UEFA 2018/19: Liverpool vs Paris Saint-Germain: Facts & Stats

The UEFA Champions League is back as Liverpool play host to Thomas Tuchel’s PSG in their group stage match at Anfield

Previous meetings 

The two clubs have only played each other twice before this and both matches took place during the1996-97 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals with PSG going through to the final on aggregate after beating Liverpool 3 – 0 at home at the Parc des Princes and losing 2 – 0 away at Anfield in the second leg. They ultimately had to settle for second place after suffering a 1 – 0 defeat to Barcelona in the final in Rotterdam, Holland courtesy of the original Ronaldo’s penalty kick.

2017-18 Champions League

While PSG broke the record for most goals scored during the UCL group stages with their 25 goals; Liverpool broke the all-time record for goals in a single UCL season, scoring 47 goals in 15 matches with an average of 3.13 goals per match. The Reds also came in second with their group stage goal tally, scoring 23 goals.

Both PSG and Liverpool had their 2017-18 UCL campaign thwarted by Real Madrid. PSG went out in the last 16 (for the second successive year) after losing both the first and second leg against Madrid, 3 – 1 at the Bernabeu and 1 – 2 at Parc des Princes (2 – 5 on aggregate). Liverpool of course reached the final and lost 3 – 1 to Real Madrid in Kyiv, Ukraine in May 2018.

Liverpool’s UCL form

Liverpool scored an average of 3.15 goals in the UCL last season and reached their eighth European final. After finishing in fourth place in the Premier League last season they are in the UCL for the second season running after only featuring once in the previous seven seasons of the competition.

Liverpool have not lost a European home match since their 3 – 0 loss to Real Madrid on 22 October 2014 and are unbeaten in their last 16 European home matches, winning 11 and drawing five. Liverpool have won 11, drawn 1 and lost 2 matches at Anfield against Ligue 1 visiting opposition, most recently beating Bordeaux 2 – 1 during the 2015-16 Europa League group stage.

James Milner’s nine assists in the 2017/18 Champions League set a new competition record. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all scored ten goals – the first time three players from the same team reached double figures.

Liverpool’s key features 
(as set out in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League technical report)

  • 1-4-3-3 in possession and out of possession; compact unit
  • Passing game in own half; direct, purposeful penetration in attack
  • Extremely fast counters; regains based on well-coordinated high pressing
  • Very athletic, industrious midfield trio linking the lines effectively
  • Three incisive forwards making powerful runs behind opposition back line
  • Firmino and Salah combining with neat touches at high speed
  • High defence with wide players quick to exert pressure on centre-backs
  • High-energy, high-intensity

PSG’s UCL form

The French side will be playing in their seventh successive UCL campaign this season after becoming Ligue 1 champions for the fifth time in six years last season. The Paris side were eliminated at the last 16 in their last two UCL campaigns and prior to that they were eliminated at the quarter final stage in the four previous seasons and finished as semi-finalists in 1995. While they are the most successful club in French footballing history, they have never won the Champions League and have lost their last three European matches and the last time they lost three in a row in Europe was between 2002 and 2004.

Their record on English soil to date is 1 win, 4 draws and 4 losses. They are without a win against English opposition in their last four games having drawn 3 and lost 1. Prior to that they beat Chelsea in the 2015-16 UCL round of 16, second leg which was their first win in England.

Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to reach 10 goals in the UCL after scoring against Bayern Munich in December 2017 in a match PSG went on to lose 3 – 1

PSG’s key features 
(as set out in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League technical report)

  • 1-4-3-3 with two controlling midfielders and genuine wingers
  • Verratti the free spirit, dropping deep to build and link attacks
  • Balanced attacking with only three players ahead of the ball
  • Purposeful possession game based on high-tempo combination moves
  • Two wingers running deep or cutting inside; good support from full-backs
  • Cavani running hard to lead attack, meet deliveries from wings
  • Aggressive pressing in midfield; fast, direct counters after regains
  • Dangerous set plays; aerial power and free-kick specialists

Interesting Trivia

The managers

Thomas Tuchel has succeeded Jürgen Klopp as manager not once, but twice in their careers. Klopp managed German side Mainz from 2001 – 2008, followed by Tuchel who managed the side from 2009 to 2014 and subsequently managed Borussia Dortmund; becoming their coach in the summer of 2015 after Klopp left the club at the end of the 2014-15 season.

Also Read: UEFA Nations League: all you need to know

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