Thiago Silva

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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.

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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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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.

Silva says Liverpool loss “changed our mentality” as PSG aims for home win

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Paris Saint-Germain, like Man City, has lost just once this season.

A perfect 14-0 in Ligue 1, PSG lost to Liverpool and twice drew Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.

[ REPORT: Steffen to Man City ]

That puts Thomas Tuchel behind the 8-ball, as PSG’s ambitions are as focused on the UCL as any club outside of Real Madrid.

Now Liverpool’s next, this time at the Parc des Princes, and Thiago Silva says it isn’t about revenge but about survival. From eng.psg.fr:

“I think that match changed our mentality. After that, we showed more concentration, more aggression and we have had more possession since then. In the Champions League, the little details make the difference. In the first leg, conceding that goal in the final seconds was a real shame because we’d played well in the second half. We deserved to equalize and that third goal really hurt.

“But we are not looking for revenge, but it will be a decisive match. Victory will put us in a very strong position. We never know what can happen in these matches. We saw Liverpool lose in Belgrade. We recorded a big win over Red Star in the first meeting. We have to be well-prepared.”

PSG are favored to get a result at home, but will be expecting more if Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are fit to pay following injuries that kept them out of the weekend’s league win. Both stars trained on Monday.

Brazil breaks down Serbia to win group

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Paulinho and Thiago Silva ended Serbia’s World Cup hopes with goals in each half as Brazil scooped up a win and the top spot in Group E with a 2-0 win in Moscow on Wednesday.

Brazil will face Mexico in the Round of 16 on Monday. It should be a beauty.

Serbia played well over 90 minutes, and will be left to rue an uncalled foul in the box on Aleksandar Mitrovic earlier in the tournament.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The first 20 minutes was heavy on scares for Brazil. Marcelo had to come off with an apparent leg injury, and Gabriel Jesus was also felled and hit the deck for a spell.

But Paulinho’s goal came after the half hour mark, as Philippe Coutinho opened the lid on the Serbia back line and the Barcelona man used his first touch to flick the ball past Vladimir Stojkovic.

Serbia’s second half battle was fierce, but Brazil made the path to the knockout rounds extra thorny with a Silva header of a Neymar corner kick.

The rest of the match largely saw Serbia on its heels against a third Brazil goal, as Neymar and Co. very much look prepared for the big stage.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

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PSG issues Neymar injury update; Silva claims Marseille targeted star

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Pretty heavy charges lay at the feet of Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet, as PSG announced that Neymar has a sprained ankle and broken metatarsal.

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The Paris Saint-Germain captain claims that Payet and his teammates aimed to hurt Neymar in the lead-up to the seemingly innocuous exchange that ultimately sent the megastar off the field on the stretcher.

His basis? Silva says Payet told the referee as much:

“It’s a shame. Payet said to the referee that he wanted to hurt. That is not football.”

French radio station RMC claimed Payet told referee Benoit Bastien: “Tell Neymar to calm down or we are going to take care of him.”

Now Neymar’s injury came without contact — typically worse for the severity of the injury — and after he snuck his studs onto Bouna Sarr’s leg, but there’s no question the Brazilian was being hunted (There’s embellishment in the below video, but also clear tactical fouling).

PSG plays Marseille again on Wednesday in the French Cup before a league match at Troyes and a first leg with Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

PSG respond strongly to reports of Thiago Silva’s mental weakness

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Paris Saint-Germain strongly supported captain Thiago Silva after reports in French publication L’Equipe suggested that the Brazilian’s injury problems are not as serious as the club has made them out to be.

According to the often explosive French newspaper, the 32-year-old defender missed the pummeling of Barcelona not because of a calf bruise but was because he was “frozen with fear” ahead of one of the biggest games of his life.

“It’s hard to say if he’s injured,” said an unnamed source L’Equipe referred to as a “regular at the training center.” “Medical examinations did not show much. It looks as though he has tensed up at the approach of the event.” L’Equipe is known for its harsh words and even harsher match ratings, and occasionally seems to embellish otherwise routine stories.

PSG responded with an exclusive in Brazilian newspaper Globoesporte, saying, “Thiago Silva was injured after the Ligue 1 clash with Lille [on February 7th],” the statement from the French champions read. “The diagnosis was heavy bruising on his left calf — he did not play against Bordeaux the week before the Champions League match at home to Barcelona.”

“Thiago Silva is our captain, the man of great games, who is always there through the difficult times and is appreciated by the staff and his teammates. Everyone at the club is shocked by the doubts some have expressed about his motivation.”

The L’Equipe claim doesn’t seem to hold much water. Thiago Silva is an experienced Brazilian international and has played Champions League matches against clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and even Barcelona twice in the 2014/15 campaign, which both times resulted in a 3-1 loss. He is also known to be injury prone, with the club even pointing out that after the unsuccessful World Cup in 2014, Silva returned to the club early to help them start the season, only to result in an injury in doing so.

After the Lille match where he picked up the injury, Silva missed the following Ligue 1 meeting, a trip to Bordeaux which PSG won 3-0. The article went on to say that the injury is severe enough to keep Silva out of the next Ligue 1 match, a home date with Toulouse, and he is expected to return for the trip to Marseille on February 26th. That would theoretically see Silva fit enough to play in the second leg against Barcelona on March 8th.

Without the captain on the field, manager Unai Emery instead was forced to pair an incredibly young duo of Marquinhos (22 years old) and Presnel Kimpembe (21 years old) in central defense, the latter of whom made his Champions League debut. With the help of successful midfield cover in Adrian Rabiot, he two held Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez scoreless in the 4-0 demolition.