Liverpool 3 PSG 2

Late English drama

Roberto Firmino showing his love for the Anfield faithful after scoring Liverpool's winner at the death against PSG on Tuesday night in the Champions League.
Roberto Firmino showing his love for the Anfield faithful after scoring Liverpool's winner at the death against PSG on Tuesday night in the Champions League.PHOTO: REUTERS

Klopp says 'no mountain they can't climb' after spirited fight

LONDON • In the blink of a damaged eye, Roberto Firmino brought Anfield the victory its team deserved and the finale an enthralling contest merited.

He also reinforced Jurgen Klopp's point about not wishing to swop Liverpool's front three for those of Paris Saint-Germain.

Liverpool made it six wins out of six games this season, their best opening run since 1961-1962, with a stoppage-time winner that epitomised why they held the edge over the French champions.

It was converted owing to the outstanding quality of Firmino and created thanks to the relentless industry of James Milner who, even in the 92nd minute and despite the setback of conceding an 83rd-minute equaliser, harried Kylian Mbappe off the ball to launch one last, telling attack.

"Nobody is irreplaceable," said Klopp of Firmino's likely absence before the game and his players were doing their utmost to prove that theory.

From Milner to Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool possess players with both the quality and prodigious work rate to make Klopp's demanding game plans succeed even if others are unavailable.

And the German believes there is "no mountain they cannot climb" after proving they can go toe-to-toe with a star-studded PSG side and come out on top.

"The cool development of this club is that when you hear Liverpool are playing PSG, you don't think we have no chance any more," he told reporters.

"One, two or three years ago, maybe people thought it's a mountain we cannot climb. That is good that it is not like that now and that is because of last year (by reaching the Champions League final).

"We didn't learn a lot that we didn't already know before, but it's nice to know we can do it again (by beating a big team in Europe)."

On the other hand, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel has enviable individual talent at his disposal, but not the collective industry or cohesive unit to realise the grand ambitions of the club's owners in Qatar.

  • 1961 

    Liverpool have won their opening six competitive matches for the first time since the 1961-62 season.

The cornea abrasion that Firmino suffered at Tottenham last Saturday deprived him of his usual place at the heart of Liverpool's forward line from the start.

Thankfully for Liverpool, his teammates worked tirelessly from the front to limit the opportunities for PSG to release their vaunted attacking trio of Neymar, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, and Daniel Sturridge, Firmino's replacement, also gave a selfless performance.

Klopp resisted the urge to play Firmino from the start, with his decision "to show faith in the squad" vindicated by Sturridge's opener.

A Milner penalty then put the hosts in control before Thomas Meunier reduced PSG's arrears before half-time.

The opposition were, however, largely below par and Joe Gomez feels their strength in depth can nullify any threats, with the Reds having designs on both the Premier League and the Champions League titles this term.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'Late English drama'. Print Edition | Subscribe