Cavani officially ruled out of first leg v. Man United

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Manchester United’s hopes of taking hold of their UEFA Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain became a little stronger on Monday afternoon.

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed at a pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s match in Manchester that Edinson Cavani will miss the first leg with a hip injury. That leaves Tuchel and PSG without two key attachers, as Cavani joins Neymar on the sidelines.

[READ: UEFA Champions League Last 16 Predictions]

Taking Cavani’s place up top will be the French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, who of course is still a star and will cause a lot of problems for Manchester United’s defense. Mbappe has 18 goals in 17 Ligue 1 matches, as well as three Champions League finishes. However, just one of Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar is better than having to handle all three.

Cavani has 22 goals in all competitions this season, including a pair in the Champions League and 17 in 16 matches in Ligue 1, making this a big blow to Tuchel’s hopes on the road.

Manchester United enters the match with wins in 10 of its last 11 matches, which has vaulted the Red Devils back into the top four of the Premier League. With players getting fit and the team in great form, suddenly Man United is the in-form team and the one that seems more likely to win this tie than when the draw was announced.

Neymar-less PSG needs extra time to beat third-tier side (video)

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Paris Saint-Germain, like a lot of good teams, seems to be unbeatable for long stretches before hitting vulnerable patches.

Most of those patches, though, don’t involve losing to a team two leagues beneath you.

[ MORE: Man City favored by oddsmakers ]

PSG needed extra time to get pastĀ FC Villefranche-Beaujolais in theĀ Championnat National, France’s third-tier, posting a 3-0 win Wednesday in theĀ Coupe de France Round of 16 at theĀ Stade Armand Chouffet.

Julian Draxler broke Villefranche’s resolve with a 102nd minute goal, with Moussa Diaby and Edinson Cavani adding markers before the final whistle.

Villefranche did not record a shot on target and was out-attempted 23-6, while Cavani and Kylian Mbappe started the match on the bench.

PSG is also without Neymar for the next two months and lost its unbeaten Ligue 1 mark at the weekend with a 2-1 loss at Lyon. It has a 10-point lead on second-place Lille and two matches-in-hand.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea linked with Cavani, Barella; Palace, Newcastle duel for N’Jie

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For a rare occasion, Paris Saint-Germain may be the club to cash a big check from a transfer sale.

The Sunday Express says Chelsea is ready to bid approximately $64 million to bring Edinson Cavani to Stamford Bridge, and may make another big move like last week’s addition of Christian Pulisic.

[ MORE: Man Utd issues Pogba update ]

Maurizio Sarri is building for this year as well as the long-term according to the report, which claims that Chelsea will sell 6-7 players during the January window in addition to buying Nicola Barella and loaning him back to Cagliari for the rest of the season.

Barella, 22 next month, was slapped with a $57 million price tag this time last season and has seen his value rise while earning his first four senior caps for Italy.

Cesc Fabregas should leave soon after Saturday’s emotional (apparent) farewell to Stamford Bridge, and Alvaro Morata could also leave should Cavani arrive in London.

If all three moves happen, Chelsea’s January outlay is likely to rise above $200 million.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s notoriously-tight purse strings may have the Magpies aiming for a pair of loan moves this month.

Former Spurs man Clinton N'Jie is said to be available from Marseille and young French full back Faitout Maouassa is the other Express-reported target.

The 25-year-old N’Jie has a goal this season for Marseille, and the center forward did not score in an ancillary role at Spurs over 14 matches. Crystal Palace is also said to want N’Jie.

Maouassa, 20, reportedly shot down a $10 million Newcastle bid for the player, with the Magpies hoping a loan would better fit the bill. The player spent the first half of the season on loan inside of Ligue 1.

Neymar stars, PSG puts Liverpool on brink

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  • Bernat, Neymar open 2-0 lead
  • Liverpool scores with only shot on goal
  • Reds drop third in Group C

Juan Bernat and Neymar scored first half goals and Liverpool could only muster a James Milner penalty in response as Paris Saint-Germain leapfrogged the Reds with a 2-1 win at theĀ Parc des PrincesĀ on Wednesday in UEFA Champions League.

Napoli handled its business against Red Star Belgrade with a 3-1 win to top the group, meaning Liverpool needs to beat Napoli 1-0 or by two or more at Anfield.

Alisson Becker was Liverpool’s star, holding the Reds in the match.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Alisson was busy early for Liverpool, conceding a corner on an Angel Di Maria rip before making an even better stop on Angel Di Maria.

But Alisson couldn’t get to Bernat’s opener, the Spanish back sweeping a sweet low shot across his body and inside the near post.

And PSG kept pouring forward, getting a deserved second goal as Kylian Mbappe set up Edinson Cavani for a shot that Alisson saved right to Neymar for a rebound goal.

Liverpool was given a lifeline when Sadio Mane hit the deck in the box following a wayward sliding challenge from Angel Di Maria.

Milner wrong-footed Gianluigi Buffon from the spot to make it 2-1 in first half stoppage time.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Marquinhos had the ball behind Alisson again, but was offside when he knifed it home.

The Reds finally put some sustained danger together, largely through Mohamed Salah, but PSG remained inspired and composed at the back.

Alisson kept the Reds alive when Marquinhos pounded a header on goal off a corner kick.

Cavani hat-trick sends PSG to 4-0 win over Monaco

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Thierry Henry will be seeing Edinson Cavani in his nightmares.

The new AS Monaco manager, tasked with not just taking the club out of the relegation zone but bringing it back to relevance, has found the task tougher than imagined, obliterated by Paris Saint-Germain 4-0. Cavani had a hat-trick and Neymar added the icing on the cake as the visitors to the province moved 13 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

Cavani was in the right place at the right time constantly, as all three of his goals were essentially tap-ins, although the second he was forced into a full stretch to reach the cross fromĀ Moussa Diaby. He scored his first just four minutes into the match, in space at the far post and there to redirect a Neymar shot on target. The second came in the 11th minute as Monaco found itself in a massive deficit early, and the third came just after halftime as Diaby got by the defense down the left and crossed to Cavani streaking through the back line.

Kylian Mbappe drew a penalty past the hour mark, and Neymar put it pastĀ Diego Benaglio for the 4-0 lead.

Henry has had little to cling to since taking over as Monaco boss, having earned just a single point through four matches in charge. The club hasn’t won since the first match of the season, and sits 19th in the Ligue 1 table with seven points, only off the bottom due to Guingamp’s far worse goal difference.