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Champions League round up :Liverpool v PSG

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UEFA Champions League runners-up Liverpool will collide with French champions, Paris Saint-Germaine at Anfield.

Billed as the battle of the front threes, the game will see two of the most fearsome attacking trios in Europe-Salah, Mane, Firmino for Liverpool and Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani for PSG. It is the ‘Hollywood’ fixture of the week and many will be hoping for a goal-fest.

Off to a blistering start in the Premier League season, Liverpool have a busy looking schedule with PSG, Chelsea twice, Manchester City and Napoli to play against in next six matches.

Liverpool have made their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign and are unbeaten in five matches with only two goals conceded in that time.

Liverpool averaged 3.15 goals per game in last season’s competition and with new-found defensive frugality, Anfield will be buzzing with excitement on Tuesday night.

After the disappointment of the 3-1 loss at the hands of Real Madrid last May, the Reds will be hoping to reach back-to-back finals first time since 1985.

Certainly, they will be expected to spin another European fairytale having massively overachieved last campaign.

Well rested Fabinho and Joel Matip could return to the starting XI for Liverpool.

Xherdan Shaqiri could if Firmino is sidelined with his freak eye-injury. Sturridge is another option at the attacking head.

Likes of Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke are still are injured at the moment.

Firmino has scored 10 times in his last 13 Champions League games and will be a big miss, no matter who replaces him,

PSG were the highest goal scores (an unprecedented 25 goals) in the 2017-18 group stages will provide a tough opposition to Liverpool’s new found defensive impenetrability.

The star-studded triumvirate of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe will be enough for Van Dijk and co. to go sleepless in Merseyside for few nights.

They are coming at the back of six consecutive wins with 21 goals in those six matches, across all competitions.

Last Friday night, PSG thrashed Saint-Etienne 4-0 in Paris with goals from Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, and Moussa Diaby. They were even able to rest Neymar and Mbappe on the weekend.

The Reds have not lost in their last 16 European home games since a 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in October 2014.

Klopp will be hoping to teach a master class in football to his former apprentice Thomas Tuchel.

Tuchel, on the other hand, will be hoping to be the first man to win a Champions League crown for the French club.

On a positive note, PSG have scored in each of their last 16 Champions League outings

PSG lost to Real Madrid last season in the last 16 for a second successive season.

They have 1 win out of their last 9 visits to England and are winless in their past four Champions League matches against English sides.

More worryingly, Liverpool have won 11 of their 14 home games against French opposition.

The two clubs have played against each other in the 1996-97 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals.

PSG won the home leg 3-0 but lost 2-0 at Anfield- progressing into the final on aggregate.

Liverpool will be meeting a French side in the Champions League for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign. Then, they lost 1-2 to Lyon at Anfield and drew 1-1 away.

Liverpool’s James Milner (8 in 2017/18) holds the record set for the most assists by a player in a single Champions League campaign since 2003-04.

PSG star Neymar had the same number in the 2016-17 edition. PSG striker Edinson Cavani has 8 goals in 14.

Inter vs Tottenham

Inter Milan entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night in the marquee fixture of Group B. The Nerazzurri take on the Lily whites in one of the explosive fixtures of the opening matchweek.

The three-time European champions return to the Champions League after a six year hiatus.

They were competition regulars before that dry spell with qualification in 10 straight years.

However, Inter have not had the best starts to the Serie A season with only four points from their first four games. They have already lost at home, against the newly-promoted Parma on Saturday. It has been a tough second season for manager Luciano Spaletti.

An opening day 1-0 loss to Sassuolo really set the cat among the pigeons for Inter. They drew against Torino but beat Bologna 3-0. Ivan Perisic is their superstar player with two goals in four appearances

Without a win in their last four home matches, in all competitions, they have lost three of them.

Sime Vrsaljko is unavailable for Inter Milan against Tottenham Hotspur. Danilo D’Ambrosio is a doubt as well. He came off injured and is being monitored by the medical staff.

Striker and new recruit Lautaro Martinez is also a major loss for the Nerazzurri.

With the 4-3 defeat still fresh in most of the fans’ minds, the San Siro will be a nice place to go back to for Tottenham.

Far from being the cauldron that it was in the 90’s and early 00’s, Spurs will be looking forward to the San Siro, leaving their domestic troubles back home

Tottenham will be without the injured duo Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli. Moussa Sissoko is also an injury doubt.

Kieran Tripper and Toby Alderweireld have been left out of the travelling contingent for “technical reasons”.

The previous meeting between the sides saw Bale become an overnight sensation, scoring a hat-trick after going 4-0 down in the first half at the San Siro in 2010-11. Spurs did win the reverse fixture 3-1 at White Hart Lane.

They also went toe to toe in the 2012-13 Europa League’s round of 16. Spurs won 3-0 at home but were handed the reverse in Italy. Eventually, Tottenham won on away goals despite a 4-1 defeat on the night.

For Spurs, this will be their third consecutive season in the group stages of the competition. The Londoners topped their group which had the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

They were eventually eliminated by Inter’s domestic rivals Juventus. Spurs had an unbeaten away record last season with visits to the Bernabeu, Westfalenstadion and the Allianz Stadium.

Inter are the last Italian team to have won the Champions League trophy in 20110/11. They actually won their first ever treble that season under Jose Mourinho.

In recent years, European football has been at a premium with three of the last five campaigns without any form of European involvement.

Historically, Inter have lost just two of their 15 home games against Premier League sides. This includes four wins in their last four home matches whereas Spurs have only won once in their previous eight visits to Italy. Their only victory did come at the San Siro though, against the other Milan side, AC Milan in 2010-11.

Manchester City will take on Lyon in their Champions League opener on Wednesday. The City team has been touted as one of the favorites to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.

Manager Pep Guardiola’s men will have to show greater tenacity this time around after being humiliated by Liverpool in the quarters last time out.

The Catalan has two European Cups at Barcelona but his club City’s has never progressed beyond the semi-finals and that was in 2015-16 under Chilean Manuel Pellegrini.

After reaching an incredible 100 points in the Premier League I 2018, City had an unbeaten run of 13 games before the two successive losses against Liverpool.

City are in the middle of a spell where they play three times in three competitions in six days. This includes two away trips to Cardiff City and Oxford.

Domestically, they have started where they left last season with four wins and one competitive away draw at Wolves. They have scored 14 goals in the process.

On Saturday, City won 3-0 against a hapless Fulham side at the Etihad. Goals from Leroy Sane, David Silva and Raheem Sterling helped them to a fourth win out of five games in the league.

Man City will be without the services of injured striker Sergio Aguero. Gabriel Jesus is expected to lead their attack. Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo are long term absentees for the Manchester club.

Riyad Mahrez could return to the starting XI, although Leroy Sane will be hoping to retain his starting berth after an impressive display against Cardiff. Benjamin Mendy is still a fitness doubt and Fabian Delph may deputize at left back for them.

Lyon have qualified for the group stage in three of the last four campaigns but have failed to progress beyond that in their last two appearances.

This season, Lyon have not shown the best form domestically with only 7 points from 15 and are coming into the match against Manchester City with a 2-2 draw at Caen on. Their next opponents are Marseille.

Lyon’s newest recruit, striker Moussa Dembele is expected to start after making his full debut against Caen. Fellow striker Amine Gouiri is sidelined with a cruciate knee injury for Lyon.

Rafael Da Silva, the former Manchester United tyro, will be hoping to bring some much-needed heat in this Wednesday night fixture. Former-Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore will also bring his experience of English football to the table for the French side.

They will be hoping to swing their campaign in top gear with a surprise win at the Etihad.

City have won two and drawn one against French clubs with the last bout against Mbappe inspired Monaco. They outscore the French side 5-3 but were eventually eliminated on away goals.

City have won seven of our previous eight home European matches with the only blip coming against Basel who won at the Etihad in 2017-18, after a first leg 4-0 hammering in Switzerland.

This will be City’s eighth consecutive appearance in the group stages. City successfully progressed from the group stages for fifth successive tome in their last campaign. Shakhtar Donetsk, whom they beat 2-0 last year at the Etihad, are in their group again this campaign.

A semi-finalist in 2010, they last reached the last 16 in 2011/12. Historically, they have a good record against English sides. They have lost just once in their last six meetings against Premier League teams. Lyon’s last visit to England was last season when they won 2-1 win against Everton in October 2017.

Young Boys vs Manchester United

Manchester United kick off their European voyage against Swiss champions Young Boys on Wednesday.

Manchester United

Manchester United need to reclaimit’sdays of European glory

Form (all competitions): WLLWW

United are coming at the back of two successive away victories in the Premier League. They are still eighth in the League table but have been shown progress and cohesion in their last two matches.

With tough fixtures to come against Juventus and Valencia, United will know the importance of six points against Young Boys.

Marcus Rashford and Nemanja Matic are suspended for the weekend clash with Wolves and are expected to start in this match.

Likes of Fred as Ander Herrera are still fitness doubts for the match.

Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof are likely to be paired again at the heart of the defence.

Romelu Lukaku – a five-time scorer against Young Boys with Everton – will lead the attack with Sanchez and Rashford/Lingard/Martial on the wings.

Manchester United will have Luke Shaw back and he is likely to start. But he will have tough competition from Ashley Young who started at left back at Vicarage Road and had a leg in each of the two goals. Young’s performances made him the preferred option for the most part in 2017/18 season.

Shaw has had some appalling memories attached to the competition, particularly the double leg break in the Champions League in August 2015.

Young Boys

Young Boys with big dreams of a historic upset

Form (all competitions): DWWWW

Young Boys failed in each of their five past attempts to enter the group stages of the competition. Finally, they beat Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb to make history.

They have had a smashing start to the current domestic season with nine wins out of their 10 matches including six wins from six Super League matches. Currently, they sit atop their division with an eight-point lead.

Young Boys are a 12-time Swiss (last year’s win was their first since 1986) and they will be hoping to create some history on Wednesday night when the 20-time English champions, Manchester United roll into town.

Lotomba and Sandro Lauper are still out for them but Miralem Sulejmani should start after returning at the weekend.

The 34-year-old Guillaume Hoarau – with seven goals in 10 appearances this season – will be the danger man with the likes of Nicolas Ngamaleu in supporting roles.

They face Basel, 20-time Swiss champions, coming weekend.

History Says:

Stade de Suisse

Last year, United was knocked out by Sevilla in the first knockout round of the Champions League and they face a side making their debut in the group stages of the competition. They have been handed defeats on each of their last two visits to Switzerland, both against Basel. Overall, United, have played against Swiss teams like Basel (6 matches) and was at the end of a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland last November against them.

It has been a few barren years for United in terms of Champions League but they have only lost three of their last 20 European matches,

This will another first ever for Young Boys who have never played against the Red Devils, They have faced English clubs like Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the past though. However, one win in those fixtures will not be a source of much confidence.

Another important factor to even the odds is that Young Boys play on a synthetic surface. The artificial pitch could prove to be an equalizer.

Notwithstanding the pitch, it could literally and figuratively be Men from Manchester against Young Boys!

 

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