UCL PREVIEW: Paris Saint-Germain vs Liverpool

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by PA

UCL PREVIEW: Paris Saint-Germain vs Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has no fears over his players handling a fit-again Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as they have watched them “500,000 times on YouTube”.

Paris St Germain’s star duo will play in the Parc des Princes on Wednesday after recovering from injuries sustained on international duty.

Klopp’s side managed to keep them quiet for most of their first meeting at Anfield – Mbappe scoring an 83rd-minute equaliser before Roberto Firmino snatched an added-time winner – and he is confident they can do the same again.

“It is much more difficult to prepare a game when my players don’t know an opponent, which happens from time to time,” said Klopp.

“We give them videos but this generation probably watch 500,000 YouTube videos of Mbappe, Neymar and (Edinson) Cavani and they know about their individual strengths more than I do.

“But they can only shine with the ball so that means we have to defend them.

“It is difficult to close spaces and if you don’t close it one time, not only with the quality but the speed, you have no chance.

“But you have to be brave by yourself and that’s what we did in the first game. We were so attack-minded even in our defending, constantly front-footed.

“It is something Paris are not used to because they are so dominant in the league, we have to make sure they are not that dominant against us.

“I am completely happy with our individual quality and I believe 100 per cent in the group but that is the same with Thomas Tuchel and his players.”

Liverpool will go through if they win and Red Star Belgrade do not beat Napoli but Klopp knows it is a big ask to win in the French capital, where PSG’s last 20 Champions League matches have brought 15 victories and five draws.

“We don’t think about it too much. We are sportsmen and we want to win games,” he added.

“We know about the qualification rules but we are here tomorrow night to win a football game with all we have. We don’t go for a specific result, we want to be as good as possible.

“It is a tough one to come to Paris and go for a result but I think we should try.

“Two very ambitious teams will face each other in an interesting situation in the group because we brought Belgrade back into the group (with a defeat in Serbia last time out).

“We never moaned about it, we didn’t think negatively about it, we looked forward to the game in Paris.”

The return of Neymar and Mbappeis a huge boost to PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.

“Neymar is 100 per cent and Mbappe as well. They are fit and they will be in the line-up tomorrow,” said the German, dismissing suggestions there was any risk in playing them on Wednesday.

“If they were not fit they could not play. They didn’t complain yesterday or today (in training) and for me right now there is no risk.”

PSG are playing in their 12th Champions League campaign but, having lost in the quarter-finals four times, they have exited the competition at the last-16 stage in the previous two seasons.

So despite running away with Ligue 1 again, having won a record 14 straight matches since the start of the season, Tuchel insists they still have significant improvements to make.

“There are still big steps for us and we have to make a big step tomorrow,” he added.

“There is a possibility we don’t win but it is very important tomorrow we focus on winning. The bigger the game, the bigger the pressure, the more important is the focus.

“It can’t be that Ligue 1 is too easy, because that means somebody else is responsible. No, we are responsible to become better. You have to deliver if you are talented. It’s on us – this is my belief.

“Sometimes it seems it’s a bit hard for us to adapt, more mentally than tactically. Against Monaco and Toulouse we were not at that level mentally, to play at the highest level.

“We have the weapons, we have the talent and the mentality to have the moments in the game but you cannot forget that in every soccer game in this level, you need the luck, decisions, penalty or not, hit the inside of the post or not.

“Liverpool are used to CL finals, winning this trophy, and it makes something in the club with their mentality. Jurgen’s influence, you can see in every single game.

“We have to step up and grow with this kind of competitive energy in crucial moments.”

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