PSG 2 – 1 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Another Loss Away in Europe

Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by PSG in Paris to put the Reds’ Champions League progression under serious threat. Liverpool started slowly and PSG took advantage by emulating the Reds of last year in blowing us off the park early. Similarly, the home fans channelled an Anfield-like spirit and roared their team to victory.

Their first goal was slightly fortunate but certainly deserved, as Juan Bernat arrived first to a failed reactionary clearance by van Dijk, and managed to deflect a shot beyond a helpless Alisson. Neymar doubled their lead after our ‘keeper brilliantly denied Edison Cavani, but the Brazilian villain was never going to miss from only a few yards out.

Liverpool slowly kicked on after this but failed to create any clear-cut chances. James Milner slotted home a penalty just before half-time, but it wasn’t enough. Even though the Reds had far more possession in the second half, they were unable to do anything meaningful with it.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – (Man of the Match) 9

The fact that the ‘keeper was Man of the Match in a loss tells the story. Regardless, Alisson was unbelievable and couldn’t do anything about either of PSG’s goals. He was the only reason that the score was kept respectable, as the Reds could’ve easily conceded another three or four if it weren’t for his interventions.

Some superb efforts to deny the likes of Angel Di Maria, Cavani, and Thiago Silva stand out as the best of the bunch. It’s obviously better if our ‘keeper doesn’t have to do so much work, but it’s still good to be sure that even when we’re being overrun, Alisson can keep our heads above water.

Joe Gomez – 4.5

Playing Gomez at right-back was an okay idea in theory. But the game isn’t played in theory, and the experiment didn’t work at all. The logic was to use Gomez as extra protection against Neymar, but that backfired badly as PSG ran through the right side of our defence all night.

A swift return to centre-back is needed for young Joe, and in hindsight, it was foolish to move him out of the role that he’d been playing so well in.

Dejan Lovren – 4

This was Lovren’s first Champions League appearance of the season, and it may well be his last. The Croatian played no worse than any of the other defenders, but it’s clear that VVD’s partner should be Gomez.

He couldn’t handle the speed and quick thinking of PSG’s attacking trio and was regularly caught out of position, including in the buildup to the second goal when he was woefully left in the dust.

Virgil van Dijk – 4

We’ve come to expect so much more from the Dutchman, and while the result doesn’t rest on his shoulders, we needed him to step up again and lead the defence to an assured performance, but he didn’t.

Like Lovren, he failed to keep up with PSG’s slick attack, and it was his failed, albeit difficult, clearance that led to the opening goal. Although, Gomez might’ve reacted quicker to either get ahead of Bernat, or close down the eventual shot.

Andy Robertson – 6.5

Robbo was the only defender who can take any pride out of that game, and even then, his reactions towards the end of the match showed that he’s just as furious about the result as many of the fans.

Kylian Mbappe was kept quiet for most of the game, and that was largely due to Robbo’s interceptions and covering runs. He was also able to threaten PSG’s flank with some nice overlapping runs, but unfortunately, his end product wasn’t up to scratch.

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Jordan Henderson – 3

Hendo needed to redeem himself in the eyes of many fans after needlessly getting himself sent off against Watford, but he’s only fanned the flames with this performance.

Unsurprisingly, his biggest sin was repeatedly passing backwards when the opportunity to break was on. We desperately needed some sort of drive or spark from midfield, or at the very least, for the midfielders not to slow the game down. Hendo was more of a hindrance than a help in that regard.

Gini Wijnaldum – 3

In fairness to Hendo, the rest of the midfield wasn’t much better. It’s so frustrating to see Gini absolutely dominate some games, and then go missing for 30-minute spells in others. The first time I saw him anywhere near the play, he was getting booked.

We needed our midfield to give the rest of the team a hand, but they neither provided the attackers with any meaningful ammunition nor gave the defence the support they so desperately needed.

James Milner – 5

Milner gets a better rating simply because he scored. To be fair, he was also the best of the worst when it came to getting attacking moves started, but that’s really not saying much at all.

He was just as guilty as anyone of allowing PSG’s players acres of space in the midfield and did little to turn the tables even once momentum had begun to shift. His penalty was our only shot on target. A damning statistic.

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Mo Salah – 4

Sometimes it feels like ‘one step forward, two steps back’ with Salah. This game showed all of the things that have worried Liverpool fans about Mo’s performances this season.

His decision making in the final third was frankly, abysmal. He’d shoot when the pass was on, and pass when the shot was on. To make matters worse, regardless of his decision, he’d execute the final ball terribly. It’s also a mystery as to why he’s on corner duty when he’s decent in the air, but more importantly, horribly inconsistent with his crosses.

Sadio Mane – 7

Mane didn’t manage to score or rescue the result, but he looked by far the most likely and won the penalty that could’ve changed the game for us.

He created chances all on his own when his fellow attackers weren’t showing any intelligent movement, and created space for himself with his pace and trickery when the midfield failed to give him a decent pass. Like Alisson and Robbo, he was let down by those around him.

Bobby Firmino – 3

Firmino did next to nothing all game, apart from one decent header that went high and wide. Being restored to a more familiar role could’ve meant a return to his form of last season, but we just got more of the same, minus the effective pressing and passing.

Bobby would’ve gotten a 4 as Mo did, but I’ve taken an extra point off for that disgusting thing on his upper lip. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst thing I saw during the game, but God did it come close.

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Naby Keita – (on for Wijnaldum 66′) 5

Naby tried hard and did give our midfield some much needed forward drive, but ultimately he couldn’t provide anything significant on the night.

Daniel Sturridge – (on for Firmino 71′) 4

His only contribution of note was to hold back a breaking PSG player late on. He got booked, but he needed to take one for the team to keep the deficit to only one goal.

Xherdan Shaqiri – (on for Milner 77′) 4

His only opportunities to make an impact came from set-pieces, and he didn’t take any of them particularly well. Although, his cross to Lovren was well-weighted.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Fabinho.


Jurgen Klopp – 3

Klopp made some big decisions for this game, and they all backfired. He needs to take responsibility for that. Yes, most of the players were individually poor, and that’s not something Klopp can control, but the warning signs have been there, and have seemingly been ignored.

The decision to revert to a 4-3-3 was predictable given that Klopp had previously hinted that the new 4-2-3-1 system would be played depending on the opposition for now, but it’s questionable as to why he’d so carelessly change what had been a winning formula. We hadn’t been back to our absolute best with the new system, but there were positive signs including a more productive midfield and more varied attack.

To his credit, he made three good, positive substitutions. However, some will argue that they all could’ve come on even sooner, in particular, Shaqiri, who was bizarrely the last to be brought on.

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Talking Points

What the Result Means

The reaction to the result and performance mightn’t have been so severe if it weren’t for the context that surrounded it. Here’s what Liverpool need to do to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Champions League:

Beat Napoli 1-0
Winning the game 1-0 would put Liverpool level on points and head-to-head results with Napoli, but clear of them on goals scored, which is the next criteria.

OR Beat Napoli by a Two-Goal Margin
If Napoli score, then the Reds will have to win by two or more to advance. This would leave us level on points, but leading on head-to-head results.

OR Beat Napoli and Have PSG Drop Points to Red Star
Any win would be good enough if PSG were to do the unthinkable and lose or draw to Red Star. Here’s hoping the Serbians are as up for that one as they were against us. Funnily enough, If PSG drop points and Liverpool win, then the Reds would finish top of the group on head-to-head results.

Ultimately though, we can only count on ourselves and will have to put in a heroic effort to progress. A draw won’t cut it, we’d be relegated to the Europa League in that case, and a loss could mean missing out on Europe altogether if Red Star win against PSG.

Embarrassing UEFA

It’s important to note that Liverpool are responsible for their own rubbish performance and painful result, however, there were a few things that didn’t help matters.

I generally don’t go after referees as it’s a difficult job, and for the most part, referees do a good job. One mistake in a game, even a big mistake, can be forgiven by more sympathetic fans, but this bloke was dreadful. Every second foul was given the wrong way, he showed yellow cards far too easily except in the case of Marco Verratti who should’ve been sent off a handful of times, and he had to be told by his assistant that a clear foul had been committed in the box. How UEFA could allow someone so incompetent to officiate over such an important game is beyond me.

PSG can be proud of the way they played but should be ashamed of their pathetic theatrics. Neymar was, of course, the worst offender, but Di Maria, Silva, Marquinhos, and many more were doing it too. You have to wonder what goes through their minds when they watch games back and see themselves rolling around like morons. I understand gamesmanship, and in this case it worked as the Reds lost their heads, but that doesn’t make it any less despicable. It’s one of the last blights on the beautiful game.

Problems to Address

Klopp’s got his work cut out for him now. Of course, few teams will be able to run through us as PSG did, but that doesn’t make the signs any less ominous. The result means Liverpool have lost all three of our European away games this season, a far cry from last year’s dizzying highs travelling abroad.

You’d like to think that this will be a kick up the backside in the vein of Tottenham away last season, but that’s perhaps too optimistic in the context of how we’ve been performing in general. Our attack is still a major concern, but not nearly as much as the midfield. The middle of the park holds the key for both ends of the pitch.

This is what Klopp needs to sort out as the highest priority because if our midfield is playing well, then our defence has to do less and our attackers will have more chances than they know what to do with. 4-2-3-1 has to be utilised from now on with Shaqiri as a starter. As for who will play as the double pivots? The jury’s still out on that one. What do you think?

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 29/11/2018

PSG vs Liverpool – Champions League Preview

It goes without saying for any Champions League game, but this one in particular, neither side will be satisfied with anything other than a win.

For Liverpool, it’s a golden opportunity to amend for past mistakes in the competition, especially the shocking loss to Red Star. A win here would guarantee qualification to the knockout rounds, while a draw or loss would leave them relying on other results and having to beat Napoli.

PSG face a similarly perilous position, but theirs is slightly more complex. They also face the prospect of relegation to the Europa League, but for them, that’d represent the ultimate failure of the ‘Neymar Experiment’, and could spell the end for the manager, and many players.

PSG Team News and Predicted Lineup


Thomas Tuchel had the unenviable prospect of taking on a near-full strength without his star duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Fortunately, for him, both were declared fit and are expected to play tonight, which is a shame for Liverpool as their absence would’ve made winning far easier. As things stand, Reds fans will have to hope that our defence is up to the challenge, as they were at Anfield in the previous encounter.

Other than that, PSG’s lineup should offer little in the way of surprises, the only other significant possibilities are the inclusion of Julian Draxler and Juan Bernat.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (1)

Liverpool will almost certainly select their strongest lineup, but there are a few players to be considered, particularly in the midfield.

Jordan Henderson is likely to start because he’s ineligible to play against Everton on the weekend. However, Fabinho’s deep knowledge of PSG’s players may come in handy if he’s preferred. Naby Keita is also a contender in what would be his long-awaited return.

Many fans will be hoping to see Xherdan Shaqiri play, but its doubtful that Klopp will try his relatively new 4-2-3-1 system in what will be a highly taxing game.

Pre-Game Analysis

PSG will still be hurting from the loss they suffered at Anfield, as many expected them to have too much firepower for the Merseysiders.

Mbappe, Neymar, and Edison Cavani in particular will be fired up and ready to try and make it up to their fans on home soil. It’ll be another major test for Liverpool’s defence, but one that they have already shown to be capable of overcoming.

Liverpool will be looking to exploit PSG’s likely intentions to attack from the off, meaning our midfield and attack will have to take advantage of the counter-attacking opportunities that the defence can provide.


Both sides possess immense strengths and few weaknesses, so much will depend on which side takes their chances on the day, as they will surely come in droves.

Both sides tactical approach to the match should be almost as interesting as the game itself, as both teams prefer to hit teams on the counter. Someone will have to take the initiative in this game.

It’ll be a tough night, particularly for the defenders, but Liverpool will emerge victorious in a thrilling 3-2 encounter.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 28/11/2018

Liverpool 3 – 2 PSG

Liverpool Deserved Winners After Late Winner

Although the scoreline suggests a closely-fought contest, the undeniable reality is that Liverpool completely overpowered PSG and should’ve won the game by a far greater margin.

Mo Salah had a goal inexplicably ruled out for a dubious foul in the build up, and Edison Cavani was well offside in the buildup to PSG’s first.

Ultimately though, a late goal from Bobby Firmino rescued all three points for the hosts after Kylian Mbappe looked as though he’d undone Daniel Sturridge and James Milner’s opening goals.

Football - UEFA Champions League - Group C - Liverpool FC v Paris Saint-Germain

Player Ratings

Alisson – 6:

There wasn’t much for the Brazilian to do all night aside from picking the ball up from the back of his own net twice.

While he wasn’t at fault for either goal, one dodgy clearance put his team under unnecessary pressure.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8:

Another sensational performance from the young Scouser as he accrued a whopping total of 91 touches, as well as topping the charts for successful tackles and passes into the opposition’s half.

Aside from comfortably dealing with PSG’s formidable attack, Trent was unlucky to see a well-hit free kick deflect wide.

Joe Gomez – 8.5:

No task is too great for the ex-Charlton youngster. He’s at home in the Premier League, and unfazed on Europe’s biggest stage.

Joe even made a few crucial tackles to deny Neymar throughout the game; what a talent this lad is blossoming in to.

Virgil van Dijk – 8:

VVD was as composed as ever, and even though we conceded twice, the blame can hardly fall on any of the defenders.

The first goal should’ve been ruled out for offside, and the second came from an unfortunate rebound off of a brilliant tackle by van Dijk to deny Neymar.

Andy Robertson – 9:

Robbo was a nightmare for PSG all night. He completely stifled Mbappe to such an extent that PSG fans were criticising the Frenchman’s performance, while Robbo also pinned back his opposite number with his overlapping runs.

His delivery from the cross to Daniel Sturridge was simply sublime, and as the Scotsman joked after the game, “he couldn’t miss”.

Jordan Henderson – 7.5:

Hendo was solid throughout the 90 minutes and led the team well from the base of midfield; although, it was interesting that Jurgen Klopp swapped Hendo and Gini’s roles for this game.

He was caught out a couple of times in the first half by quick ball movement, but he fulfilled his role in the press after the break excellently.

James Milner – 9 (Man of the Match):

Neymar had a nightmare of a game, not because he played particularly badly, but because ‘James Mildini’ absolutely crunched him over and over in the tackle.

Milner combined industry with elegance by regularly drifting into the half-spaces and slotting home his penalty as calmly as Liverpool fans have come to expect from him.

Gini Wijnaldum – 9:

If Gini keeps this run of form up, then he’ll be well on his way to having by far his best season in red and finally quelling criticisms that he’s an inconsistent player.

He was involved in everything Liverpool did going forward and was duly awarded a penalty after being brought down while making another dangerous burst into the PSG box.

Mo Salah – 6:

Mo endured through a night where the ‘Football Gods’ simply weren’t smiling down on him.

He had a goal incorrectly ruled out after he did well to follow up a dead ball, and then he was unlucky to give the ball away just before Mbappe scored the equaliser, which could’ve cost us two points.

Sadio Mane – 7:

This was one of Mane’s more frustrating performances for Liverpool, and for all his brilliant games, he’s had a few that have made fans scratch their heads.

He struck fear into the PSG defence every time he brought the ball forward and beat his man regularly, including a humiliating skill move to turn Neymar inside-out, but his final ball was lacking.

Daniel Sturridge – 9:

What a moment for to open the scoring on what was, unbelievably, his first ever start for Liverpool in a Champions League game.

Although Robbo’s cross made things easy, Studge’s run to get between the centre-backs was outstanding and highlighted a performance that showed he’s still an asset to the club.


Bobby Firmino – (on for Sturridge 70′) 10:

His hard work earned him the opportunity to win the game, which he did with a brilliant turn to wrong-foot Marquinhos and an equally fantastic finish to beat Alphonse Areola.

Xherdan Shaqiri – (on for Salah 85′) N/A:

Although publicly Shaq’s said he’s happy to wait for his opportunity, he must be getting frustrated at this point. No time to make an impact.

Fabinho – (on for Mane 90′) N/A:

No time to make an impact.

Jurgen Klopp – 9:

Klopp utterly outclassed Thomas Tuchel, the PSG manager, on a tactical level, which will be explained in further detail below in the talking points.

The only negative that could be thrown in Klopp’s direction would be that Salah should’ve come off sooner. He wasn’t playing well, and ultimately his mistake almost cost the team dearly.


Talking Points

Intelligent Pressing

Klopp’s system, and the adjustments made to that system, was equally as impressive as the performance of his players on the pitch.

Liverpool’s focus in this game was to allow PSG all the possession they wanted in their own half, but relentlessly press them in our half. This was something I predicted in the pre-game analysis; Liverpool’s midfield would overrun PSG’s.

Salah and Mane also did an excellent job of cutting the passing lane options to the opposition fullbacks which had the double effect of forcing play to come through the middle, while also minimising the workload of our own fullbacks who had to contend with Neymar and Mbappe.

Sturridge Is Back

Quality in depth was something that really hurt Liverpool towards the back-end of last season, but now our depth has improved immeasurably not only due to new signings, but also thanks to the resurgence of players like Studge.

Of course he can’t do all of the things Bobby can, such as harass the opposition’s defence and midfield while they have possession, but the reality is no one can!

What Sturridge provides is an entirely different, but highly effective approach where he uses his movement and more subtle approach to link-up play to carve out chances for himself and others.

No Time to Rest

Although it would be tempting to rest key players against Southampton as they are seen as ‘lesser’ opponents, there is no sense in jeopardizing our perfect start to the season.

Southampton, like every other Premier League team, can beat anyone on their day, so any changes to the starting lineup should be made purely out of tactical or injury-provoked decisions.

One change that would certainly make sense would be to drop Salah for Shaqiri. The Egyptian isn’t at his best, and a bit of a break might help matters while a very competent replacement has a crack at starting.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 20/09/2018

Liverpool vs PSG – Preview

Champions League Resumes at Anfield

After the heartbreaking loss in last season’s champions league final, Reds fans worldwide are itching to see Liverpool go one step further this time.

Standing in their way this time though is a much more difficult group: Napoli, Red Star Belgrade, and Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG, the reigning French champions, boast an incredible attacking lineup that will undoubtedly test Liverpool’s resolve and cause the fans a few nervy moments.

Liverpool – Team News


Considering minimal rotation was made against Tottenham, it’s more likely that Klopp will again put out the best team possible, and then rest his stars either against Southampton in the league, or Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

Bobby Firmino’s eye injury will almost certainly rule him out as a precaution, giving Daniel Sturridge a chance to make his first start of the season.

The only other possible changes would be to finally introduce Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho; although, Fabinho is the most obvious choice here given his familiarity with PSG from his time in Ligue 1.

PSG – Team News


Gigi Buffon’s red card in his last ever champions league game for boyhood club Juventus means that he’ll miss what would’ve been his first one for his new club.

Likewise, Marco Verratti is still injured which is a big loss for PSG and means that Marquinhos will have to move into the midfield.

Despite two key absences, it’s impressive to see the quality this PSG possesses, in particular Angel Di Maria, Edison Cavani, world cup winner Kylian Mbappe, and of course, Neymar.

Pre-Game Analysis

Many fans are concerned over this attacking foursome and are predicting that this could be a step too far for our defence to handle.

However, as Liverpool fans should know all too well, a great attack doesn’t win you games on its own. The Reds’ midfield have to quality to overrun PSG’s and hamper their possession which would’ve led to chances.

Another aspect to note is that both PSG’s fullbacks are known more for their attacking prowess than defensive nous, a fact that will be exploited by Liverpool’s wingers to great effect considering neither Mbappe nor Neymar are generally willing to drop back and assist the defence.


Both the midfield battle and the exploitation of PSG’s fullbacks will prove to be the decing factors in the game.

This will be another statement by a wonderfully talented team that has slowly but surely started to nail their tactical discipline as well.

Liverpool will finish the night top of the group after a convincing 3-1 victory.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 19/09/2018