High flying Liverpool host big spending PSG at Anfield in a mouth-watering Champions League clash tonight. After their surreal ride to the final in Kiev last season and re-establishing themselves as an elite club again, Liverpool will be hoping and hungry to go one better, but the journey starts tonight against a PSG team who have dominated French football in the better part of last decade but have struggled to make a mark in Europe’s biggest stage.
Liverpool’s much improved defence and new-found grit faces its biggest test so far tonight against the world’s most expensive strike force consisting Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani (the trio costs £420m)
Can the Liverpool trio, Salah, Mane and Firmino recreate last season’s menacing form or will the Parisians finally make an early statement against one of Europe’s elites?
Lyon are the only French team that have participated in more Champions League campaigns (15) than PSG, who start their 11th campaign tonight and their 7th in a row.
Liverpool have lost two of their last three home European Cup/Champions League matches against French opposition(W1) but have won seven of their Last 12 such matches (D1 L4).
PSG have not gone beyond the Round of 16 in the last two Champions League campaigns.
There have been only two meetings between these two sides before- over two legs in 1996-97’s Cup Winners Cup. Both sides have one victory apiece, but PSG progressed on aggregate (3-2).
Cavani has scored eight goals in his 14 appearances against English teams in the Champions’ League.
PSG are without a victory in their last four Champions League matches against English oppositions (D3 L1) and have only kept one clean sheet in their previous 12 such games, a 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the group stages of the 2004/05 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp has reached the knockout stages in four of his previous five Champions League campaigns as manager, losing two finals in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund and 2018 with Liverpool.
HOME TEAM NEWS
Liverpool could be without Roberto Firmino who suffered an eye injury from a clash with vertonghen of Tottenham on Saturday. Daniel Sturridge could make his first Champions League start since 2013.
Jurgen Klopp could give rare start to Fabinho or Henderson in midfield to keep either of Wijnaldum or Milner fresh for the gruelling run-in ahead.
AWAY TEAM NEWS
Neymar and Mbappe are exected to return after sitting out their team’s 4-0 over St. Etienne at the weekend. Mbappe was suspended for the weekend game while Neymar was rested.
Gigi Buffon and Marco Verrati are both suspended for this game while Dani Alves is ruled out with injury.
Big spending PSG have failed to deliver in Europe and they need to start living up to the hype and the huge investment. Liverpool are a club on the up under Klopp’s tutelage and are hungry to better last season’s achievement in this competition where they finished as runners up.
The power of Anfield will be in full throttle. Can the Parisians turn the heat on the home team or will they wilt under the magic of Anfield?
This is a game between two coaches who like to play an expansive, high octane brand of football, so expect this to be a very end to end affair. But Liverpool’s new-found grit and balance and the boisterous Anfield atmosphere can power them to victory.
(1X; BTTS; Over2.5)