Weblog: The football punter
PSG striker Neymar can find the net at Anfield
BT Sport 2, 8pm Tuesday
The Champions League is back with a bang and one of the world’s most exciting footballers is set to light up Anfield with a goal.
Group C heavyweights Liverpool and Paris St-Germain are primed to lay on a thriller on Merseyside where Neymar can continue his outstanding start to the season.
Liverpool, last season’s beaten finalists, are favourites against the reigning French champions which is entirely understandable given that Jurgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten on home soil in the Premier League in 17 months and unbeaten in front of their own fans in their last 16 European matches.
Anfield has become a fortress but PSG will give them a serious examination.
Expect goals – 48 were scored by these clubs in last season’s group stage alone – since both teams are already firing.
Liverpool have won their opening five league games, scoring 11 times. Thomas Tuchel’s side have won their first five, netting 17 with at least three in each one. Immediately prior to that they had battered Monaco 4-0 to lift the French Super Cup.
Liverpool have firepower galore in their famed front three, all of whom will get chances.
But their French opponents are a serious goalscoring force themselves, led by Edinson Cavani though most Liverpool attention will be paid to Neymar, who has scored in each of the four league games he has played in.
He probably would have made it five against St-Etienne on Friday but was handed a rest by Tuchel having just returned from international duty. Naturally, he found the net in both his games for Brazil.
Neymar and the suspended Kylian Mbappe sat out the 4-0 win against St-Etienne so will be fresh and ready to take on a Liverpool defence which has been strengthened no end by the arrival of Virgil van Dijk. But the Reds can still be exposed out wide where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson aren’t the most astute positionally.
It’s far easier to make a case for goals than against them, if only because neither Klopp nor Tuchel will ever radically alter their approaches.
Six of PSG’s eight Champions League ties last term – they were beaten, like Liverpool, by Real Madrid – produced four goals or more and over 3.5 is no bigger than 6-5.
Neymar to score at any time