Firmino strikes late to give Liverpool 3-2 victory over PSG

ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 19, 2018 08:21 AM
Firmino strikes late to give Liverpool 3-2 victory over PSG
Liverpool's coach Juergen Klopp hugs Liverpool's Roberto Firmino at the end of the match after he scored his sides third goal during the Champions League Group C soccer match between Liverpool and Paris-Saint-Germain at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Liverpool won the match 3-2. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

By Rob Harris, Associated Press

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Roberto Firmino had an eye for goal just when Liverpool needed a winner against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Liverpool had thrown away a two-goal lead at Anfield on Tuesday, with Kylian Mbappe scoring an 83rd-minute equalizer, but the French World Cup star's carelessness at the other end proved costly for PSG in stoppage time.

Mbappe was dispossessed by James Milner before Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk combined to set up Firmino, who came on in the second half after being a doubt for the game with an eye injury. The Brazil forward found the space to weave through the defense and strike the ball low into the net to seal a 3-2 victory.

As a celebration, Firmino put his hand over his left eye — which was scratched at Tottenham on Saturday and had put his participation in the game in doubt.

"The day before yesterday there was no chance (he could play) and yesterday it didn't look well," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said, adding that Firmino only told him on Tuesday morning that "I can open the eye again."

It all made for painful viewing for PSG Thomas Tuchel in his first Champions League game with PSG. As Borussia Dortmund coach in 2016, Tuchel's side also conceded in the first minute of stoppage time at Anfield to go out of the Europa League in the quarterfinals.

"This is what Liverpool do," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. "They press you and they make it hard for you in possession."

Four months after losing last season's final to Real Madrid, Liverpool showed they might be capable of challenging for the title once again by finding a way to tame Neymar and Mbappe for much of the game.

"He's got to work hard to try to improve," Tuchel said of Mbappe.

Left-back Andy Robertson, who repeatedly repelled Mbappe's forays down the right, also showed his attacking ability by setting up the opener. A cross from Robertson was headed in by Daniel Sturridge 30 minutes into his first Champions League start since playing for Chelsea in 2012.

Milner, who was Liverpool's tireless engine in midfield, then stepped up to the penalty spot when Georginio Wijnaldum was tripped by Juan Bern, doubling the lead in the 36th minute.

"We conceded goals in the first half," Tuchel said, "but we never lost our confidence."

That was evident when Thomas Meunier sliced into the net in the 40th minute, and PSG avoided a bigger deficit when Mohamed Salah's goal in the 67th was ruled out for Sturridge sinking his studs into goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the buildup.

Salah, Liverpool's top scorer last season, had a low-key game and it was his misplaced pass that gifted PSG a chance to equalize. Substitute Julian Draxler took the ball forward and released Neymar, who was challenged by van Dijk as he broke into the area. Mbappe seized on the loose ball and fired into the bottom corner.

Salah was brought off two minutes later, and found his own curious way to celebrate Firmino's winning goal. Salah threw a water bottle at the ground looking far from happy.

But there was joy around the rest of a club. The five-time European champions now have a Champions League victory to join to its run of five successive Premier League wins.

"We are good at getting in people's faces," Robertson said, "especially at home to make it uncomfortable."

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