Thomas Tuchel Suggests Neymar, Kylian Mbappe Will Be Fit for Liverpool UCL Clash

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 23, 2018

A combination made on November 21, 2018 shows a picture showing Brazil's striker Neymar (L) leaving the pitch injured, on November 20, 2018 in Milton and France's forward Kylian Mbappe holding his shoulder in pain after getting injured on November 20, 2018 in Saint-Denis. - Neymar and Mbappe could be an injury doubt for Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League clash with Liverpool next week after they both left the pitch injured during their respective international friendly matches on November 20, 2018. (Photo by Glyn KIRK and Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK,ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has predicted star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will be fit to face Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday despite their injury concerns.

Liverpool and Napoli are one point ahead of PSG in Group C with only two matches remaining, and Tuchel told the media on Friday that he felt the pair would be back for the visit of the Reds to the Parc des Princes, per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

Tuchel: "Today, I think that both Neymar & Kylian Mbappe will be able to play against Liverpool." #PSGTFC

Both players picked up knocks during the international break. Neymar strained his groin in a friendly against Cameroon, while Mbappe suffered a contusion of the shoulder against Uruguay.

PSG's 3-2 loss at Anfield in September is their only competitive defeat since Tuchel took over in the summer, and a fit duo of Neymar and Mbappe would greatly improve their chances of avenging that loss.

Mbappe was withdrawn after 30 minutes of France's 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay after he landed awkwardly on his shoulder following a clash with goalkeeper Martin Campana, via Sky Sports:

PSG are unbeaten in their 11 matches since falling to Jurgen Klopp's side in England, and they host Toulouse on Saturday hoping to continue their fine run in preparation for Liverpool.

However, Tuchel suggested neither player is likely to feature in their upcoming league fixture:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

Tuchel: "It is not too serious for Neymar & Kylian Mbappe, but we will take no risks against Toulouse. The possibility that they play against Liverpool exists." #PSGTFC

Defeat on Wednesday would spell the end of PSG's Champions League quest under Tuchel if Napoli also beat Red Star Belgrade in their penultimate pool game. 

Les Parisiens only briefly sat level with Liverpool at Anfield two months ago, and it was a late Mbappe strike that held them on equal terms shortly before Roberto Firmino bagged a dramatic, last-minute winner.

Mbappe doesn't turn 20 until next month, but he is already so essential to PSG. His partnership with Neymar, in particular, has started to blossom in the capital, as shown by Statman Dave:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Mbappé has assisted 3 of Neymar's Ligue 1 goals this season. No combination of assister-to-goalscorer have combined for more goals in Europe's top 5 leagues. 🇫🇷▶️🇧🇷 https://t.co/gVxZiTwbDJ

The Reds will undoubtedly fancy their chances more so against a PSG side sans Neymar or Mbappe rather than at full strength.

Tuchel has a talented crop of alternative attackers who could otherwise look to help striker Edinson Cavani, such as Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler, though there's a noticeable gulf in prestige between the options.

PSG are at a make-or-break moment in their campaign already and risk tumbling out of Europe's elite competition without their key men.