Just one fully-operational eye, but when it came to Roberto Firmino and his 93rd minute winner in this outstanding Liverpool Champions League performance, you could only sit back and admire the great vision that made it all possible.
It was this Brazilian, and not his £198 million compatriot in a Paris St-Germain shirt, who delivered the game’s outstanding moment, deep into injury time when the Liverpool substitute wriggled through the away team’s area and clipped in the winner. Injured on Saturday by that finger thrust into his left eye socket by Jan Vertonghen, Firmino was restricted this time to 20 minutes from the bench and then, when his team needed that final decisive act, he delivered.
As Anfield erupted, he placed a hand over his damaged left socket and seemed to be saying that it would take a lot more than a sore eye to stop him doing what he does best. He had been embraced at the start of the game by his Brazil team-mate, Neymar, sought out in his seat before kick-off with the usual grandeur of PSG’s No 10 bestowing his favour – although, for the latter, it did not turn out quite as expected.
Instead, Liverpool won this game once, threw it away and then won it all over again with that late goal – a fair return on an evening when they had boldly set out their attacking game-plan. They played like a team who believe they should win these big matches.
Kylian Mbappe’s 83rd minute equaliser had brought the game level for the first time since Daniel Sturridge had nodded in Liverpool’s first after half an hour on what was, remarkably, his first ever start for the club in the Champions League. But that was not to be the end of it. The run to the final last season seems to have taught Jurgen Klopp’s players that they should never risk regretting what might have been or curtail their attacking instincts.
The standard was set by James Milner, scorer of the second from the penalty spot, who landed the first decisive tackle on that firefly Neymar within seven minutes and helped exploit PSG’s left side that was left light by the Brazilian’s reluctance to go backwards. As a replacement for Firmino, the goal from Sturridge showed that he was capable of rising to the occasion again. Sadio Mane had another influential game including one penalty box shimmy that bewildered Neymar the way Neymar tends to bewilder others.
Only Mohamed Salah from among Liverpool’s key men seemed to labour on this occasion, and he was off the pitch – replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri – when Firmino scored the winning goal. It was Salah who had given the ball away in the build-up to PSG’s second goal which was spirited forward by Neymar before Mbappe had the decisive touch. The television pictures caught Salah slamming a bottle to the floor when one might have expected him to be celebrating Firmino’s goal, although it was hard to draw firm conclusions.
They've done it! ��— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 18, 2018
Roberto Firmino comes off the bench to score Liverpool's winner in stoppage time!
What a match! ���� pic.twitter.com/z8fRzWrhfY
Later, Klopp would say that Firmino was a late inclusion to the squad, having come in on the day of the game to declare himself fit. This is a team that has now won all of their six games this season and you drop out of it at your peril. There was another outstanding performance from the full-backs: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson; the latter of whom who supplied the cross for Sturridge’s goal.
Thomas Tuchel, a coach who has followed the Klopp path in the Bundesliga, has been brought in to make the difference to this PSG team in Europe and, afterwards, he argued that his team had not deserved to lose. If one team deserved to lose it, however, it was most certainly not Liverpool and as for Neymar – this was an evening when he disappeared for long periods.
It was Milner who got a handle on the Brazilian almost eight minutes in when he connected with the tackle he had been hoping to make approximately five minutes earlier. Then, Neymar had embarked on a on a wide berth of the Liverpool midfield, eluding Jordan Henderson and then Milner on a route that was ever more circuitous.
After Milner had separated superstar from ball with that later tackle, the first half was very different. Liverpool tried to punch holes in the away defence with the usual directness and they used the right side channel as a way into PSG. That was where Neymar offers no cover for his full-back, Juan Bernat, and Angel Di Maria – often tucked inside – could not help out much either.
Liverpool tested it early and persistently. The cross from Alexander-Arnold on 30 minutes was beyond every red shirt but the second from Robertson on the left was right on the money for Sturridge to nod downwards past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Five minutes later, Milner retrieved a ball others might have given up on and pushed it down the wing to Salah, keen for a goal of his own.
He might have released it earlier but, when at last it ricocheted to Georginio Wijnaldum, the Dutch midfielder drove into the area too quickly for Bernat to pull a foot out of his path. Down went Wijnaldum. Milner put his penalty past the left hand of Areola for Liverpool’s second. PSG had given Neymar a lot of scope to roam but against a team this good they were paying for it.
Their first goal five minutes before the break was well-taken by Thomas Meunier when Robertson let Di Maria’s cross bounce off him. Edinson Cavani had tried to connect with it having been in an offside position.
The chances for Liverpool came and went, including a Salah goal disallowed when Sturridge went over the top and into Areola’s groin.
Always, it felt, they were vulnerable and so it proved when Salah’s pass was intercepted and Neymar embarked on a run that ended with Mbappe finishing. Arms folded, knee slide, but it was not over. Firmino tricked his way through the PSG box for the winner.
Jurgen Klopp is delighted
"Can you deny their strength over 90 minutes? Probably not.
"Super game of Daniel. I never saw him as fit as he is at the moment and he used that fitness. He was everywhere, kept the ball.
"Second goal they scored was unnecessary, but that's their quality. Oh the game at Paris... it will be tough."
The Mo Salah throwing bottle scenario
There's some chat on the internet (specifically Twitter... grooooan) showing Salah throwing his bottle to the floor while on the sub's bench as that winning goal went in. You can't see the full clip but he celebrates when the goal goes in before sitting down. It might be an idea not to read too much into that just yet.
Liverpool players post-match
"I think all the fans, players have been waiting for the Champions League to start since May. We made it hard for ourselves but we were brilliant I thought.
"I felt we controlled it, controlled the second half til a sloppy pass in the midfield and that's the only time they've opened us up. We stuck at it and found our second win, the chances kept coming and Bobby's done a great finish."
"It's great to contribute, it's only one game so we're not going to get too excited. Of course, it's a team, everybody's here to add goals, hard work, determination, everybody's in to do it. "
The winning goal
They've done it! ��— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 18, 2018
Roberto Firmino comes off the bench to score Liverpool's winner in stoppage time!
What a match! ���� pic.twitter.com/z8fRzWrhfY
When Mbappe thought he'd grabbed a point for PSG
And that's it! Liverpool have their win! Firmino's late winner enough to seal the points in a hugely entertaining match. That was ace fun to watch.
FIRMINO HAS DONE IT! LIVERPOOL HAVE THE WINNER!
Liverpool 3 (Firmino 90+2') PSG 2
It's a superb finish from Firmino. The way he turns two centre-backs and throws the goalkeeper the wrong way is top drawer, the finish is perfect into the bottom corner. So much for not being able to see! Firmino's picked the only bit of the goal he could have scored in!
90 mins +2 - Liverpool 2 PSG 2
PSG win the ball near their own box but Neymar can't control the forward pass and then throws his arms out in disgust at his teammates. Another corner, PSG try to break... Mbappe is tackled. Firmino takes it on, cuts inside onto his left... he can shoot here!!!!!
90 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 2
Robertson sends in another oustanding cross from wide left, Areola dives to stop any potential headers hitting the back if his net but Silva has headed it away again. Liverpool keep coming. PSG working hard to close down players and space.
88 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 2
Alexnader-Arnold takes the free-kick... JUST WIDE! Ohhhhhhhhhh that is inches away! And it's taken a deflection so that's a corner. Shaqiri comes to take it but PSG defend well... and now Draxler is away! Liverpool taken apart with one pass! Here he is... can he finish.... no! The defence blocks and Liverpool survive!
86 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 2
Mane goes on a run inside the pitch and goes down under the attention of Marquinhos on the edge of the area. Great chance to shoot for Liverpool here.
MBAPPE HAS EQUALISED!
Liverpool 2 PSG 2 (Mbappe 83')
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant from Mbappe! PSG have waited all game for something like this. Salah makes a poor pass, Liverpool are caught in transition, Neymar charges forward and Van Dijk's tackle lets the ball fall to Mbappe to finish into the corner.
83 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Liverpool get bodies back desperately to prevent Neymar dribbling through the middle into the box. Milner is the man to get the important final touch and win the ball back before it was too late!
Here come Liverpool again, Mane chips in, plays a one-two with Salah, dinks the ball over Kimpembe and only has the goalie to beat from a tight angle! He swipes at his shot and drags it wide when a cross into the six yard area made more sense.
81 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Choup-Moting - the one who used to play for Stoke - has come on for Di Maria. That has to hurt.
Cavani off, Draxler on.
79 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
And all of a sudden Neymar bursts into life. First touch kills the ball, second is unbelievable and turns a middling move into dangerous attack in an instant. His pass out wide to Meunier is decent too but the full-back's cross is floated and cleared by Van Dijk.
77 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Neymar picks out Bernat on the left wing, chips the ball to his feet... but he's offside. "He's took too long!" moans McManaman. Loving this.
Liverpool have turned that into a corner but Silva batters his header away at the near post. Neymar is dispossessed at halfway.
75 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
We're in the final 15 minutes. It's the time Tuchel has been waiting for - PSG didn't want to get torn apart at Anfield by taking the game to Liverpool and now you'd really think they'll turn up the volume and take advantage of a less frantic, slightly more tired opposition.
Draxler is about to come on for PSG and I reckon it'll be Di Maria who makes way.
73 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Sturridge makes way for Firmino. Another corner.
It's swung in, Van Dijk is back post and can head at goal from the second phase... cushions it down and Salah can attack the loose ball! His shot is dragged wide.
Mbappe is stupidly fast. He accelerates like a remote control car, zero to full speed in about 0.5 seconds.
71 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Firmino's getting ready to come on for Liverpool, who have another corner. Milner comes across to swing this one in to the area. Liverpool surround the goalkeeper again, the ball is fired in and Cavani heads over his own goal.
69 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
That's Sturridge keeping his eye on the ball(s)...
For what it's worth, I really like McManaman as a commentator. He's just really funny to listen to tonight.
67 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Kimpembe fouls Salah about 25 yards from goal and this is a fantastic chance for Alexander-Arnold to have a hit on goal.
65 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
PSG are beginning to find space in the Liverpool half as they counter attack now... but it's the same at the other end for Liverpool. Sturridge finds space on the left wing, Wijnaldum joins in, Henderson has it, Sturridge, Sturridge curls a shot over the bar for a goal kick.
63 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Oh my god. McManaman is still going on about this. The goalkeeper has been slidetackled in the balls - it's a foul. In actual fact, Sturridge is fortunate not to be shown a yellow card for it - I've seen players sent off for less. There's no malice etc, it's mistimed...
Anyway. Let's move on.
GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL - DISALLOWED
SALAH SCORES! Does it count? No! It's been disallowed! Sturridge has slide tackled the goalkeeper's private area, taken him out the game, and Salah's tucked in the rebound. it's a clear foul.
Steve McManaman can't believe it. What has happened to him?! The assistant has seen it, disallowed the goal, the referee has made the right decision. Why is McManaman going so mental about it? Great fun.
56 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Liverpool trying to get their one touch passing going in the final third but PSG are holding them back for now.
54 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Really nice football from Liverpool. They work it well in short one-touch passes, move the ball from side to side and into the final third but can't forge an opening. PSG get forward and Mbappe skins two defenders with a swift turn of pace. He's amazing at that.
52 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Bernat does well to win the ball off Salah before he can get a shot away. Mbappe is playing through the middle as PSG defend now, waiting to pounce on any pass over the top sent his way. Cavani and Mbappe will swap as PSG get forward with the ball though - at the moment passes into the channel are being over-hit for goal kicks.
50 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
PSG looking to get the ball forward much more quickly to Mbappe this half and they seem to be narrower too.
48 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Milner tries to put the fear into Mbappe by taking no prisoners with another strong clearance, ensuring the forward doesn't get ideas about trying to dribble around him.
PSG have started well... but Mane's stolen the ball and run 60 yards with it. Liverpool back in possession.
KICK OFF 2
PSG start the second half. No changes from either team.
The Neymar/Mbappe thing
So, it makes sense. Liverpool keep getting two v one situations out wide because Neymar and Mbappe don't track the wing-backs. The hope has to be that the cross is cleared or blocked and lands at the feet of one of those two, at which point Liverpool are in a lot of trouble. It's not ideal for Tuchel that his two wingers don't like defending but in theory it should restrict Liverpool's attacking play. The thing is, Liverpool's defensive line is about 70 yards away from their goal. For that second goal, Van Dijk and Gomez could be seen inside the final third. In those instances maybe - just maybe - Neymar and Mbappe should dig in a little.
That said, doing that negates their actual skill set which is all to do with counter-attacking and being explosive in the Liverpool half. If PSG can keep the ball better and win it higher up the pitch, there are goals to be had.
Are ye dancin'?
Great game, great half, goals, fun, friends, sun, Tuesday, Jessica Ennis... good night.
45 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
McManaman hasn't stopped talking since kick off, which is good, since that's his job but my word it's a lot. He's still raging that Neymar isn't tracking Alexander-Arnold back to his penalty area. But the entire reason for Neymar not doing that is when Liverpool give the ball away, PSG can counter-attack mega quickly with one of the very best players in the world in space. I can understand why Neymar might do it sometimes but McManaman is incredulous. He can't believe it's happening.
43 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 1
Well, it's lived up to the hype anyway. Thomas Tuchel is up on the sidelines, perhaps unhappy with his team being pumped for 35 minutes. That goal could be crucial.
MEUNIER PULLS ONE BACK!
Liverpool 2 PSG 1 (Meunier 40')
The cross comes in from the left wing, it bounces off Robertson and sits up nicely for Meunier to have a ping. His volley sends the ball flying into the bottom corner from inside the area. McManaman's not quite as excited about this goal for some reason.
40 mins - Liverpool 2 PSG 0
Milner seems to have made it his own personal mission to boot Neymar into outer space and to be fair, he's doing pretty well so far. Liverpool fans cheer every time he gets smashed like it's a goal.
MILNER SCORES FROM THE SPOT!
Liverpool 2 (Milner 36' PEN) PSG 0
Milner hits it low and hard, beating the goalkeeper with power. It's a perfect penalty.
36 mins - Liverpool 1 PSG 0
Neymar smashes his shot into the wall and wins a corner.
The kick is played low to the edge of the box and MBAPPE IS THERE! SO CLOSE! Mbappe's first time shot is just over the bar!
Liverpool break up the pitch, Wijnaldum dances into the area... and goes down! McManaman is incensed, he's making zero sense today and it's pretty funny.
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!
34 mins - Liverpool 1 PSG 0
Salah has the ball in the penalty area, holds off his man, plays it low across the area... but the ball just won't go in! Liverpool keeping up the momentum and Anfield roars them on.
PSG get up the other end though and win a free-kick in Beckham Territory...
STURRIDGE HAS SCORED!
Liverpool 1 (Sturridge 30') PSG 0
Robertson's delivery for this from wide left is universal class. Forget the world! Sturridge powers his header past the goalkeeper to open the scoring and does his little dance.
30 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Ooooohhh Liverpool get away with one. Neymar is ruled offside as he ran clean through on goal and brought the ball under control... but the replay shows he's on. If only there were some sort of technology that could have assisted there. A video referee, if you will.
28 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Van Dijk is booked for completely misreading the bounce of the ball and grabbing onto Mbappe to prevent that becoming a problem.
Brilliant from Mbappe. He moves out to the left and breezes past Alexander-Arnold into the box but the move comes to nothing in the end. It's a really fluid front three for PSG, all swapping positions and dropping into space.
26 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Another Liverpool corner. Mane ends up with it wide right, completely bins Neymar with a brilliant drop shoulder but then punts his shot wildly high and wide.
24 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
PSG pass the ball a bit and Meunier carries it 40 yards up the right wing. Neymar has dropped into a central position and is dancing around with the ball, playing in teammates as two Liverpool midfielders are drawn towards him.
Now Neymar is wide left... and Di Maria tries an 'ambitious' effort from 25 yards which the goalkeeper picks off the floor.
22 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Steve McManaman seems to be rather obsessed with PSG's strikers not tracking back. They don't have to - it's part of the defensive strategy! If they stay forward, Liverpool can't commit too many forward in case there's a turnover. Also... I'd say this is tracking back.
That's still a defensive block.
And now McManaman is angry that Liverpool are playing too slowly, having just gone 15 minutes at full pelt, then having had to defend against two dangerous counters. Chill out Steve, it's going to be OK.
20 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
The counter is on! Mbappe races away down the right, reaches the final third and pulls a low ball across the pitch. It misses everyone.
Sturridge wins a foul to relieve some pressure.
18 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
There's an early cross swung in to Cavani but it's headed away. Another attack from PSG and the ball drops to Cavani inside the area as Alisson parries a Neymar shot... he doesn't get enough on his effort though and Liverpool survive. Massive chance wasted!
16 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
The corner swings out, Gomez attacks it from about 15 yards.... headed just over. Brilliant opening 15 minutes from Liverpool.
Daniel Sturridge is dropping back now to defend the right wing. 2018 is mental.
14 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Robertson has most of the pitch to run into (or at least the left wing) and takes Liverpool forward. PSG are dropping deep. Another corner is won as Mane chases the ball and he might have rolled his ankle in doing it. Seems to be fine.
Another corner, this time an outswinger and again, PSG players are literally holding Liverpool strikers. It's ridiculous.
12 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Liverpool look really menacing here. Salah gets a shot away from a good 20 yards but it's too central and low, giving the goalkeeper time to block and gather.
PSG slow things down for a bit.
10 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Oocha. What a challenge that is. Neymar tries to go past Milner and is absolutely smashed - fairly, somehow - onto the floor. He's still down as Liverpool surge forwards and win another corner.
The ref has to deal with more busy bodies pushing and shoving each other as several surround the goalkeeper.
It's tipped over, after Salah takes the time to remove his lycra under-shirt thing that footballers wear by law.
8 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
This time PSG get the ball clear, Liverpool win possession and build again. A couple of crosses deep to the back post from Mane are dealt with, the wing-backs are pushed high and keep possession in the final third and the ball drops to Milner 25 yards out. The crowd shout shoot - Milner SHOOTS! Corner!
Salah batters the corner towards the near post and the goalkeeper punches away. PSG can counter.
6 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Mane wins the first corner of the game. Milner stands over it and will swing this one out but the referee has noticed Sturridge being held by Marquinhos. The corner is cleared by the first man at the six yard box... and it's another corner.
It's taken short... Milner is in behind! He gets to the six yard box, blasts a cross into the area... nobody can get a foot on it! Van Dijk has a chance to shoot, hits it on the volley and the goalie pushes the ball over the bar.
4 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
PSG look ready to snap into action as soon as they win the ball, Liverpool sitting off them a little.
2 mins - Liverpool 0 PSG 0
Van Dijk gets the ball from kick off and launches it. So it's going to be one of those games then.
PSG are soon on the ball, Cavani touches it around Henderson, Henderson cleans him out with a block and sends the striker rolling on the ground. It's only a free-kick.
Neymar has started wide left, Di Maria in a deeper midfield role.
Liverpool get the game started to an enormous roar.
BT Sport have this lineup but I suspect it'll be a 4-2-3-1, Di Maria wide left and Neymar as a 10, playing more like a second striker. Beware Liverpool!
Those official lyrics really bring a tear to the eye:
"Even though most of the teams finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th... THE CHAAAAAAAMPIONS"
Here come the players!
Alisson and Neymar have a wee hug, the players are in the tunnel and Anfield is LOUD. This game *should* be absolutely brilliant.
BT Sport doing the 'just listen to Liverpool fans sing' bit
They're singing You'll Never Walk Alone. In case you weren't sure. They're not doing a mega version of the Champions League theme.
Neymar practising free-kicks on his left peg
Such a show off.
Jurgen Klopp pre-match
"Usually you meet a team like PSG in the knockout stage but we are lucky! No, all good. They bring the big four upfront so that will be exciting tonight.
"For the starting lineup (Firmino is) not really close but today he had a little test and will have another one in the warmup, the eye has improved. Daniel is in top shape, really happy with that. It's deserved."
Inside the changing room
More on Mbappe
Michael Owen on Mbappe
"The key to being a good player coming onto the scene is having an attitude where you belong, not arrogant.
"I think sometimes a kid comes along and everyone gets carried away but he's not. "
What he means is Mbappe is the real deal, which I think we can all agree with.
How do the strikers score so many goals?
The answers are above! I went through the data and reviewed games in great detail to find out what the big differences are. I can give you one key one for free - most of PSG's play goes through Neymar, while Liverpool are better balanced and share the love. It's to do with how the teams approach the final third and get the ball forward from the back but Liverpool's front three are far more team focused.
Take me on in the Champions League edition of Telegraph Fantasy Football until I do badly tonight and stop playing! You can win £5000 apparently.
Listen to our podcast!
It's really good. Promise. The bits without me in them are anyway. AFC Telegraph Podcast is out every Monday and covers the Premier League, Champions League and, basically, all the big, interesting news stories from the world of football. Mina Rzouki hosts this week, give it a wee spin.
PSG bringing the noise
Starting lineups - Daniel Sturridge starts!
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Keita; Salah, Mane, Sturridge
Well. That's a strange one but probably to be expected. Roberto Firmino has a little eye injury which he'd do well to rest.
PSG aren't taking any prisoners tonight. Full strength! It looks like a 4-2-3-1 to me, with Neymar as a 10.
Areola, Meunier, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Rabiot, Marquinhos, Di María, Mbappe, Cavani, Neymar
Some PSG fans making their way calmly to Anfield
A fine day out for all the lads and ladies of Paris.
The Chaaaaaaaaampions League is back
And what a game to start with! It's Tuesday night, all the stars are on show and Europe's most elite competition has kicked off... at 5:55pm.
Personally, I love the new time schedules for this season's Champions League but it might not work for everyone in the UK, especially those expected to work 9-6 like most seem to be. Just like Dolly Parton always wanted, eh? When did 9-6 become a thing? The internet was supposed to reduce working hours! And now football fans are trapped in an annoying commute as they race to get back to watch their side in the early game of the Champions League. But still, it's pretty great we get to properly focus on two matches a night now.
This game will need all your attention too. The two most prolific strike trios in Europe go head to head tonight and you'd think that'll guarantee us some goals...
Thomas Tuchel is new in the door at Paris though and Liverpool have a goalkeeper who understands the laws of physics and a defensive unit which actually works! What world even is this?
PSG should lineup in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with Neymar the focal point of everything clever. Kylian Mbappe will light up the English sky with some of his ludicrously quick running, helped by some hugely talented teammates. Tuchel likes a high pressing positional game, not unlike Pep Guardiola, and has been trying to implement in this side. It's early days yet and Ligue 1 competition hasn't caused too many problems so far this season... which could make this a night to remember for Liverpool.
Kick off is at the now-traditional 8pm tonight and you can follow all the build-up and action from the match with us here in this very liveblog.