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At Anfield, Liverpool Look to Turn the Clock Back as Determined PSG Come Calling

Domestic statements of intent are passé for both as they crave the tag of European powerhouse and the curtain raiser provides the perfect stage, if not glorious Anfield. Liverpool need to start all over again to prove Kiev was not a flash in the pan, while the superstar vehicle from Paris has business and Financial Fair Play to worry about too.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:September 18, 2018, 3:48 PM IST
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At Anfield, Liverpool Look to Turn the Clock Back as Determined PSG Come Calling
(Image: LFC/Twitter)
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So near yet so far – Liverpool (2017/18) and Paris Saint Germain (2016/17) were both bullied into accepting their respective fates by traditional European footballing giants at a time when up seemed to be the only way.

Domestic statements of intent are passé for both as they crave the tag of European powerhouse and the curtain raiser provides the perfect stage, if not glorious Anfield. Liverpool need to start all over again to prove Kiev was not a flash in the pan, while the superstar vehicle from Paris has business and Financial Fair Play to worry about too.

Jurgen Klopp knows how to build an unrelenting and ruthless machine that can punch well above its weight with success. Over the summer, the likes of Alisson, Naby Kieta and Fabinho made their way to Melwood as Klopp looked to add steel and bring balance to an otherwise top heavy side. The policy has worked like clockwork at most times within the early weeks of what promises to be a tough tough season for the Reds.

Nothing short of menacing, especially on their own patch, Liverpool characteristically won’t back down, for all of the 90 minutes and more. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with the ball at their feet they can be devastating. Off the ball though, they are hostile and won’t the opposition tread easy.

Previously, even in 2005, Liverpool weren’t blessed with the solidarity they have shown up until now. Even though it’s early days, only once have Klopp’s men had it easy; three away wins in a record five consecutive victories have embodied the will to share the workload. Not that the team spirit was lacking before this, the upgrades, as always made a difference.

The Reds have conceded twice so far, one from a set piece, while the other is a memory Alisson’s teammates will ensure remain a story for the ages.

Liverpool has looked solid, focused and hard to break down if not miserly in terms of giveaways and the Parisians who don’t always use similar ways are likely to get a routine welcome.

PSG’s Financial Fair Play case is up for review this week, and the primary reason this even cropped up are the mind-boggling transfers of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Together not only do they send a chilling feeling down the spine of most defenders but also show selfish streaks and on Tuesday night the meticulous Thomas Tuchel is undoubtedly likely to ask for the former off them.

One, the world’s most expensive footballer with the tendency to be brash is the fulcrum of their project to dominate, while the other is a nineteen year old and the second-most expensive player in the world who recently played an important role in helping France win the sport’s most coveted prize. Project Neymar though has not been able to get past the round of 16 yet.

Angel di Maria and Edinson Cavani are both extremely able and established in their own right have to be content with playing the supporting role. Adrien Rabiot, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and the like almost seem to have their own act going – defending.

The Italian has seen it all; the fact that he made is his debut against George Weah and is now playing alongside his son Tim is testament to his longevity and ability to adapt in the game that has grown in leaps in bounds.

Unlike their opponents, PSG have not been solid at the back; five games in Ligue 1 have seen them concede four times and have a player sent off, albeit that was Mbappe in stoppage time against Nimes.

The Parisians bring to the table the ability to absolutely sweep you off your feet without, or fragility that seems them implode even when things are going their way.

Across lines, both sides are a complete contrast to each other; while one is intense and deeply traditional, the other is flamboyant and don’t mind indulging themselves with luxuries few can afford.

Neither can achieve the levels of Real Madrid or Barcelona they aspire for, and similarly are not likely to treat this testing opening night of the group stages of the Champions League as mundane.
| Edited by: Shayne Dias
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