By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
Liverpool stretched the unbeaten European streak to 17 at Anfield after an injury time winner from Roberto Firmino saw off a valiant PSG fightback to win 3-2 in the opening match of Group C in the Champions League.
Goals from Daniel Sturridge and James Milner were cancelled out by Thomas Meunier and Kylian Mbappe, before the Liverpool No. 9 produced a moment of brilliance to grabbed an important three points for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Liverpool got off to a good start putting PSG under immediate pressure and racking up six corners within the first 10 minutes of the contest. Their high intensity and aggressive pressing set the tone for the game, with their engine room of Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum putting in the work shielding the back four and getting the attacks started.
Due to an injury at the weekend to Roberto Firmino, a rare start was given Sturridge who made his mark in the 30th minute, connecting with a pinpoint Andy Robertson cross to head the reds into the lead.
Six minutes later and Liverpool had the chance to double their lead. A rash tackle on Gini Wijnaldum saw the reds given a penalty which was adequately dispatched by ‘Mr Reliable’ James Milner. Alphonse Areola in the PSG net dived the correct way and came within inches of making the save, but the accuracy of Milner’s strike was never in doubt and Liverpool were in dreamland.
Liverpool’s second goal seemed to spark life into PSG with the Parisians getting a goal back in the 40th minute through Thomas Meunier. A goal which came very much out of nothing saw the right back connect with an Angel dí Maria cross which ended up in the back of Alisson’s net.
At half time the Reds went in 2-1 up and controlling the game, in the second half this continued.
A controversial decision saw Liverpool denied a third goal with the referee opting to give a free kick in favour of PSG after a tackle on Areola by Sturridge.
Into the last 10 minutes and Liverpool were still in control of the game, looking more of a threat on the counter attack than their French opponents.
But with seven minutes left to play, disaster struck as Salah gave the ball away straight to Neymar who found Mbappe in the Liverpool box, who in turn found the back of Alisson’s net. A well taken but much undeserved goal saw Anfield collectively sigh as it appeared the Reds had thrown away a vital three points.
In the dying embers of the game the recently introduced Firmino received the ball in the PSG box following a corner kick. The Brazilian had nothing wrong with his vision as he brilliantly turned fellow countryman Marquinhos and drilled a shot across goal to give Liverpool a late, well-deserved victory.
The perfect start for Klopp’s men see’s them earn what could be a vital three points at the end of the group stage, especially considering rivals Napoli were held by minnows Red Star Belgrade in the other game in Group C.