Liverpool lose at Paris Saint-Germain as last-16 dream hangs in balance



Champions League Group C, Parc des Princes - Paris Saint-Germain 2 (Bernat 13', Neymar 37') Liverpool 1 (Milner 45+1' pen)

Paris Saint-Germain were far too good for Liverpool, easily outplaying them in the first half before seeing them away in the second period.
They must now beat Red Star Belgrade to qualify for the last 16, though even a defeat does the job if Liverpool-Napoli is a draw; Liverpool must win that game either 1-0 or by two clear goals.
From the off, Liverpool had no answer the PSG’s superior pace, skill and movement, unable to cope in midfield, where Marco Verratti dominated. Also in the mood was Neymar, a shimmering, swaying menace, though when the opening goal came it was from a surprising source, Juan Bernat driving home while Liverpool’s defenders dreamt of tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
That was on 13 minutes, and on 37 minutes the game looked over, a fine break eventually finished by Neymar.
Just before half-time, though, Angel Di Maria slid maniacally through Sadio Mane to concede a penalty that James Milner dispatched with customary competence and a serious second half looked in prospect. But Liverpool could not find a spark and looked more likely to concede a third than score a second.
So they must now rouse themselves for what should be glorious European night at Anfield - but if they do not play better than they did tonight, they may well lose that one too.

Paris Saint-Germain v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Group C – Parc Des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Group C – Parc Des PrincesPA Sport

TALKING POINT Are Liverpool worse than they were last season?

Change is a difficult thing to manage, and Liverpool conceded too many goals last season.
But the midfield Jurgen Klopp picked tonight could not hope to outplay PSG - no combination available to him could - but the lack of guile, skill and wit meant that they were unlikely ever to create enough chances to do anything.
If they are to beat Napoli, who they know to be no joke, they may need to think again.

Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool shakes hands with Jordan Henderson of Liverpool after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2018 in Paris, France.
Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool shakes hands with Jordan Henderson of Liverpool after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2018 in Paris, France.Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH Marco Verratti (PSG)

Might easily have been sent-off, but he wasn't, and he first set the tempo for the game, then controlled it. A brilliant player.

Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

  • PSG: Buffon 6, Kehrer 6, Thiago Silva 7, Kimpembe 5, Bernat 7, Verratti 8, Marquinhos 6, Mbappe 7, Neymar 7, Di Maria 6, Cavani 5..subs: Alves 6, Choupo-Moting 6, Rabiot 6
  • Liverpool: Alisson 7, Gomez 5, Lovren 5, Van Dijk 5, Robertson 5, Milner 6, Henderson 4, Wijnaldum 4, Salah 4, Firmino 5, Mane 5..subs: Shaqiri 6, Keita 6, Sturridge 6

KEY STATS

  • Liverpool have lost all three Champions League group stage away games for the first time in the competition.
  • Paris Saint-Germain have 50 Champions League wins in just 95 games; only Real Madrid (88) and Barcelona (93) have done it quicker.
  • Liverpool have lost four successive European Cup/Champions League away games for the first time in their history.
  • Paris Saint-Germain are unbeaten in their last 21 home group stage games in the Champions League (W16 D5), since losing 1-3 to CSKA Moscow in December 2004.
  • Since 2016-17, no Champions League side have conceded more goals from the penalty spot (7) or conceded more penalties (8) than Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar is now the top-scoring Brazilian player in Champions League history, overtaking Kak√° who scored 30 goals in the competition.
  • Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has been directly involved in 50 Champions League goals (31 goals, 19 assists).