Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout stages are dangling by a thread after being beaten 2-1 by PSG at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
PSG looked like they meant business from the word go, constantly evading the Liverpool press while catching their midfield and defence off guard. The hosts could, in fact, have grabbed the lead in the sixth minute, if not for a fine acrobatic save by Alisson Becker.
The Liverpool no. 1 though, did not have an answer to Juan Bernat, who finished off a swift PSG counter-attack with his right foot seven minutes later, catching the Brazilian goalkeeper wrong footed. Alisson continued keeping his side in the game, but Liverpool’s job became all the more difficult in the 37th minute.
In another one of the many counter-attacking moves that PSG produced on the night, Edinson Cavani’s shot from Kylian Mbappe’s squared pass was well saved by Alisson. But, the rebound fell to Neymar, who gleefully obliged by tapping the ball into the bottom right corner.
Liverpool were given a glimmer of hope at the stroke of half-time, when James Milner converted from the spot after Angel Di Maria had fouled Sadio Mane in the box to concede the penalty. But, the Reds could not find a way back into the game, lacking substance in a relatively subdued second half, wherein Alisson again came to the rescue.
Defeat on MD5. It now comes down to our final #UCL group game at Anfield. #PSGLFC https://t.co/RajZN9fOra
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 28, 2018
With PSG winning 2-1, Liverpool have now lost each of their three away games in a UEFA Champions League group stage campaign for the very first time. The Reds have dropped to third on the Group C table and need a win over Napoli next month to reach the Round of 16. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Caught wrong footed for the first goal, Alisson couldn’t have done anything to stop Neymar from scoring either after saving the initial effort from Edinson Cavani. But, Alisson was the sole reason why Liverpool were in with a chance to salvage at least one point, if not more, with a string of fine saves.
Joe Gomez: 5/10
Preferred to Alexander-Arnold in the right-back slot, Gomez produced arguably his worst performance of the season. The Englishman struggled to adjust to the pace of the game, with Neymar giving him a hard time for the most part. Should return to his favoured centre-back role, especially after a poor outing by Lovren.
Dejan Lovren: 5/10
Lovren has had some hairy moments this season, although he’s looked composed for the most part. On Tuesday though, the Croat, making his first Champions League appearance of the season, just did not look good enough, with the fluid trio of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe troubling him the most.
In particular, the moment when he was caught napping for PSG’s first goal affected Liverpool the most in what was a largely uncomfortable night for Lovren. Gomez can be expected to take his place next time out.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
Since joining Liverpool in January, van Dijk has transformed the backline. Against PSG, however, the ghosts of the first half of last season resurfaced for the Reds, with the Dutch defender failing to organise the defensive line and a poor clearance led to Bernat’s goal. Made to work that bit harder due to the faltering midfield.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
The best of the lot at the back, especially with Kylian Mbappe making most of his impact in central areas. Up against Robertson though, the Frenchman had a tough time, failing to get the better of the Scot. But, the Liverpool left-back disappointed with his forward forays, with his crosses not having their usual bite.
James Milner: 5/10
Part of the Liverpool midfield that was overrun quite easily by PSG, Milner produced a performance to forget on his 150th outing for the Reds. The veteran did show a lot of urgency while on the ball, but nothing came to fruition for him on the night. Only positive was the goal he scored from the penalty spot to pull a goal back.
Jordan Henderson: 4/10
A forgettable week continued for Henderson, who was sent off against Watford last weekend. Against PSG, the Liverpool captain wasn’t any better, with Marco Verratti showing exactly what he needed to do in the middle of the park. The 28-year-old though, just could not take control of the game, leaving the back four exposed for large parts of the game.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 4/10
Tuesday’s performance was Wijnaldum’s worst of the season as well, with the usually reliable Dutchman looking forlorn in the middle of the park. An early booking meant he was hesitant while tackling, and the player was slow to move the ball forward. Unsurprisingly the first Liverpool player to be taken off.
Mohamed Salah: 4/10
The 2018-19 Champions League campaign has largely been quite an underwhelming one for Salah. And, his travails continued on Tuesday, with the Egyptian being far from his best.
Sloppy on the ball, Salah’s decision making, in particular, left a lot to be desired, as he often chose to take a needless shot or hold the ball longer than required instead of picking out a teammate. Back to the drawing board.
Roberto Firmino: 4/10
Firmino was coming into the match full of confidence after breaking his goal drought. Despite playing in his preferred false nine role, the Brazilian could not make much of an impact. Failed to keep a check on Verratti, and the fact that the midfield did not move the ball well meant he struggled to get into the game as well as he would have liked.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
The liveliest Liverpool player on show at Parc des Princes, Mane ran his socks off to make a difference for his side. His express run helped win the penalty for Liverpool that Milner converted. In the second half, the Senegalese remained the biggest threat for the visitors, but he could not add to his output.
Naby Keita: 5/10
Introduced midway through the second half, Keita was a definitive upgrade on Wijnaldum. But, while he did offer the required drive moving forward, the Guinean could not create a sustained impact. Still, there were some positive signs that should help him return to the starting lineup soon enough.
Daniel Sturridge: 5/10
On for Firmino, Sturridge continued in similar vein as the Brazilian, failing to show Klopp why he deserves more starts.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A
Given 13 minutes to get help Liverpool back on level terms, Shaqiri was rather subdued and did not make much of an impact.
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