Liverpool paid the price for a sloppy and lethargic opening as they fell to a 2-1 defeat in Paris, leaving Champions League progression delicately hinged on the final group game.
PSG 2-1 Liverpool
Champions League Group Stage (5), Parc des Princes
November 28, 2018
Goals: Bernat 13′, Neymar 37; Milner 45+1′
Alisson – 8 (out of 10) (Man of the Match)
After finding himself with little to do for much of the season to date, the Brazilian was under the pump from the first whistle and was a clear standout on a night that was always bound to test his credentials.
While he had no chance to save either of PSG’s goals, he was key to keeping the Reds in the game for as long as possible with a number of top saves, including immediately before Neymar’s goal from Cavani.
Joe Gomez – 5.5
Gomez replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back and the early onslaught saw him struggle to adapt to the pace of the game as PSG funnelled their attack down his flank.
He has been imperious as a centre-back this season but another switch in position fell flat as the partnership with Dejan Lovren failed to replicate any resemblance of the success he has established with Virgil van Dijk.
A return to the heart of the defence is a must moving forward.
Dejan Lovren – 5
Lovren earned his first Champions League appearance of the season, but like many of his teammates it was not a night where he showered himself in glory.
Instead he was never quite in the right position and it showcased how rapidly the Gomez and Van Dijk partnership has prospered in his absence.
Virgil van Dijk – 5
It was not the level of performance we have come to expect from the Dutchman.
He was aerially dominant as usual, but his sloppy attempt to clear the ball all but handed PSG the opener – although Liverpool’s fate had been sealed once the hosts were allowed to waltz through the middle of the field.
Allowed his frustration to show late on after handing a number of needless fouls PSG’s way.
Andy Robertson – 7
A solid contributor once again, impressing with his covering defence and runs down the flank.
He was Liverpool’s most likely avenue to goal in the second term after finding himself in pockets of space between the French outfit’s midfield and defence, where only his final ball let him down.
Was vital in making a number of interceptions, most notably against Kylian Mbappe, to keep Liverpool in with a chance of taking something from the game.
Jordan Henderson – 4
After finishing the Watford game on a sour note the visit to the French capital offered the opportunity for Henderson to make amends – but, it was not to be for the Liverpool skipper.
As the anchor of the midfield Henderson struggled to take command and grab the game by the scruff of the neck when PSG were running amok, he instead often found himself looking on from afar as PSG’s forwards moved further out of sight.
Like his midfield compatriots, Henderson struggled to close space as sloppiness reigned supreme. Played far too many safe balls, especially when Liverpool needed to get the ball forward quickly.
Gini Wijnaldum – 4
It was not a night for Wijnaldum, who again struggled to work effectively alongside Henderson.
Concentration lapses ensured he was often slow to take possession and move the ball on, he was hesitant to take any risks which saw Liverpool predictable both in and out off possession – and he was duly hooked midway through the second term.
Booked early on, required a change in position to avoid another.
James Milner – 5
Milner was the better of the midfield trio, barely, after being the most willing to look forward for a pass rather than backwards.
He was just as culpable for the space offered to PSG but, importantly, he gave the Reds a lifeline by emphatically dispatching his penalty and came out in the second term with a more disciplined mindset.
Mohamed Salah – 5
The Egyptian was in and amongst the action throughout but with little effect, losing possession more often than creating an opening for a teammate.
His decision making left a little to be desired as he often opted for a shot instead of teeing up a teammate in a better position.
Not the Salah of last season.
Sadio Mane – 7
Mane had a quiet start to the game, which was symptomatic of Liverpool’s lack of control, but his creativity in the final third ensured he was the Reds’ brightest spark.
He single handedly got the Reds back in the game after winning a penalty following a show of determination to get into the box, and was consistently a thorn in the side of PSG’s defence.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Firmino failed to influence the game and was anonymous for the most part, and arguably his worst performance in a long time.
The Brazilian failed to curb Marco Verratti’s influence and was left out to dry as the midfield offered very little in the way of forward impetus.
A rare off night in the Champions League, but could this in part be due to his changed role recently? It can’t help.
Starting XI Average Rating: 5.5
Naby Keita (on for Wijnaldum, 66′) – 6
Offered much needed forward drive, but with limited game time to date it was never going to be easy to make an instant impact.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Firmino, 71′) – 6
Was in and amongst the action with very little impact.
Shaqiri (on for Milner, 77′) – 6
His few opportunities to impress on set pieces were spurned.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho
Jurgen Klopp – 5
Klopp opted for a midfield three who have long struggled to assert their dominance on the road in the Champions League, and it backfired as Liverpool had no early answer for PSG’s onslaught.
Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum were far too passive and left the front three out to dry with no connection from defence to attack, again shining a light on Liverpool’s ability to create and score goals in Europe this term.
The German made a trio of attacking substitutions but it was too little too late as the damage had already been done.
An evening to forget for both players and manager, although, luckily, all is not lost with one game to go.