Coming up short in their first leg of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is not good for both Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. Both clubs have the potential to be considered serious contenders for the title. They both have what it takes to win it all. In addition, Liverpool are the defending champions and Paris Saint-Germain is on the verge suffering elimination from the tournament in the Round of 16 for the fourth consecutive time.
In Liverpool’s case, what really adds salt to their wound is that this loss snaps a 14-game unbeaten streak. For Paris Saint-Germain, it ends an unbeaten streak of 23 games. However, on a positive note, Paris Saint-Germain is on a 13-game unbeaten streak in Ligue 1 play. In addition, Liverpool has yet to lose a game in Premier League play. But at the end of the day, this is about the Champions League. And for Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool to start the knockout stage with a loss is not good.
Are Both Clubs Under Pressure?
Anytime when a team with loads of talent and the necessary potential to win it all comes up short in a two-game series, there’s definitely pressure on their back. However, Liverpool is known for its resiliency and ability to bounce back in crucial moments. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Paris Saint-Germain as the club is notorious for cracking and falling under intense pressure. In other words, yes, both clubs are under pressure but Paris Saint-Germain is in a bigger predicament than Liverpool.
Unfortunately for both Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, they blew their chance of taking advantage of the away-goal rule. At this point, it’s their turn to deny their opponent the opportunity of taking advantage of that same chance. Furthermore, they can’t allow themselves to come up short at home.
What Does Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain Have To Do To Advance?
Obviously, they need to win. If they can manage to win without relinquishing any goals, they can guarantee safe passage in the quarterfinals. Again, they can’t allow their opponent to take advantage of the away-goals rule.
In Paris Saint-Germain’s case, a 3-0 win would suffice. A higher score with a clean sheet would be better, but the bottom line is Their defense will need to find a way to shut down the young and emerging striker Erling Haaland, who’s wreaked havoc on the pitch since his arrival to Borussia Dortmund. Haaland scored twice to help Dortmund defeat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1. In addition, Haaland is the first player in history to score for two clubs in the same Champions League tournament. If Paris Saint-Germain finds no answer for Haaland, it’s all over for them.
For Liverpool, the second leg is Liverpool’s chance to show the world that they don’t fear to be under pressure. Unfortunately, for Liverpool, their 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid saw them fail to register a shot-on-goal, which is the second in the 251 games under manager Jurgen Klopp. Despite maintaining 72 percent of ball control and completing over 700 passes, Liverpool was unable to put the ball into the net. Mohamed Salah did at one point, but the goal was nullified due to offside. Their inability to score hurt them. And if Liverpool can’t score, they simply can’t win. The outcome of this game is that Liverpool lost because they didn’t and couldn’t score. In addition, Klopp has yet to win a game on the road against a Spanish club in the Champions League, with a record of three draws and four losses.
Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool have similar needs. Both teams need an attack that passes the ball effectively and penetrates through the opposing midfield and defense. Also, they need to be solid on defense and above all else, they need to put the ball into the net and make it count. And as long as they’re focused and ready to go, they can successfully make their way into the quarterfinals.
Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool will play their second leg of the Round of 16 at home on March 11th. For the time being, Paris Saint-Germain can focus on their three upcoming Ligue 1 matches, as well as Coupe de France semifinal game. Liverpool can focus on their three upcoming Premier League games, as well as a FA Cup 5th round match against Chelsea.