‘If Liverpool can stop PSG from scoring, they won’t fear anyone in title race’

If Liverpool can keep a clean sheet in either of their two Champions League group games against Paris Saint-Germain, it will say more about their Premier League title credentials than any top-flight fixture.

Because, just like Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, PSG are top-end European opponents. And if Jurgen Klopp’s side can keep the door bolted against Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, there’s no reason they can’t do the same in the biggest league games this season.

Overall, things could not be better for Liverpool right now.

They are going into games knowing they will create chances and score goals, but there’s also confidence they can keep a clean sheet, too.

The defence will be tested harder by PSG on Tuesday at Anfield than it has been in their first five games of the season. But if it’s a test they pass then it won’t half stand them in good stead, both in Europe and domestically.

The fact both sides have 100 per cent records so far in the new season means that something has to give.

I’m wondering whether Klopp will have a look at his back four from Saturday’s away win over Tottenham and feel there is something to change there, because there were times when they were a little flaky.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men deserved nothing from the game, yet could still have come away with a draw had that last-gasp penalty been awarded for Sadio Mane’s foul on Son Heung-min.

The other sub-plot is that it’s Klopp versus Thomas Tuchel, the man who succeeded him at Borussia Dortmund.

Tuchel analyses games in the same way as Pep Guardiola and he’ll have watched that game.

He’ll have been thinking, ‘If we play the ball in this certain area in front of Joe Gomez then eventually he is going to crack — and if we really put Trent Alexander-Arnold under pressure, perhaps he will do the same.’

There will be times when PSG take Liverpool into areas of the field they don’t want to go, and I am keen to see how they respond in those moments.

But, even so, the way Liverpool are playing, I don’t think Tuchel can out-think Klopp.

Nobody does more preparation before games than Guardiola yet his Manchester City side got done by Liverpool over two legs in the quarter-finals of this competition last season.

That’s why Klopp will be telling his players, ‘Hey, we played against better teams than this to reach the final last year, so we don’t fear anyone in this competition’.

I see Klopp as less of a tactician and more a supreme motivator in the mould of Bill Shankly and Brian Clough.

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He’ll be saying to his team, ‘If we get our system right, we can let them worry about us’, and that will mean PSG having to earn the right to play their game.

Klopp knows that if he can get his team in a 4-3-3 with pace on the front foot, playing attacking football, that teams from outside the Premier League will wonder if they can cope.

It’s a question PSG will be asking and it’s why Liverpool could not be in a better position going into what promises to be another great Anfield European night.

Who will win Tuesday’s fixture?


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