Wednesday sees Liverpool come up against Paris Saint-Germain in what is a crunch tie in Champions League Group C.
The Reds currently sit in second place in the group on six points, after picking up victories against Red Star Belgrade Les Parisiens in the return fixture at Anfield. Despite this, losses against Napoli and Red Star in Serbia mean that Group C is still very much anyone’s for the taking, adding more gravitas to math day five.
PSG will know that they must avoid defeat at all costs if they are to realistically stand much of a chance of making it out of the group and taking a step closer to their holy grail of the Champions League trophy. And Thomas Tuchel’s side certainly represent a very stern test for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
There will be an array of talent on display from both sides, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar likely to be passed fit to play, joining Cavani, Di Maria and Draxler in PSG’s star-studded front line.
The reigning French champions are one of Europe’s most dangerous sides on their day, and can cause damage to any side. Even on an off-day as they experienced when they visited Merseyside back in September, they still managed to come within a whisker of earning a point thanks almost wholly to the combination Neymar and Mbappe for PSG’s equaliser late on.
As well as boasting an impressive attack, PSG aren’t too shabby at the back, either. Having only conceded seven goals in Ligue 1 this season, Tuchel will be confident that his side can keep even a team as deadly as Liverpool at bay in their home stadium: the Parc des Princes.
In fact, PSG have only conceded four goals in the last eight home fixtures in all competitions – a run stretching back as far as the beginning of September.
It’s a tough task facing Liverpool, and many teams both domestically and in Europe’s elite competition will fear coming up against them, and many will have them down as favourites to give Klopp a bit of a headache going into the final game of the group. A defeat for Liverpool in Paris means that they will have to win their final game at home against Napoli or they will be dumped out of the competition.
But while many will believe that Liverpool will need to be very wary of PSG, this sentiment should be being mirrored by everyone associated with PSG: they should be extremely cautious of the damage Liverpool can do to them.
PSG have first-hand experience of this after being played off the park for the majority of their trip to Anfield, and were rather fortunate to have even been in with a sniff of getting themselves a draw.
Thomas Tuchel will have been left reeling after two late goals in his two trips to Liverpool’s spiritual home while in charge of Dortmund and now PSG left him on the wrong end of a brilliant night of footballing drama.
This will be fresh in the memory of all of those who were involved on the special night, and they will inevitably be determined to avoid a similar fate this time around.
But what’s more, they need not forget that they are coming up against last season’s beaten finalists. Last season’s finalists who romped their way to the final, scoring goals at will, pulling teams apart with their incisive attacking play and firmly putting Liverpool Football Club back on the map.
Perhaps what is more worrying is that Liverpool still look like they’ve got a few gears to find this season, and could quite easily turn on the style like they did so often last term.
Liverpool showed no fear last year and continue to do so under Klopp, so PSG should be aware as to give too much away to the Reds.
And if we think that PSG are going to come out all guns blazing against Liverpool – that too could cause them problems.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Liverpool employ a style more focused on counter-attacking on Wednesday night, and if PSG over-commit men forward, they’re going to leave themselves wide open to the likes of Mané, Salah and Firmino to tear away and score on the counter with their keen eye for goal and blistering pace.
It’s going to be an intriguing encounter, with both sides looking to at least avoid defeat but having their eyes ideally set on taking all three points. Liverpool will not be scared of facing PSG, but PSG should be scared of facing Liverpool.