Neymar, Mbappe in doubt for Liverpool clash

LONDON • Paris Saint-Germain fans will be praying that star strikers Neymar and Kylian Mbappe can shake off their injuries ahead of the crucial Champions League match against Liverpool next Wednesday.

The French champions, who have five points and are a point behind Italian Serie A side Napoli and the Reds in Group C, must win their tie to stay in contention for a spot in the knockout phase.

Coach Thomas Tuchel, having been tasked by PSG's Qatari owners to win their maiden Champions League trophy, knows he will be judged by how far his side can progress in European football's top-tier competition.

The German will be a worried man after the enforced substitutions of the world's two most expensive players on Tuesday.

Brazil's Neymar limped off at the Stadium MK in Milton Keynes with what appeared to be an adductor muscle injury just eight minutes into their friendly against Cameroon. Richarlison, the man who replaced him, secured the 1-0 win with a bullet header.

However, Neymar assured fans that his injury was "not serious", saying on his Instagram page: "Thanks to everyone who sent me messages of support and wished me a speedy recovery. I'll be okay."

Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar also played down fears of a long injury layoff for the 26-year-old, adding: "He will need a bit more time to evaluate it but, in principle, it is not a serious injury."

PSG teammate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who was in Cameroon's line-up, told reporters it "was worrying" should Neymar not be available for the home game against Liverpool.

A shoulder injury to Mbappe overshadowed France's 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay at the Stade de France as Didier Deschamps' world champions ended the year on a "positive note".

Olivier Giroud's penalty proved to be enough in the first meeting between both sides since their World Cup quarter-final in Russia.

But Mbappe had to be replaced in the first half after a nasty fall.

Coach Deschamps admitted he was worried for the 19-year-old, saying: "He has a sore shoulder, he's fallen badly. I hope it's not bad."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Neymar, Mbappe in doubt for Liverpool clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe