Champions League Betting Preview: Liverpool vs. PSG – Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Matchup at a Glance
When: Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 03:00 PM
Where: Parc des Princes in Paris, France.
Odds: PSG +106, Draw +270, Liverpool +207 @ MyBookie
Quick Pick: Over 3 Goals -135 @ MyBookie
Flawless in domestic Ligue 1, PSG's European future is at stake when Thomas Tuchel's men must seek a mandatory victory against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Ten weeks after a spectacular first leg at Anfield (Liverpool won 3-2), Jurgen Klopp's men head to Parc des Princes in Paris where PSG are yet to lose a game this season.
The Parisians are currently third in Group C of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, one point behind the top two sides – Napoli and Liverpool respectively.
Anything else but a win can end their Champions League dream too early in the competition and we are not quite sure how the ambitious owners of PSG would react if their team fails to reach the knockout phase despite all the billions spent.
The shocking 2-0 loss in Belgrade to Crvena Zvezda takes Liverpool out of the driving seat of Group C although a win in France would see them going through. Nevertheless, beating PSG at their Parc des Princes is not something we witness very often and to be completely honest this happened only a few times over the last years. However, if they manage to beat the odds, Jurgen Klopp's men will qualify for the last-16 and Crvena Zvezda do not beat Napoli, no matter what happens in their last game against the Italians.
Paris Saint-Germain's domestic superiority has made them invincible in France but we also see that as a double-edged sword since the lack of competition affects their form.
Winning 14 out of 14 in the Ligue 1 and already being 15 points clear of second-placed Lyon will boost their confidence and allow them to focus on the remaining Champions League games, but it's true that PSG has won only one of their four matches there – the 6-1 home win against Crvena Zvezda.
After the dramatic loss to Liverpool, Thomas Tuchel failed to win neither of his two duels with Napoli's boss Carlo Ancelotti (2-2 at home, 1-1 at Naples), so the German will hope to get revenge not only for the lost first leg here but also for the even more dramatic defeat to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the 2015-16 Europa League quarterfinals, when he managed Borussia Dortmund.
Dani Alves made his first appearance of the season in Saturday's 1-0 win over Toulouse but a game of this intensity may come too soon for the Brazilian veteran. Left-back Layvin Kurzawa is also back available for PSG but will not start for the home side.
Tuchel, known for his sometimes strange rotations, has opted for a back three in recent matches but also has the option of fielding a back four against the Merseyside outfit, which would see Marquinhos push into midfield.
Adrien Rabiot has been unsettled in recent weeks and his PSG future looks unclear, though he is still expected to continue in his central midfield role.
Unquestionably the biggest concerns of PSG's coach are related with the fitness of his two superstars – Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. They both came back with injuries after the international break and missed the weekend Ligue 1 clash with Toulouse as a result. However, Tuchel is optimistic of their inclusion in the squad and given the importance of the Liverpool game, both forwards are likely to feature alongside Edinson Cavani.
If either Neymar or/and Mbappe fail to recover in time, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler are both eager to start.
The Merseyside Reds have been far from impressive in their previous away Champions League games this season, losing both and failing to score. However, if Jurgen Klopp's men show their real face and play their best soccer here, their fearsome attacking trio Mane-Firmino-Salah should represent a serious threat to the home side, who rarely encounter so skilled opposition.
Still unbeaten in the Premier League (10 wins, 3 draws), Liverpool will head to France after a 3-0 away win to Watford which keeps them two points behind leaders Manchester City.
Indeed, Liverpool find themselves in an extremely important week where only a few days after their journey to Paris, Jurgen Klopp's side will take on city rivals Everton for the first Merseyside derby of the season.
Despite the busy schedule and recent international activity of most key players, Jurgen Klopp won't hesitate to use his best men in the upcoming matches.
Joe Gomez missed the last Premier League round through injury but Jurgen Klopp is confident the England international should be ready in time to start in Paris. He will need his speed and agility against the lethal PSG forwards so that's the reason why Klopp will rather choose a centre-back duo Gomez-van Dijk than Lovren-van Dijk. It's undeniable that Gomez has developed incredibly well and many can sense a real maturity in the 21-years-old defender under Virgil van Dijk's leadership.
Captain Jordan Henderson, who was sent off in the weekend, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum as well as the two summer signings Fabinho are Naby Keita are all competing for three, potentially two, central midfield spots.
Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri has been in fine form lately and his devotion consequently won him a starting position over the past weeks. Nonetheless, Klopp has a big decision to make about his formation on Wednesday – the German tactician must choose between either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3.
Starting Shaqiri in a midfield three looks unlikely and could be a risky tactic away to PSG in such a crucial game. He will probably deploy an additional midfielder in the good old 4-3-3 formation, with James Milner being the favorite to start alongside Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson.
Rotations up front are extremely unlikely even though Daniel Sturridge started and has played a key role in the first leg. This time Roberto Firmino is expected to lead the Liverpool attack, especially after he just ended his goal drought. The 27-years-old Brazilian established himself as one of Liverpool's most important players with his overall contribution and has taken the false nine position to new heights.
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane has just extended his contract and looks delighted, while Mohamed Salah finally reminds us why he won the Premier League Golden Boot last season.
Update: Sadio Mane has emerged as a huge doubt because of illness and his absence would pave the way for Shaqiri to retain his place in the starting XI. Anyway, the Senegal international took a full part in training on Tuesday and will travel with the rest of Jurgen Klopp's squad when they fly out of Merseyside.
Possible Starting Lineups of PSG and Liverpool
Paris Saint-Germain: Gianluigi Buffon – Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Presnel Kimpembe – Thomas Meunier, Adrien Rabiot, Marco Verratti, Juan Bernat – Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Neymar. (3-4-3)
Liverpool: Alisson – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson – Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane. (4-3-3)
Expect an Unpredictable and Spectacular Champions League Clash
PSG are third in Group C and another defeat against last season's runners-up, coupled with a home win for Napoli over Crvena Zvezda would condemn the French champions to an early elimination.
Such a prospect is unthinkable for a wealthy club with the ambitions of PSG and their owners, who are desperate to improve on back-to-back exits from the Champions League round of 16. In fact, PSG still can't reach the semifinals and Thomas Tuchel was appointed exactly for that purpose.
Furthermore, Champions League elimination before Christmas would be catastrophic for a club who have faced fresh allegations of breaches of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations this month following Football Leaks revelations.
It would be unfair to say PSG cannot beat Liverpool if neither Kylian Mbappe nor Neymar fail to recover in time but it would be a huge blow for the French side not to have their two key figures available. They have both scored 13 goals in all competitions this season (Mbappe – 11 in Ligue 1, 2 in the UCL; Neymar – 10 in Ligue 1, 3 in the UCL), while Edinson Cavani has scored 10 – just one of them in the Champions League. Their influence on the team is huge.
As already mentioned, Liverpool are the only team to beat PSG in any competition this season, winning the first leg 3-2. With that in mind, it's difficult to predict the outcome of Wednesday's fascinating encounter.
Only the last tournament winners Real Madrid and Barcelona have beaten PSG at their own backyard in the Champions League since the Qatari takeover seven years ago, and the challenge facing Liverpool is formidable.
We have two great attacks facing each other in a decisive game. Despite Liverpool's defensive progress, PSG have the attacking potential to mess their lining.
Our betting pick suggests the goal scoring line – Over 3 Goals at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.