By Israel Igiri
The Parc des Princes will be on fire on Wednesday night when Paris Saint Germain host Liverpool in match-day five of the UEFA Champions League. It certainly promises to be a cracker as it is a game with a lot at stake for both teams.
After four games in Europe’s Premier Club Competition, Group C represents the most open and most ddifficult to predict in this season’s tournament with two points separating the leaders (Napoli and Liverpool) from the bottom team (Red Star Belgrade).
The Les Parisiens are enjoying a superb start to the season, having claimed maximum points from as many games they have played this season. However, the story is different in the Champions League for the French Champions as they currently sit third in the group after winning once, drawing twice and losing once in their opening four games.
For the Reds, it is not a different story as they are also struggling in the Champions League. They go into the game after winning two and losing two of their four matches so far. Their struggle was evident in their last game when they shockingly lost to Red Star Belgrade away from home.
Going into the game, it certainly is a must win for Thomas Tuchel’s men. Failure to win will put their qualification to the next round hanging by a thread considering the fact that Napoli are playing at the San Paolo and should do enough to see off their Serbian counterparts. A loss for Tuchel’s side and a win for Carlo Ancelotti’s men at the other end in Italy will all but end their hopes of winning the elusive Champions League title this season.
Jurgen Klopp will draw inspiration from his side’s 3-2 victory in the first leg at Anfield on match-day one. He will hope that his boys can get a positive result from the game which will keep his side on track for qualification. But if they lose in France and Napoli wins, they will need a miracle to advance to the next round when they host Ancelotti’s men in match-day six.
For PSG, failure to get through the Champions League groups would, in a sense, mar their season, in that even victories in France’s three domestic competitions would still fall short of their expectations as their top priority is reigning supreme in the Champions League.
As such, Tuchel has got to deliver on Wednesday as he was hired to change the team’s narratives in Europe. So, failure to take his side far in the competition could cost him his job at the end of the season. And like he said prior to the game “We have struggled a bit so far, but we are still in the running and we have our fate in our own hands.” He added “I think in order to win a competition you need things to click in place.” That was well said of him. For the reigning Ligue 1 champions, the Champions League is the most important trophy for them this season. Therefore, it is time for them to start clicking as their gaffer had said.
Let’s take a look at the team news
For PSG, the big question is whether Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will be fit to feature in the game, having missed the team’s league win over Toulouse due to injuries sustained during the international break. Although, the club have stated that both players only sustained minor knocks and are in good shape ahead of the game.
Liverpool have no injury worries and should have Joe Gomez to call upon after the Englishman recovered from a minor ankle injury picked up in training.
This will be the fourth time both teams have gone ahead in official competition with the English side boasting a slight advantage. Including the 3-2 win at Anfield on match-day one, the Merseyside club have won two games to PSG’s one.
While a draw would be a respectable result for the Reds, they will need a win on the final day against Napoli to have a chance of topping the group. However, with the attacking prowess of Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani, PSG should get their Champions League quest back on track with a win in front of their fans on Wednesday night. Whatever happens in this fixture, there promises to be an exciting climax to this group.