Paris Saint-Germain’s Group stage campaign in this season’s UEFA Champions League tournament has been stressful, to say the least. The team finds themselves at great risk of not advancing to the knockout stage and being relegated to the Europa league or being out of contention period. They have two games left to play in the Group stage. The fun and games are over for PSG. It’s time for them to get their act together.
Paris Saint-Germain forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are both in a race against time to recover from injuries in time for the crucial Champions League clash with Liverpool
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 22, 2018
PSG is in a bigger predicament than anticipated as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are dealing with injuries they suffered during friendly exhibition games. Both did not take part in PSG’s Ligue 1 match against Toulouse FC on November 24, however, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel said that it’s “possible” that Mbappe and Neymar will be medically cleared and ready to go.
PSG’ last two group stage matches resulted in frustrating draws. At this point, there’s only one option left on the table; win the game.
What are PSG’s keys to victory?
Team Chemistry; PSG needs to work together and win as a team. Time and time again, they’ve shown that when they play as a group, they dominate and win big. PSG must understand that an individual effort inflicts pressure and creates a lot of stress which will lead to a lack of concentration and team mentality. PSG needs to step onto the pitch with the intention of winning via a team effort. Everybody needs to be on the same page and trust each other.
Heavy and effective attack; The possible absence of Mbappe and Neymar is certainly worrisome, but PSG is more than capable of emerging victorious even without them. In other words, Mbappe and Neymar’s absence doesn’t guarantee a loss. The likes of Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, and Julian Draxler are all more than capable of leading the charge. It’s not important who’s on the pitch. What’s important is scoring goals and continuing to score goals. PSG needs to be very effective in its attack threats. If an opportunity arises, PSG cannot afford to waste it. They must take the chances of increasing their lead to keep the game in their favor.
Penetration and ball control; If PSG can effectively penetrate through Liverpool’s defense and midfield, they can create chances for a score. Midfielders Adrien Rabiot, Thomas Meunier, and Marco Verratti will certainly have their hands full. If PSG goes with a three-midfielder and four-defender tactic, they’ll be well-balanced and they’ll be able to find some possible ways to counter all of Liverpool’s potential threats. It’s unclear which tactic will be used. The 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1 formations are reasonable options for PSG. PSG needs to go with a formation that can allow them to maintain ball control, create penetration through an opposing midfield and defense, intercept passes and launch counterattacks, and most important, score goals.
Defense; Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino are going to be a handful for PSG’s defense. Liverpool’s attack is capable of threatening anytime, so PSG defenders Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, and Presnel Kimpembe have to be ready for anything. If the defense is ready and resilient, they’ll be able to stop Liverpool’s dangerous attack. If they can steal the ball away from a Liverpool attacker, they need to immediately clear the ball away. The biggest key for the defense is to keep the ball away from their goalkeeper and do their best to not give Liverpool any corner kicks. Defense doesn’t want to grant Liverpool any chances of scoring period.
Liverpool and PSG both won on Saturday 💪
Who will come out on top when they face off in the Champions League next week? pic.twitter.com/zniMYMcS6I
— Goal (@goal) November 25, 2018
In the first meeting, PSG found themselves in a 2-0 deficit. They managed to come back to tie it at two goals apiece, however, Liverpool went on to find a way in the closing minutes to escape with the win. In this meeting, PSG will have home-field advantage, however, Liverpool can still easily go up 3-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game. It’s up to PSG to not allow it. This may very well be PSG’s last chance. Whether they can get the job done or not is entirely up to them.