PSG vs. LIVERPOOL – A QUICK BREAKDOWN

There is no point in kidding ourselves here. When Paris St. Germain have a fully fit team and are firing on all cylinders, they are exceptional. Last night that is what we saw in the Champions League game, and some times you just have to bow down and say “respect”.

In stark contrast to the previous meeting between the two clubs at Anfield, PSG were up for this one from the first whistle. Their level of intensity and work rate I have never, ever seen before. In the past they had a tendency to cruise through matches such is their talent, but this is not what we saw last night. They fought, they hurried, they tackled while still maintaining their extremely high caliber of attacking play. Even as a fan of the defeated side, it was a joy to watch.

Neymar Jr was unplayable at times. Using his speed of turn, vision and tricks to run circles around the Liverpool midfield. But that is not surprising from him. What really surprised me was his intensity and effort in the defensive side of the game. Rarely did he stop running throughout the entire match and he was not afraid at all to get involved in the physical side. If he were to play like this week in week out, he would be the best player in the world hands down.

I cannot go further as well without discussing the monster performance by Thiago Silva. At 34 years old, the man was just outstanding. He reads the game so well. His tackling is sublime and he is also a power house in the air. It was a dominant display of discipline and grace. I just loved watching it. In fairness the PSG back three had an amazing game as a unit, marshaled by Silva. The kept a very lively Liverpool attacking force relatively quiet on the night. And that is not an easy achievement.

I also enjoyed watching the performance of Marco Verratti in midfield. He is like a little rabid bulldog at the heart of the PSG midfield and really makes them tick. He brings energy, steel, vision and bite to the midfield. And is instrumental in helping protect the defensive unit as well. In saying that, he probably should have been sent off in the first half for a studs up challenge on Joe Gomez. But at the end of that day, no excuses, PSG were very good value for the three points.

A quick mention of Thomas Tuchel. We all know his pedigree after the fantastic job he did with Borussia Dortmund. But he had a monumental challenge coming in to PSG. A challenge getting them to progress their league dominance on to the European stage where they consistently meet opponents of greater quality. It wasn’t easy at first, but if last night is the beginning of a consistent quality in this competition, they will have a very good chance of going all the way this time around. Which is so desperately what they crave.

Just a quick few words on Liverpool. It wasn’t their best performance yesterday, however it wasn’t their worst either. And I think you have to give the opposition credit for playing an almost tactically perfect game. The back three of PSG and the two deep lying midfielders basically choked of any space that Liverpool would have wished to exploit. This was not a performance that left me frustrated at all. The dour game away to Napoli, and the pathetic performance at Red Star, they were worthy of great criticism. This one however, was just a reminder of where our current shortcomings lie.

The problem for Liverpool is they still lack ball players in midfield. Coutinho has not been replaced. And that is a problem. Should Liverpool really want to be seen on par with the likes of Man City, Barca and PSG then they will have to buy at least two high quality ball playing midfielders. If they can do that, then they will have a chance of competing with the elite.

To summarize, well done PSG. Great performance and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Be interesting if they can keep this level through to the latter stages of the tournament. As for Liverpool, a massive game coming up in couple of weeks against Napoli. Liverpool will go in as favourites at home, but in reality anything can happen. Should the reds find themselves knocked out, it will not have been due to this PSG loss. It will be due to those other away day disasters.

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Discussion

  1. Claude

    i only saw the highlights but it seemed defensive errors costed you. Also your attack was below par and thus had few chances.

    1. davidoziborg

      As per the article, Liverpool did not play particularly well, however, Neymar, Mbappe, Verratti and Silva in particular had monster games. Normally I am the first to criticize Liverpool when we are shit, however I didn’t get that feeling on Wednesday. More that we were just outplayed.

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