Monday 17th September 2018
By Aiden Graw
UEFA Champions League 2018/2019 starts in gear as we head in for group stages this week.
Last year’s UEFA Champions League runners-up Liverpool will begin their European campaign by facing French champions, Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield. The Reds have made a perfect start to the Premier League season but now face a difficult period of fixtures with PSG, Chelsea twice, Manchester City and Napoli all within next six matches. Les Parisiens have also enjoyed a perfect start to their league campaign, so these are two of Europe’s in-form sides and are sure to produce an interesting contest.
Previous Matches: Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool faced their toughest test of the season so far against Spurs at Wembley and passed with flying colors. The difference at the end of the game was only a goal but it could’ve and should’ve been more, as on another day The Reds could’ve easily had 5 or 6. Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino scored either side of half-time on a day when The Merseysiders executed an excellent counter-attacking display.
Jurgen Klopp’s men didn’t see much of the ball (39%) but produced 17 shots with 10 on target, the lion’s share over 90 minutes. Erik Lamela got a very late consolation for Tottenham which took the shine off the scoreline from Liverpool point of view, but this result will only boost the Kopites’ confidence of a title challenge.
Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Saint-Etienne (Ligue 1)
On Friday night, PSG also extended their winning run to five games by thrashing Saint-Etienne 4-0 in Paris. The visitors had been unbeaten until this point (1 win and 3 draws) but came unstuck in the capital. The home side simply had too much for Les Verts, with goals from Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, and Moussa Diaby sealing a 4-0 victory. It was a typically impressive display from the defending champions, dominating in both possession and chance creation, but Tuesday will be a completely different test.
Liverpool rested some players in their Saturday game against Tottenham, but can’t afford to do so under the lights on Tuesday. Fabinho and Joel Matip should return to the starting XI and Xherdan Shaqiri could be handed a start in place of Firmino, who picked up an eye injury against Spurs. Daniel Sturridge could be a direct replacement for Firmino up front, but Shaqiri is pushing harder for a start.
PSG also rested players for their weekend match, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Marquinhos all not featuring against Saint Etienne. The aforementioned players all come into their normal starting positions.
The big question mark is in goal, who starts out of Gianluigi Buffon and Alphonse Areola? I believe it’ll be Buffon, as he started in the Trophee des Champions and is one of the most experienced players in Champions League history.
The most expensive football player in history is always going to be key to how this game goes. Liverpool will probably break down PSG’s defense at some point like they do to every team, but how the away side performs with the crowd on their backs will be critical to the outcome of this game. Whether he’s providing, scoring himself or taking free-kicks,
Neymar is always a threat and how The Reds deal with the Brazilian will define how the evening goes. Contain him, and Liverpool have a good chance of winning, don’t, and it could be a very long night. Virgil Van Dijk’s excellent record at the back for Liverpool will be put to the sword on Tuesday.
We hear it every year, but after last season, and their start to their campaign, this could be the one for Liverpool fans. Runners-up in the Champions League shows real progress under Jurgen Klopp, but the German still hasn’t added to the illustrious trophy cabinet at Anfield. The additions of Alisson in goal, Naby Keita in midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri on the wing add some depth and quality to an already top side. The trophy could come from any of this season’s four competitions, but a win in a game against PSG is a real yardstick of where they are at this early stage.
Aiden’s Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 PSG/ Over/Both Teams To Score
With both sides possessing some of the best attacking talents in the world, there will be goals in this one. Liverpool and PSG are at full strength, but the visitors have rested more crucial players and have had longer time since their previous match. The Reds will have the Anfield crowd roaring them on and could win this game, but I feel their winning run could end here. With the likes of Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani and Di Maria on from the start and Draxler able to inflict damage from the bench, the French side will likely score, but so will Liverpool, they seemingly always do.
Head to Head statistics
Liverpool win 1 [10th April 1997; PSG 3-0 Liverpool] in UEFA European cup winners cup
PSG win 1 [24th April 1997; Liverpool 2-0 PSG,] in UEFA European cup winners cup Drawn matches 0
Here are the Matchday One fixtures;
TUESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER 2018
Barcelona V PSV Eindhoven @9:45pm
Internazionale Milan V Tottenham @9:45pm
Club Brugge V Borrusia Dortmund @9:45pm
Schalke 04 V FCPorto @9:45pm
AS Monaco V Atletico Madrid @9:45pm
Liverpool V Paris Saint-Germain @9:45pm
Redstar Belgrade V Napoli @9:45pm
Galatasary V Locomotiv Moscow @9:45pm
WEDNESDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 2018
Ajax Amsterdam V AEK Athens @9:45pm
Shaktar Donetsk V Hoffenheim @9:45pm
Real Madrid V Asociacion Sportivo Roma @9:45pm
Valencia V Juventus @9:45pm
Sport Lisboa Benfica V Bayern Munchen @9:45pm
Viktoria Plizen V CSKA Moscow @9:45pm
Manchester City V Olympique Lyonnaise @9:45pm
Young Boys V Manchester United @9:45pm
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website