Liverpool head into their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday evening knowing that if they win—and as long as Napoli don’t lose tomorrow’s other Group C match against Red Star Belgrade—they will be through to the knockout rounds.
For PSG, a point back of Napoli and Liverpool, victory would put them back in control of their destiny in the final group game. For both, it could end up a match that decides their future in Europe this season. As far as group stage games go, it’s kind of a big deal.
“I have no clue, to be honest,” was Jürgen Klopp’s response when asked what he thought would happen in the game and whether PSG would come out cagey or in an all-out attack at his pre-match press conference today. “That’s what I love most about football.
“Two very ambitious teams will face each other in a very, very interesting competition, in a very interesting situation. So we will go for everything and that’s how football should be—in this group, it was clear from the beginning it was a difficult one and that’s it.”
While PSG need a win and a win would put Liverpool through, a draw would at least still keep things in Liverpool’s control—they’d still be a point up on PSG and would know a win in their final game against Napoli at Anfield would see them into the knockout rounds.
That’s not an outcome Klopp or Liverpool will want, though. They want to win and to get to nine points tomorrow to guarantee their advancement. And in a tough group with three teams that would have been favourites in some others, you need to take your chances.
“It’s just exciting and the more difficult it is, the more I enjoy the preparation because you have to think about everything,” Klopp added. “How to defend this and that, how to avoid this and that, and how to play football yourself because that’s the most important thing.
“It is a thing that Paris is not used to that much because they are so dominant in the league, so now we have to make sure that they are not dominant against us and when we have our possession we must do something smart with it.”