One of the most anticipated clashes of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League will be coming our way on Tuesday, as Liverpool take on Paris Saint-Germain.
Liverpool get their 2018-19 UEFA Champions League campaign underway as they face off against French champions PSG at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Having made it all the way to the finals of the competition last season, only to be beaten by Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be aiming to go all the way this time out. And a winning start against an opposition as strong and star-studded as PSG will set the tone for a solid group stage campaign.
Liverpool will come into the game high on confidence, having won all their Premier League matches so far, with the latest coming in the form of a 2-1 victory over fellow title challengers Tottenham Hotspur.
Paris Saint-Germain too are off to a perfect start to the new season, winning all of their five Ligue 1 fixtures, following their Trophee des Champions triumph over Monaco. Their last league game against St-Etienne ended in a 4-0 triumph, despite the absence of star attackers Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Things have been looking bright under the guidance of new manager Thomas Tuchel and the former Borussia Dortmund boss will be looking to guide Les Parisiens further than last season’s round of 16 finish, where they were dumped out of the tournament by eventual champions Real Madrid.
Team News & Tactics
The Reds will be sweating over the availability of Roberto Firmino, after the Brazilian forward picked up an eye injury during their weekend triumph over Tottenham. Fellow strikers Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke are also doubts, having picked up injuries during the U-23s fixture.
Dejan Lovren remains sidelined with a hip problem, while Adam Lallana is also absent for the home side. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the only long-term absentee.
Alisson Becker has proven to be a solid acquisition for Liverpool, despite his error against Leicester City before the international break and will be looking to help the Kop forget the horrors of last season with a solid performance in goal. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been solid in the heart of the defence, but going up against a quality attack like PSG’s, they will have their task cut out.
Both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are key outlets going forward from the full-back slots for Klopp’s team, but facing two of the best attackers in the game in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, they might have to curb their attacking instincts on Tuesday night.
Gini Wijnaldum has been a revelation in the No.6 role this season and has kept captain Jordan Henderson out of the starting line-up, which is unlikely to change. Partnering him in the middle of the park will be summer arrival Naby Keita, along with the evergreen James Milner, who will have to balance their attacking and defensive responsibilities.
Mohamed Salah hasn’t been able to find his best form as of yet, but will still be a major threat from the right-flank. On the opposite wing, Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane will also pose problems with his explosive pace. However, with Firmino’s involvement under a doubt, Daniel Sturridge could be in line for his first start of the season.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Sturridge, Mane;
Neymar, who was rested for the weekend’s game against St-Etienne will be back in the squad for the visitors, while Kylian Mbappe will also be available for selection, having missed the league game due to suspension. Tuchel will, however, be unable to call upon the services of midfielder Marco Verratti, who is suspended along with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Thiago Silva and Lassana Diara have shaken off minor injury concerns and are available for selection. Full-backs Dani Alves and Layvin Kurzawa remain long-term absentees for Les Parisiens. The new manager has experimented with 4-3-3, 3-4-1-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations since taking over at the club, but is likely to go in with the 4-2-3-1 setup against the Reds on Tuesday.
With Buffon suspended, Alphonse Areola will be manning the goal at Anfield for the visitors, with Thomas Meunier and summer signing Juan Bernat set to take up the full-back slots. Club captain Thiago Silva will start in the centre of the backline and is likely to be partnered by Frenchman Presnel Kimpembe. Having had pretty straightforward fixtures in the league, Liverpool will offer a sterner test for the defence.
Adrien Rabiot will occupy one of the two midfield pivot positions for the French capital club, with Brazilian centre-half Marquinhos likely to feature alongside him in order to prevent the Liverpool midfield runners from getting forward on a regular basis.
Mbappe will be the obvious choice on the right-flank, while Angel di Maria is likely to get the nod on the left-side ahead of Julian Draxler. Brazil captain Neymar will be deployed in a free role in behind the main striker Edinson Cavani. The trio of Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar have scored 11 goals between them this term and will be a major threat for the home team.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Areola; Meunier, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Marquinhos, Rabiot; Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria; Cavani;
- Liverpool have faced Paris St-Germain twice before – over two legs in the semi-final of the 1996-97 Cup Winners’ Cup. PSG went through 3-2 on aggregate, having won the first leg 3-0 at home.
- PSG are taking part in their 11th Champions League campaign – their seventh in a row. Only Lyon (15) have more appearances in the competition among French clubs.
- This will be Liverpool’s first meeting in the Champions League with a side from France since the 2009-10 campaign, when they lost 1-2 to Lyon at Anfield before drawing 1-1 away from home in the group stages.
- PSG are winless in their past four Champions League matches against English sides (D3 L1) and have only kept one clean sheet in their previous 12 such games, a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge during the 2004-05 group stages.
- Liverpool have won seven of their 12 previous European Cup/Champions League matches against French opposition (D1 L4) but have lost two of the past three at home (W1).
Player to watch
Having been left out of the team for the previous game, PSG’s main man Neymar will come into Tuesday night’s encounter well-rested and will be looking to make the most of it. The 26-year old has scored four goals in four league games so far in the 2018-19 term and also has a solitary assist to his name.
His antics from the summer’s World Cup continue to dominate the headlines, but PSG’s Champions League opener against last season’s finalists Liverpool will offer him a chance to set things straight and prove himself on a big occasion against a difficult opponent.
Liverpool 2-2 PSG
Given the quality of attacking players that will be on display at Anfield on Tuesday night, goals are a guarantee. Between the two teams, 68 goals were scored in the last edition of the Champions League and another match filled with plenty of action and goals should be expected when they lock horns this week.
Both defences will be put under a lot of pressure and at the end we at the Hard Tackle expect the two teams come away with a point in a high-scoring draw at Anfield.