian international whose loan deal was made permanent at the start of this season despite interest from other clubs.

      Another midfield signing is Leandro Greco from Olympiacos, who has Serie A experience with Roma that will no doubt prove useful. 

      Current Team

      Arguably the most talented player in the side is Brazilian striker Paulinho, though he is suspended for Sunday’s fixture with Juventus.  Capped internationally at Under 20 level, he scored 23 goals last season and has netted five so far this time around.

      Captain Andrea Luci was raised in the Juventus youth sector between 2002 and 2005, and now marshals the Livorno midfield.

      Leandro Greco is the Amaranto’s top provider of assists this season with three, showing that the summer signing from Olympiacos has quickly settled in to the role of playmaker for his new club. 


      Livorno’s Davide Nicola is relatively new to coaching, but with an attacking mentality instilled in the side he has produced some solid results this season despite having had no previous experience of Serie A action.

      An ex-defender born in Piedmont, his most prominent spell as a player was with Genoa (where he is famous for kissing a policewoman on the touchline when celebrating a goal against Atalanta) but he also helped Torino reach the top flight when he found the net in the 2005/06 Serie B play-off final.

      He only began coaching in 2010, taking over the reins at Lumezzane in July and leading them to an excellent sixth place that season.

      The following campaign his side finished eighth, and he made the step up to the Livorno job in June 2012.

      After a third-place finish in Serie B, he led the team through the play-offs to secure the opportunity to play in the top flight this season.

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