A crucial win: Liverpool 3-2 PSG

Here are three talking points from a thrilling night at Anfield:

Sturridge’s special moment: It’s an unfortunate quirk of circumstances that Sturridge had never started a Champions League match for Liverpool until the visit of PSG.  In fact, the previous occasion he featured in a game in the competition from kick-off came before he even joined the club – in March 2012.  But the No.15 grasped his long-awaited chance by heading home the breakthrough goal of a frantic encounter against the French champions, from Andy Robertson’s perfect cross at the Kop end.  And, despite that gap between Champions League starts, Sturridge actually extended his run of being directly involved in goals in the tournament for Liverpool. He has now done so in four consecutive appearances – two goals and two assists.

Reds set goal pace in Europe: Liverpool’s three goals on the night increased our tally in the competition proper since the beginning of last season to 44 – a total no team in Europe can match.  That haul has come in 14 games at an average of more than three per fixture, making the Reds comfortably the tournament’s most prolific side during that period.  Klopp’s team have been especially relentless at Anfield, scoring 34 times in their past 10 European games at the ground, with only FC Porto shutting them out in that run.

Advantage Liverpool in Group C

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
2 Crvena Zvezda 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
3 Napoli 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
4 Paris Saint-Germain 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0

While the Reds were fighting hard to finally beat PSG, elsewhere in the group Red Star Belgrade and Napoli were sharing the points in a goalless stalemate.  Nothing could separate the fourth and second seeds in the section respectively, meaning Liverpool hold a two-point lead after the first round of matches.

We’ll now look to build on that minor advantage in our next Champions League fixture – an away trip to Napoli in early October.

Liverpool to face PSG, Napoli and Red Star in Champions League

Liverpool will face Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in Group C of the Champions League this season.

Thursday’s draw took place in Monaco and placed the Reds – runners-up in the competition last term – in the same section as the clubs from France, Italy and Serbia respectively.

The opening matches of the group stage will be held on September 18/19, with further fixtures on October 2/3, October 23/24, November 6/7, November 27/28 and December 11/12.

Liverpool have played each of the three teams twice before: PSG in the Cup Winners’ Cup (1997), Napoli in the Europa League (2010) and Red Star in the European Cup (1973).

Jürgen Klopp is confident Liverpool will be a ‘big challenge’ for any team in Europe, after sharing his reaction with the clubs official website.

Full Champions League group stage draw

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Bruges.

Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan.

Group C: Paris St-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade.

Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray.

Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens.

Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim.

Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen.

Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys.

Europe’s most expensive football squads revealed

A new study has revealed the most expensive squads across Europe’s top five leagues and one of the eye-catching statistics is the fact Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool squad cost more than German champions and European titans Bayern Munich, according to the Football Observatory. 

The Reds splashed out a hefty amount of money this summer with eight players coming to Anfield in the form of Christian Benteke, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.

Meanwhile, Bayern were also busy with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal amongst those to come in, but it seems as though the Bavarian giants could do with giving Rodgers some advice on how to conduct shrewd transfer business.

The aforementioned study reveals that Liverpool’s squad costs €344 million – the fourth most expensive in the Premier League – whilst Bayern’s is €337 million – the most in Germany, but seven million less than the Reds.

Football Squads

Meanwhile, the study also confirms – not much of a surprise – that Manchester City have assembled the most expensive squad in England, after bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne this summer.

Rafa Benitez will have to cope with severe pressure this season after it was also revealed his squad is nearly €200 million more than rivals Barcelona, whilst the gulf in class is evident in Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s closest rivals Monaco have a squad which is nearly €400 million cheaper.

Top 20 most expensive squads in Europe:

1. Real Madrid (€587m)
2. Manchester City (€560m)
3. Manchester United (€533m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain (€525m)
5. Chelsea (€407m)
6. Barcelona (€396m)
7. Liverpool (€344m)
8. Bayern Munich (€337m)
9. Arsenal (€305m)
10. Juventus (€301m)
11. Tottenham Hotspur (€231m)
12. Valencia (€226m)
13. Inter Milan (€212m)
14. Napoli (€185m)
15. Southampton (€182m)
16. Atlético Madrid (€180m)
17. Wolfsburg (€163m)
18. AS Roma (€160m
19. Newcastle United (€157m)
20. AS Monaco (€152m)

Liverpool FC: Reina disappointed by Liverpool

Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina has hit out at Liverpool management accusing them of forcing him out of the club. Reina’s position at the club was already under doubt after Liverpool signed Simon Mignolet from Sunderland. Last week Liverpool confirmed that they had to come to an agreement with Napoli on a season-long loan where Reina will reunite with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

Speaking about the move on his personal website he said,

“’But if I have one regret, it is the way that I am leaving.  It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first, I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football.

A lot has been made about me informing the club that if an offer came in from Barcelona that I would have liked them to consider it.  But I had also spoken to the club about the possibility of extending my contract if the offer was not made.  I told the manager that I wanted to play for Liverpool and that Barcelona would only become an option for me if the opportunity arrived, like the rumours said it would, as it would be a chance for me to go back home.  When it didn’t come I was happy to fight for my place so I was surprised that Liverpool decided it was in the club´s interests to send me to Napoli instead.”

Reina’s move away from Liverpool shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. His form has been down for last 2 seasons and his fate was sealed the moment Liverpool captured Simon Mignolet. There were reports earlier that he was going to replace Victor Valdes at Barcelona but nothing came out of it.  With the World Cup fast approaching Reina knows that lack of game time will affect the chances of him getting picked for Spain. And with Napoli having sold their first choice keeper Morgan De Sanctis to AS Roma this is a move that will benefit both parties involved.