Champions League

Neymar, Mbappe set to start for PSG against Liverpool - Tuchel

2018-11-27 22:28
Neymar (AP)

Paris - Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are set to start for Paris Saint-Germain against Liverpool in their crunch Champions League clash on Wednesday after recovering from injuries, coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed on the eve of the game.

"They are fit and in form. They are fine. They did a full training session today and yesterday. There is no problem, they will start tomorrow," Tuchel said at a press conference at the Parc des Princes.

"If they were not fit they could not play but they did not complain at all yesterday and today, and for me right now there is no risk."

The two most expensive players in the world came off injured playing for their countries in international friendly matches last week, with Mbappe hurting a shoulder with France and Neymar a groin with Brazil.

Both players have scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, and the injuries caused alarm bells to ring at PSG as they watched Saturday's tight Ligue 1 win against Toulouse from the stands.

But even Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was eager to see the two superstar players come up against his side, dismissing a suggestion from an English journalist that PSG were trying to play mind games.

"They were not mind games, they were injured, and I am actually pleased for them that they are not seriously injured," Klopp said. "That could have happened -- we always expected them to play."

PSG come into Wednesday's game in third place in Champions League Group C, a point behind both Liverpool and Napoli with two games left.

That means a defeat against last season's runners-up, coupled with a win for Napoli at home to Red Star Belgrade, and the French champions would be eliminated already from a competition they are desperate to win.

"It is super important that we do not lose focus and think about what could happen," said Tuchel, who has won all 14 Ligue 1 games in charge since being appointed at the Qatar-owned club in the close season.

"We have to play this game relaxed, but at the same time 100 percent focused on what we have to do.

"We cannot control the result, nobody can in football, and for that, no matter what the result is, the sun will shine the next day again and we will have to get up out of bed and go to work, whether in a better mood or a not so good mood.

"It is sport, and we are looking forward to this challenge."

Liverpool gave up a strong position in the group after losing 2-0 in Belgrade earlier this month, but they have recovered from that with back-to-back Premier League wins either side of the international break.

"We don't play here very often. It's really exciting," said Klopp, whose team have struggled on their travels in Europe of late.

"You have to think about how to defend, how to play football ourselves. That is the most important thing, and probably the thing Paris are not used to that much in the league because they are so dominant.

"We have to make sure they are not that dominant against us, that we have possession and we do something smart with it."

 

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