Thomas Tuchel's weak tactics cost PSG in defeat to Liverpool

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Thomas Tuchel

Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score a late winner as Liverpool beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in their Champions League opener at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring with a header before James Milner made it 2-0 from the spot with 36 minutes played.

Thomas Meunier pulled one back for the away side against the run of play and Kylian Mbappe grabbed an equaliser seven minutes from time.

However, Firmino struck in the second minute of added time to clinch all three points.

Here’s a look at how Thomas Tuchel was ousted in the tactical battle against Jurgen Klopp.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 9

Possession – 48%

Tackles – 14

Dribbles – 4

30-SECOND REPORT

PSG were immediately put under pressure as Liverpool pressed high up the pitch with great intensity. Tuchel employed a 4-3-3 system to mirror that of their opponents but they struggled to contain the hosts.

The attempt was to soak up the pressure and then get the ball forward quickly for their front three of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Mbappe to do the damage but they were left scrambling to protect their own goal instead and struggled to get out of their half.

They managed to weather the storm in spells but were eventually overwhelmed and conceded twice. During a period of respite in the first half, Meunier struck and Liverpool dropped off at the start of the second period. However, PSG did little to seize the opportunity and were fortunate to grab an equaliser, only to lose at the death.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Marquinhos role

Tuchel has used Marquinhos as a defensive midfielder this season and handed him a huge task for this encounter. To work around Liverpool’s high-press, he was instructed to drop deep in between the centre-halves in possession.

It worked in spells but for the most part proved too much of a workload for Marquinhos who had to shuttle across the width of the pitch ahead of the back-line to put out fires.

VERDICT

A slightly strange ploy from Tuchel to use Neymar out wide when he’s deployed him centrally so far this season. The Brazilian made PSG’s left flank extremely vulnerable without the ball and Trent Alexander-Arnold had a field day.

He was hesitant to make changes in the second half when his side were in desperate need of some inspiration and the 3-2 scoreline flatters the German’s passive approach from the dugout.

Rating 4/10

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Sturridge proves his Liverpool renaissance is real after dominating PSG

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Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool won a thrilling Champions League group stage encounter against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, beating the Ligue 1 champions 3-2 at Anfield after letting a two-goal lead slip.

Central to the win was the play of Daniel Sturridge, who was making his first start in the competition for the Reds – a shocking stat given how long he’s been at the club.

His goal opened the scoring, and he was a menace throughout.

Here’s a closer look at his performance.

KEY STATS

Goals – 1

Shots – 4

Shots on target – 2

Key Passes – 2

Passing Accuracy – 83%

Dribbles – 2

30-SECOND REPORT

This was a big moment for Sturridge, playing against high-class opposition on one of those traditional European nights at Anfield. He rose to the occasion, scoring a good goal to open the scoring and looking lively throughout as he led the line as a replacement for Roberto Firmino, left out of the XI due to injury.

The Englishman missed a couple of chances later in the game, including a point-blank header, but this was a polished performance nonetheless.

GOT RIGHT

Positioning – Like all good strikers, Sturridge was always in the right place in the right time. He found his way between the PSG centre-backs, getting space in the box to be a goal-scoring threat.

Movement – His runs pulled defenders out of position to his teammates’ benefit, as well. As is his wont, Sturridge often dropped deep, allowing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah space to run into, while he pulled off wide quite often as well to exploit the spaces there.

Sturridge was a lively presence.

Sturridge was a lively presence.

GOT WRONG

An old habit of Sturridge’s flared up again – there were times when he held onto the ball too long. It often leads to attacks slowing down as the defence has time to get back into position.

It works to his own detriment, as well, as on more than one occasion he was left with few options as his shooting angles were restricted and passing angles shut off entirely.

If his goalscoring form is truly back, Liverpool will just have to put up with this side of his game.

VERDICT

Making his first Champions League start for Liverpool, Sturridge marked the occasion with a vital goal that proved just how well his renaissance is going.

He should have had another, missing a point-blank header in the second half when it looked easier to score, but overall this was a display that justified the renewed faith Jurgen Klopp has in the English striker.

It looks like the Englishman is finally rediscovering his old form. If so, Liverpool are going to be that much more dangerous.

RATING – 7/10

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One of those nights for Neymar as PSG's star man disappoints against Liverpool

Matt Jones 19/09/2018
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Liverpool struck late to win a pulsating opening Champions League encounter 3-2 as Jurgen Klopp plots a route back to the final.

The rampant Reds roared into a 2-0 first-half lead against Paris Saint-Germain through Daniel Sturridge and James Milner’s penalty – but Thomas Meunier pulled one back for the visitors.

The French giants thought they’d stolen a point late on when Kylian Mbappe pounced on Mohamed Salah’s mistake to level. But a sumptuous goal from Roberto Firmino in stoppage time won it for the hosts.

Here, we analyse the performance of PSG’s misfiring forward Neymar, with the Brazilian far from brilliant here.

STATISTICS

Goals – 0

Assists – 1

Shots – 2

Shots on target – 1

Touches – 64

Key passes – 4

Pass accuracy – 75.6 %

Dribbles – 4

Fouled – 2

30-SECOND REPORT

Take a look at the attacking stats and all looks well with Neymar’s night – four key passes, two shots, one on target, two dribbles. But equally eye-catching is the other story the stats tell – his five times dispossessed was one fewer than all other PSG players combined.

He certainly wasn’t helped by a lack of assistance from midfield – with PSG failing to build any sort of solid foundation. There efforts may well have been hampered by the harrying and heroism of an energetic Liverpool, as well as the absence of suspended Marco Verratti – but with Neymar’s side not completely at full strength, the Parisians needed more of a performance from their star player.

GOT RIGHT

Always a threat – He may have endured one of his more frustrating nights, but that’s the thing about world class players – they can create something out of nothing. And while it may have been Mbappe who got the late equaliser, it owed much to Neymar’s presence of mind and persistence.

Even though he ultimately got lucky with the final ball which ricocheted off a red shirt and fell kindly to Mbappe, his initial ball was one of four key passes – no other PSG player managed a single one.

GOT WRONG

Touch – Five times dispossessed and the third-worst passing accuracy of all of PSG’s starters told the tale of Neymar’s night. You wouldn’t say passing is his biggest attribute but 75.6 per cent (it had been rescued from a woeful figure in the mid-60s for much of the second half) is below par for a man who can conjure so much magic with his feet.

Failing to rise to the occasion – With being such a stellar player, naturally a lot of your team’s play is going to go through you. But as was the case for Brazil in the World Cup, this can sometimes be to the detriment of the team. You always feel Neymar has a moment of class in him. And essentially he played a crucial part in the equaliser, but PSG need a Plan B when things aren’t going right for him. And this was certainly a night to forget.

VERDICT

When he’s at his best he can be mesmeric. Yet when he is at his worst he can be maddening. And this is the side we saw from Neymar on Merseyside.

His evening may well have been bookended by a part in the equaliser, only for Roberto Firmino to steal the glory away, but for the Brazilian to have emerged with credit for this encounter would have felt unjust.

He can ill afford another lifeless display like this under the bright lights of the European stage if PSG are to belatedly make their mark on the competition.

RATING: 4/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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