Two of the best forward lines in the world, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain clash Tuesday at Anfield as the Champions League group stage gets underway.
1. How will Liverpool’s new-look defence cope against Neymar, Cavani and Mbappé?
Liverpool have spent big on new defensive recruits, £75m on centre-back Virgil Van Dijk in January and £67m for goalkeeper Allison in the summer. It looks to be money well spent, with Van Dijk and Allison adding experience to Liverpool’s young back-line.
The Reds have only conceded two Premier League goals in five games and have a 100% record. It will be interesting, however, to see how they cope against arguably the most potent attacking trio in world football in Neymar, Edison Cavani and Kylian Mbappé.
In response to diving accusations, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Brazil forward Neymar, saying he is smart to defend himself from getting injured.
2. Will Fabinho make his debut?
New £43.7m signing Fabinho has not yet played for Liverpool. The excellent form of the Liverpool midfield, especially James Milner, has kept the Brazilian out of the side.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has said that Fabinho will take time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League, however, playing him in Europe against familiar French opposition could be the perfect method of integration.
3. Will Klopp rotate his squad?
Pundit Gary Neville suggested that Klopp should forget about Europe and focus on winning the Premier League, however, Klopp laughed off these comments and stated that this side will compete on all fronts this season:
“Gary should come over and tell me exactly how that would work. You bring your kids in the Champions League? That would be funny!”
Another new signing, Xherdan Shaqiri has not yet started a Premier League game, and it will be interesting to see whether Klopp sticks with his formidable front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah or if he gives the likes of Shaqiri, Adam Lallana or Daniel Sturridge a chance to shine.
4. Can Tuchel take PSG to the next level?
PSG are the dominant team in France, however, former boss Unai Emery was unable to bring them success in the Champions League. They beat Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Round of 16 in 2016/17, however, the Catalan club completed one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history when they won the second leg 6-1.
PSG were again eliminated by Spanish opposition in the Round of 16 last season when they were beaten 5-2 on aggregate by eventual champions Real Madrid.
The appointment of former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, as well as the big-money signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé were made with the intention of bringing the Champions League to Paris for the first time.
5. Will Firmino play any part?
Roberto Firmino went off with an eye injury in Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday 15 September. Liverpool have remained quiet on whether Firmino will be in the squad, and the forward will face a late fitness test.
If he fails to prove his fitness. Firmino’s presence will be sorely missed after producing some excellent performances in Liverpool’s journey to the final last season, while scoring ten goals and producing seven assists along the way.
Liverpool v PSG kicks off at 8 pm tonight. The new Champions League kick-off times and television schedule in Ireland can be accessed here.