Thiago Silva, Neymar, Marquinhos 8/10 as PSG sweep aside Liverpool
Paris Saint-Germain secured a massive 2-1 win over Liverpool at Parc des Princes on Wednesday to go second in Champions League Group C ahead of the final round of matches.
Juan Bernat opened the scoring after 13 minutes and Neymar doubled the lead for Thomas Tuchel's men eight minutes before half-time and despite James Milner's penalty just before the break, Les Parisiens held their lead for the second half and are now two points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's men.
First of all, the result: PSG had to win at all costs and did so. Although 2-1 did not quite reflect their impressive performance, it still counted for three points and means that a win, or perhaps even a draw, in matchday 6 will take the Ligue 1 giants into the knockout phase.
PSG were not fortunate in victory and actually arguably deserved to win by more, such was the nature of their display. Tuchel coaxed character that has been missing for too long from his players and was rewarded with a showing that was as sublime at times as it was brave.
Not everybody shone but the majority of PSG's star names lived up to their billing and produced some scintillating football at times -- notably in the first half.
After such an important win, it would be churlish to put forward a string of minor negatives but the one that must be noted is that Liverpool scored, and the final score does not do adequate justice to PSG's performance as a consequence.
Angel Di Maria was badly at fault with an atrocious tackle as the team conceded yet another penalty, so Liverpool scoring at all could have been easily avoided. Thankfully for the French champions, they were not made to for that fortuitous lifeline in the second half.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Tuchel made some big calls, both tactically and in terms of personnel, and his players produced a performance and result that the German tactician and PSG can be proud of.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 6 -- Given no chance by Milner as Liverpool pulled one back, he was otherwise solid but rarely actually tested.
DF Thilo Kehrer, 7 -- Continues to justify Tuchel's confidence with another solid showing when defending, and he was also surprisingly useful in attack.
DF Thiago Silva (c), 8 -- The captain was at his commanding best and had it not been for Di Maria's clumsiness, he and his defensive unit probably would have finished with the clean sheet that they largely deserved.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- Struggled in the first half but found his feet in the second and grew into the encounter as it became more physical and tense.
DF Juan Bernat, 7 -- Scorer of the opening goal and the author of another solid display, he has found some consistency after a shaky start to life in Paris.
MF Marquinhos, 8 -- Played in an un-favoured defensive midfield role that saw him drop even further back into defence at times, he was fantastically disciplined and showed great commitment at key moments to help keep Liverpool at bay.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 -- Summed himself up in a nutshell with moments of technical brilliance but was also fortunate to only pick up a first half booking after a wild challenge in a moment of madness. It's the Verratti experience: sublime and silly in equal measures.
MF Angel Di Maria, 4 -- Struggled until he was withdrawn after 65 minutes, he never looked the same after an early knock, picked up a few more and gave away a shocking penalty that could have cost his team dearer than it ultimately did.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 6 -- Although he was involved in the build-up to both Bernat and Neymar's goals, he did not seem quite right and appeared to be in greater pain than Neymar towards the end of the game -- both had shaken off injuries to start -- when he made way for Adrien Rabiot.
FW Edinson Cavani, 5 -- Put himself at the disposal of the team and did what his coach asked of him, but it was a lonely night where he barely received the ball.
FW Neymar, 8 -- Shrugged off last week's injury scare to start and showed no ill-effects with a start-to-finish goal as part of an involved performance that saw his late penalty shout waved away by inept referee Szymon Marciniak and was only mildly soured by a late booking.
MF Dani Alves, 6 -- Was given 25 minutes and threw himself around in midfield in typically Tasmanian Devil fashion.
FW Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 6 -- A surprisingly astute introduction from Tuchel in place of Cavani, he was an ideal battering ram and makeshift defender as the clock ticked down.
MF Adrien Rabiot, NR -- He was not lacking commitment when he was given five minutes towards the end and mucked in with everybody else as things got feisty.