Champions League preview: Liverpool vs Paris Saint-Germain

Liverpool entertain Paris Saint-Germain in their opening game of the Champions League group stage on Tuesday night. The Reds have overcome last season’s disappointing runner-up finish in the competition to start make a strong start to their league proceedings and they are currently only behind Chelsea on goal difference after winning their first five matches.

On the contrary, Paris Saint-Germain have struggled to surpass the last-16 stage in each of the previous two campaigns in the Champions League but they should fancy their prospects of reaching their first semi-final since 1995 this term. Likewise Liverpool, Les Parisiens have made a 100 percent start to their Ligue 1 season with 15 points on the board and they are already five clear off their challengers.

Players to watch for:

Sadio Mane – Liverpool: The Senegal international has transformed into one of Liverpool’s most influential players over the past couple of seasons and this campaign, in particular, he has led the way with Mohamed Salah lacking the spark in front of goal. Salah has been guilty of being slow with his decision-making and this combined with his average finishing has meant that Mane has stolen the limelight this term. Since the season begun, Mane has notched four goals from five appearances and his sublime movement and dribbling attributes from the left side of the attack could become more influential now that Roberto Firmino could miss the midweek game. Firmino has often combined splendidly with Mane and Salah but the Brazilian may not feature against the reigning French champions after sustaining an abrasion on his left eye during the recent Premier League win at Tottenham Hotspur. Mane contributed 10 goals en route to the Champions League final last season which was matched by both Firmino and Salah.

Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain: Just a year ago, Neymar was considered as the poster boy of the new Paris Saint-Germain evolution but his reputation appears to have faded slightly with the emergence of Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman was already up to fame after his title-winning season with Monaco but he has upped his reputation a notch following his key impact for France in their World Cup success for which he was named as the FIFA Young Player of the tournament. Mbappe is once more expected to showcase his talents from the right side of the attack but the focus may be more on Neymar on the other flank, whose future has often been a discussion point. Neymar has been reported to be unsettled after witnessing the progress of Mbappe and he has the opportunity to dismiss any kind of uncertainty with a strong performance against Liverpool on the road. Neymar was rested for the weekend league meeting versus St Etienne alongside Mbappe but he has nevertheless started the season brightly with a goal in each of his opening four league games.

Prediction:

Liverpool 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain

Image – Getty