Liverpool’s Champions League campaign kicked off with a last-ditch win as they saw off PSG 3-2 in stoppage time.
Liverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Champions League, Anfield
September 18, 2018
Goals: Sturridge 31′, Milner pen 36′, Firmino 90′; Meunier 40′, Mbappe 82′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
Couldn’t do anything about the goal. A couple of straight-forward saves beforehand and his distribution was good from his hands—though one kicked clearance went awry.
Had absolutely nothing to do in the second half except pick the ball out of the net.
A tremendous outlet for the Reds in the first half. He was always looking to deliver early and one searching cross ended up leading to the opening goal.
Good tracking back, always alert to transitions and sensible with his passing.
Made several vital tackles and toe-ends against PSG’s dribbling front men. Almost scored late on with a free-kick against the upright.
Joe Gomez – 8.5
Composed, assured, confident. Another step along the road to proving himself a top-class centre-back.
Wasn’t troubled one-on-one too often, but made a couple of good tackles on Neymar when he needed to, making it club and country where he has dominated the Brazilian.
Kept his composure right at the end to help keep the pressure on at the other end of the pitch.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Like Gomez, he won pretty much everything and the goals couldn’t be attributed to either defender, one being offside and the other ricocheting favourably for the attackers after Van Dijk had made a challenge.
Was a real handful on set pieces and, like Gomez, kept his head to free Firmino for the winner at the death.
A good showing on an individual level as well as as a partnership.
Andy Robertson – 8.5
What a cross for the opening goal! An inch-perfect delivery to put the Reds ahead, after he had been largely subjected to watching on from deep beforehand.
Had a tough time against Mbappe in some stages but stuck diligently to his task and didn’t give up space without a fight.
Came into his own in the second half as he was asked to work both halves of the pitch far more often.
Jordan Henderson – 8
A hard-working first half from the skipper after being recalled to the side. Did well in one-vs-one situations, kept his passing simple.
After the break he was quicker in the tackle, helping the press start a little higher upfield at times, and his passing was creative in the right areas.
Caught out by a few PSG passes from deep which bypassed midfield, but didn’t really put a foot wrong.
James Milner – 9 (Man of the Match)
A monster first half, encapsulated by a series of thundering tackles on Neymar and Co. Dispatched his penalty perfectly.
Milner ran both channels with regularity but was always ready to get back into position, make himself available for the pass and cover spaces against PSG’s counters.
A little quieter after the break but still influential in winning back possession, doubling up in the right areas and helping construct attacks.
Gini Wijnaldum – 9
After being pushed further forward it was important that Wijnaldum had one of his more influential matches—and he certainly did, taking every opportunity to break into the final third in possession.
Good running on the overlap and his adventurous work saw him win a penalty for 2-0.
Late on he was often the midfielder still full of running and looking to support counter-attacks while it was still 2-1.
Really good start to the season for the Dutchman, by and large.
Mohamed Salah – 6
A little off the pace at times, but an important outlet even so.
Continuously made runs between full-back and centre-back, held the ball up well at times and was full of endeavour even when things didn’t quite come off for him.
Had a goal ruled out on the hour, but visibly tired and was wasteful in the last 15 minutes—including gifting the ball to PSG for Mbappe’s equaliser.
Sadio Mane – 7
A strange performance from Mane, who was heavily involved and worked hard, but didn’t really look close to having a telling impact in the penalty box.
Did well in the channels at times, but again was lacking in the final pass or shot.
Late on could have teed up any one of three team-mates, but fired wide from a narrow angle.
Daniel Sturridge – 8
Sturridge was handed a huge opportunity to start and his goal was the perfect way to make the most of it.
Not as involved as Firmino usually is in build-up play, but he led the line well and dropped deep at times too, even switching with Salah to the wing.
A fine run between the centre-backs and a perfect header to put the Reds ahead, then should have scored another one in the second half from a similar position.
Impressive, all told, in his 70 minutes on the pitch.
Starting XI Average Rating: 7.82
Firmino (on for Sturridge, 70′) – 7.5 – Worked hard as usual, kept hold of the ball nicely… and scored a brilliant last-minute winner!
Shaqiri (on for Salah, 85′) – N/A – Only a few minutes on the pitch, took a couple of set pieces.
Fabinho (on for Mane, 90′) – N/A – Made his debut, played about 50 seconds, gave away a foul!
Subs not used: Mignolet, Matip, Moreno, Keita.
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Can’t really fault Klopp on much. His lineup was strong, he called the Sturridge-Firmino situation very well both pre- and in-game, and pushed his team forward for the winner from the sidelines.
Definitely should have taken off Salah 10 minutes earlier, but the counter-attacking chances were there in fairness.
Celebrated the winner as if he had diving headed it home himself!
Player ratings definitions: 10 = Faultless | 9 = Excellent | 8 = Very Good | 7 = Good | 6 = Average | 5 = Below Par | 4 = Bad | 3 = Very Bad | 2 Awful | 1 = Surely Not