Neymar faces fitness race ahead of PSG’s crucial Champions League clash in Belgrade – and that could boost Liverpool’s chances of progression
- Neymar could miss Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade
- PSG would suffer KO if they lose in Belgrade and Liverpool beat Napoli
- They could go into vital match without their talisman due to groin injury
- Neymar did not return to training as expected on Sunday, 48 hours before game
Paris Saint-Germain are sweating on Neymar’s fitness ahead of their crucial Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade.
PSG will qualify for the knockout stages if they win in Serbia on Tuesday night but they could be without their star forward, who did not return to training as expected on Sunday following his latest groin injury.
If Liverpool beat Napoli at Anfield and PSG lose in Belgrade then the French champions will be eliminated from the competition and drop into the Europa League.
Neymar is facing a fight to be fit for PSG’s Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade
Neymar hobbled out of PSG’s draw at Bordeaux eight days ago and PSG boss Thomas Tuchel has been bullish about the injury, saying it is ‘not serious’. He set a timetable for Neymar to return to full training last Friday or Saturday, but the player did not train even though the session was put back until Sunday, according to ESPN.
Should Neymar not be fit to play, Tuchel would still be able to call on Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler in attack but the team would be without their talisman in what is sure to be a hostile atmosphere. Liverpool, last season’s beaten finalists, lost 2-0 in Belgrade last month, although PSG beat Red Star 6-1 at home.
The Brazilian superstar hobbled out of PSG’s draw at Bordeaux earlier this month
He suffered a groin injury and has not yet returned to training as he had been expected to
Neymar now faces a race to prove his fitness, with the squad flying to Serbia on Monday before the game the following night.
Meanwhile, Draxler has said that Neymar is so good that he can play anywhere he wants on the pitch, and that his job is to make sure the Brazilian has the ball as much as possible.
‘We know that Neymar has great skills,’ Draxler told Goal. ‘He’s a great player, so we try to find him everywhere on the pitch. If he plays on the left side we try to find him on the left side, if he plays as No 10 we try to find him in the centre.
‘You know he doesn’t really care in which position he plays, because he tries to be everywhere on the pitch.’
‘Of course if you have a player like him you have to give him the ball. That’s also kind of my role at the moment.’