Roberto Firmino came off the bench to strike deep into stoppage time and hand Liverpool a deserved 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League cracker at Anfield on Tuesday.
Daniel Sturridge and a James Milner penalty put last season’s finalists in command before Thomas Meunier reduced PSG’s arrears before half-time.
Having kept Kylian Mbappe and the world’s most expensive player Neymar quiet for almost the entire match, Liverpool seemed set to pay a heavy price for one slack pass by Mohamed Salah as Mbappe swept home seven minutes from time in front of a stunned Kop.
But Firmino, who started on the bench due to an eye injury suffered against Tottenham in the win at Wembley on Saturday, had the final say as he twisted and turned before firing into the far corner to stretch Liverpool’s perfect start to the season to six games.
Earlier in the evening, Barcelona got their campaign off to a flying start as captain Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in a four-goal rout of PSV Eindhoven.
Messi’s sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area nestled in the top corner, exactly where he was intended, to calm the nerves at the packed Camp Nou.
TRAAAAAACAAAAAA !!!! pic.twitter.com/mjbJBSTXWs
— Gerard Romero (@gerardromero) September 18, 2018
Though PSV were hardly outplayed as Barca didn’t really get into third gear, the game was up after 75 minutes thanks to a superb strike from the excellent Ousmane Dembele.
Messi drilled home his second from within the area after a lofted ball from Ivan Rakitic, and despite a red card to Samuel Umtiti for a second yellow card, the incomparable Messi completed his treble for a 4-0 win.
The Argentine talisman pictured himself hoisting the trophy next summer, and as the Champions League anthem held the world in thrall for the first time this season – he had the last word at the Camp Nou, after he had also had the first.