Liverpool vs PSG - Klopp expecting ‘full Neymar package’ when Liverpool host PSG

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2018 by PA

Liverpool vs PSG - Klopp expecting ‘full Neymar package’ when Liverpool host PSG

Jurgen Klopp expects to see the “full Neymar package” when Liverpool open their Champions League campaign at home to Paris St Germain.

Reds manager Klopp refused to be drawn into criticism of the Brazil international’s diving antics at the World Cup, where he was roundly condemned for rolling around on the floor unnecessarily.

Instead he chose to partly excuse Neymar’s actions in the face of physical treatment from defenders – something Klopp says Liverpool will not be participating in on Tuesday.

“I know people were talking about when it looked like he made more of a situation than it was,” said Klopp, whose team were losing finalists last season.

“For me that is a completely normal reaction because players were really going for him and he wants to protect himself and I understand that as well. I thought it is smart that he saves himself.

“Everyone doesn’t have to be worried, we don’t go for him against us. We play football and we want to win the ball, we don’t try to act in these kind of things.

“He got rested at the weekend so he will be 100 per cent fresh for us, he is not injured any more, so we will see the full Neymar football package.

“We still have to cope with that and that is what we will try.”

Neymar’s Brazil team-mate Roberto Firmino faces a late assessment to see whether he has recovered from an eye injury sustained at Tottenham on Saturday.

The Brazilian suffered an abrasion on the cornea of his left eye after being caught by Jan Vertonghen’s flailing arm and it has impacted on his vision.

However, Klopp remains optimistic the forward will be fit.

“Not definitely (fit) but yeah. He couldn’t play today, no chance, but we all hope there is a chance tomorrow. That is good news it will be close,” added the German. “Another 30 hours before the game so we will see.”

If Firmino does not make it that would present Daniel Sturridge with, incredibly, the chance of the first Champions League start of his Liverpool career.

Klopp’s other options are restricted with minor injuries to Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi, although he could also bring in Xherdan Shaqiri and move Mohamed Salah more central.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel insists he has not been told his job depends on him delivering the Champions League title.

Despite a huge outlay on players, including the near-£200million world-record fee for Neymar, the French club have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.

Tuchel is the latest man trying to achieve what Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc and Carlo Ancelotti failed to do but the German denied it was the only thing which mattered as they were expected to win Ligue 1 with ease.

“No-one has told me this, in all the talks, I have to win this otherwise I didn’t do my job right,” Tuchel said.

“If anyone had told me (that) I wouldn’t have signed the contract.

“If we judge ourselves only by the biggest goal in European football, the possibility of a big disappointment is high. Why should we do this?”

Tuchel returns to Anfield almost 18 months after a chastening experience as Borussia Dortmund boss.

His side led 4-2 with 24 minutes to go of their Europa League quarter-final second leg only for Liverpool to score three times in a dramatic last-minute finish.

“We did handle it quite well. We were leading 2-0 and 3-1 (on the night) and then an outstanding goal from (Philippe) Coutinho changed everything,” Tuchel added. “I was asked if it still hurts me. I have to say I am more grateful that I was part of it.

“At Anfield, you need a lot of experience and courage. You can never feel comfortable against Jurgen’s (Klopp) teams.

“You can never never have one minute where you think, ‘We have it under control’. Even if we have the ball it can happen that in 10 seconds they can be in front of your goal.

“We can never put our concentration down for one second, we can never feel like we have a moment of calmness and quietness here.

“I think they (the players) know that. If not, I will tell them and they will be aware of that.”

It is for that reason, and taking into account Liverpool’s run to the final last season and the five European Cups they have in their trophy cabinet, Tuchel considers his side only a Champions League challenger and not a finalist.

He added: “Every year you start new and in sports – if you want to go far – you have to get the experience you can to do a special thing. You catch the wave and you ride it.

“You see Liverpool have won five Champions League titles so they have experienced this and we are still working against this.

“For this we are a challenger in the Champions League and not one of the favourites. But I am pretty confident this type of game and opponent bring the best out of us.”

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