Five-time European champions, Liverpool, kicked off their 2018/19 UEFA Champions League [UCL] season on a classical note by losing a two-goal lead but coming back to beat PSG in the 90th minute with a winner from substitute, Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian could not start the game because of impaired vision from an injury against Tottenham but there was nothing wrong with his vision when he drilled his shot past Alphonse Areola on the dot of full time.
In a first-ever meeting in the UCL, Liverpool – last season’s finalists – put PSG under immediate pressure – winning seven corner kicks in the first 20 minutes. The Parisians played with a back three, even though the formation said they were sent out in a 4-3-3 formation.
PSG grew into the game but Liverpool struck the first goal in the 30th minute when Andrew Robertson’s delicious cross found Daniel Sturridge who headed powerfully past Alphonse Areola. The second followed in the 36th as James Milner converted a penalty after Juan Bernat was penalised for bringing down Georginio Wijnaldum.
Thomas Meunier got the Parisians back in the game when he met Angel Di Maria’s cross five minutes from the interval.
The second half started in a feverish pace with PSG getting straight into the attack but Liverpool responded with Sturridge’s pass almost finding Salah in the box. Salah was robbed of the ball on the edge of the PSG box on 50 minutes as the Reds tried to again rev up the pressure.
Salah thought he had scored Liverpool’s third but the fifth referee called a foul on Areola by Sturridge when they went into a 50/50 confrontation that left the goalkeeper in a heap. Replays showed Sturridge won the ball but left his mark on the France international. If Sturridge had controlled better he could have scored on his own.
On 61 minutes, Alexander-Arnold whipped another teasing cross to Sturridge; but his header, the ball actually came off his shoulder, was a tame effort, easily gathered by Areola. Roberto Firmino replaced Sturridge on 70 minutes as Jurgen Klopp tried to increase the pressure on the PSG rearguard.
Salah had a shooting chance in the box after 71 minutes but he fluffed his chance. It had to be said that the Egyptian did not look as sharp as he did last season.
Mane produced magic in the PSG box with nine minutes left on the clock as he bamboozled his way past Thiago Silva but his final shot was just the wrong side of the post.
Immediately after Salah gave away the ball in midfield and Draxler won the ball, passed it on to Neymar, who drove at Van Dijk and passed on to Mbappe, who held off Gomez and drilled a superb shot past Alisson, who had been a spectator till that point. Without offering much of an offensive approach, PSG were back on level terms with seven minutes left of the match.
Salah made way for Xherdan Shaqiri for the last five minutes. Alexander-Arnold had a free kick diverted for a corner as Liverpool pushed for a winner. Second half substitute, Draxler then had a chance to grab the lead but his shot charged down. He could have found Mbappe who had broken into space in the box.
But Liverpool were not to be denied as substitute Firmino drilled a low shot past Areola on 90 minutes to give the Reds a win on Matchday 1.
Barcelona 4 – 0 PSV
Inter Milan 2 – 1 Tottenham
Club Brugge 0 – 1 Borussia Dortmund
Monaco 1 – 2 Atlético Madrid
Crvena Zvezda 0 – 0 Napoli
Galatasaray 3 – 0 Lokomotiv Moskva
Schalke 04 1 – 1 Porto
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