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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 the Parc des Princes 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.

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[ 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.

Neymar finish has PSG leading Liverpool at half (video)

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Paris Saint-Germain’s quest for revenge against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League got off to a flying start.

The Ligue 1 giants have brought their 14-0 league form to the UCL, with a pair of goals in the first 36 minutes putting them ahead before the Reds nabbed a stoppage time penalty kick through James Milner (of course).

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

PSG opened the scoring through Juan Bernat’s sweet low shot across his body, but the big names teamed up to make it 2-0.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe led the break down the left of the pitch. The French striker crossed for Edinson Cavani, whose doorstep attempted was saved by Alisson Becker.

That ball went right to Neymar, though, who doubled PSG’s advantage 10 minutes before Sadio Mane won the penalty for Liverpool.

Tuchel “more optimistic” about Neymar, Mbappe fitness for Liverpool

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Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will return to Paris Saint-Germain training on Monday ahead of a crucial UEFA Champions League meeting with Liverpool at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: Watford 0-3 Liverpool ]

Both players were injured on international duty and missed PSG’s 1-0 win over Toulouse in Ligue 1. Dani Alves returned to the lineup in the win.

“I am more optimistic than yesterday about Ney and Kylian,” said PSG manager Thomas Tuchel. “They will be able to train on Monday.”

Liverpool’s season is back on its upward trend following decisive wins at Watford and Fulham, but the Reds split their UCL series with Red Star Belgrade to put their knockout round status in question.

The Reds are level with Napoli on six points atop the group, a point better than PSG and two ahead of Red Star.

Napoli hosts Red Star on Wednesday. Group play concludes Dec. 11 with Napoli at Liverpool and Red Star home to PSG.

Neymar, Mbappe injury updates ahead of pivotal Liverpool clash

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With only two games left to play, it’s looking more and more likely that one of Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool will crash out of Group C in the UEFA Champions League and fall into the Europa League knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic talks Dortmund future, pride at USMNT captaincy ]

With the two giants — currently third and second in the group, respectively, behind Napoli — set to face off in the French capital next Wednesday, this week’s international break was hardly the ideal time for PSG’s most talent, irreplaceable superstars to pick up injuries. Alas, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both did so on Tuesday.

PSG issued on Wednesday an update on the dynamic duo — neither injury is believed to be serious — leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Read one way, they could both be available in seven days’ time; read another, it could be a bit too soon to rush them back.

“Neymar and Kylian Mbappe today underwent medical examinations that confirmed:

– for Neymar an elongation of the right abductors

– for Kylian Mbappe a contusion of the right shoulder.

“They will undergo a 48-hour period of treatment before further evaluation.”

Before next week’s clash with Liverpool, PSG will host 15th-place Toulouse in Ligue 1 action on Saturday.

CL preview: PSG and Barcelona visit Italy, Atletico hosts Dortmund

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There’s a star-studded lineup on Tuesday in the Champions League, and one of the biggest stars could make his return earlier than expected.

Lionel Messi was included in the Barcelona squad that visits in-form Internazionale on Tuesday, and while he’s not expected to start, he could make his return from a broken arm that has kept the superstar out for the last two weeks. Messi was expected to miss more time, but was included int he squad despite confirmation that he is training despite not yet receiving clearance from the medical staff to play.

With or without Messi, Barcelona visits Inter in a scintillating matchup of in-form sides. Barcelona leads La Liga and hasn’t lost in any competition since a late September miss at Leganes. Meanwhile, since a mid-September loss to Parma, Inter’s only defeat has come to this Messi-less Barcelona team in the reverse fixture two weeks ago. They have beaten good teams such as AC Milan, Lazio, and Tottenham over that time. A draw or win would confirm Barcelona as through to the next round, while a win for Inter would do the same, although both teams appear all but clearly on their way.

Mauro Icardi was rested for the 5-0 thumping of Genoa last time out, but the Argentine has five goals in his last three Serie A matches and is white-hot form. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez is on a similarly torrid streak, with six goals in his last three league games, including an El Clasico hat-trick.

Elsewhere, Napoli hosts Paris Saint-Germain. Napoli brings good goalscoring form into the match, with at least two goals in four of its last five matches across all competitions. PSG is steamrolling the French league again, but sits third in Group C and desperately needs a win to feel better about advancing. Kylian Mbappe did not score in the 2-2 draw the last time these teams met, but has bagged seven goals in his last four Ligue 1 matches and hopes to bring that form with him into Champions League play.

Borussia Dortmund heads west to visit Atletico Madrid with both teams far and away the leaders in Group A. Similarly to the Barcelona vs. Inter game, a draw or win would see the German side officially advance, while Atletico would go through with a win or potentially could confirm advancement with a draw plus help. England youngster Jadon Sancho is the man to watch in Madrid, having pushed Christian Pulisic for Dortmund minutes thanks to his ridiculous form, with four goals in the 18-year-old’s last four matches across all competitions, including a tally in the 4-0 Dortmund win over Atletico in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.

Liverpool travels east to Serbia to take on Red Star Belgrade, leaving Albanian-born Xherdan Shaqiri behind “to avoid any distractions” with the political discord between the parties and “focus on football.” The Reds hammered Red Star at home, but playing in Eastern Europe is a different prospect. Liverpool needs all the points it can grab with PSG and Napoli hot on its heels, and can put pressure on the rest of the group with an early 12:55 p.m. ET kick.

Tottenham hosts PSV Eindhoven at Wembley Stadium in dire need of a result, with just one point through three matches in group stage play. Spurs likely need to win at least two of the next three to have any hope of reaching the knockout stage, and with Barcelona and Inter the two remaining opponents, this is as much of a must-win as it comes. Still, Spurs are winless in their last five European matches and will be without captain Hugo Lloris after he was sent off in the dying minutes of the reverse fixture. That’s just the beginning of Mauricio Pochettino‘s squad troubles, with Danny RoseEric DierMousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Victor Wanyama all out injured.

AS Monaco and Club Brugge both meet in France needing a win to have any hope of catching the Group A leaders. Schalke hosts Turkish side Galatasaray with Group D still completely up in the air. On the other side of Group D, FC Porto welcomes Russian side Lokomotov Moscow to Portugal.