After 115 days of waiting, the UEFA Champions League returns this week with a new group stage kicking off throughout Europe. Defending champs Real Madrid will begin their quest for another European crown as they open up play against AS Roma on Wednesday.
However, the headlining match on Match Day One comes from Merseyside as Liverpool hosts PSG in Group C play. Plenty of attacking talent will be on display as two of the top offenses duke it out at Anfield. Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe will look to lead their teams to important wins in a tough group.
Elsewhere, AS Monaco welcomes Atletico Madrid to town in Group A action, while Barcelona hosts PSV. Manchester City will entertain Lyon at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, while Los Blancos faces Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s Champions League action:
Liverpool vs. Paris Saint Germain
(Tuesday, 3 p.m. TNT)
Injuries of Note: Roberto Firmino’s status remains doubtful for the Reds, while Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke will miss out after picking up knocks over the weekend. Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana are also sidelined for the EPL side. Gianluigi Buffon is expected to be PSG’s only absentee due to suspension.
Key to the Game: Both sides poses dangerous attacks which means the backlines will have a busy evening ahead of them. Defender Juan Bernat will have his work cut out for him as he lines up across Mohamed Salah. Liverpool will look to use speed on the wings in attack, while PSG tries to attack through the middle of the field.
Player to Watch: Kylian Mbappe is fully-rested for PSG after missing his side’s league fixture on Friday due to suspension. The French star has four goals and two assist in three matches this season.
Quote: “Paris are one of the favorites for the competition, for sure,” Jurgen Klopp said. “This team is built for winning the Champions League. They have unbelievable quality.”
AS Monaco vs. Atletico Madrid
(Tuesday, 3 p.m. UniMas)
Injuries of Note: Atletico has four injury concerns for this match with left-back Lucas Hernandez (gastric) headlining the list. Vitolo (knee), Santiago Arias (rib), and Nikola Kalinic (ankle) are also questionable. Monaco will be without starting keeper Danijel Subasic who has yet to play this season. Also slated to miss out is Aleksandr Golovin, Rony Lopes, Pietro Pellegri, and Andrea Raggi.
Key to the Game: Two very opposite sides will do battle for the first time at the Stade Louis II. Atletico, known for their stubborn defense, will look to own possession against the hosts. Monaco will look to use their height on aerial balls and set pieces, with several tall players on the roster.
Player to Watch: It will be a reunion for Monaco striker Radamel Falcao who spent two seasons with the club from 2013-15′. The Colombian has scored twice in Ligue 1 play, and is a well-rounded forward who has what it takes to beat this Atletico defense.
Quote: “As for Radamel I have many memories of him, I love him very much,” Diego Simeone said. “Monaco has always had to reinvent itself each year by the highs and lows and that speaks very well of the coach who has managed to make the team competitive.”
Real Madrid vs. Roma
(Wednesday, 3 p.m. TNT)
Injuries of Note: Roma defender Kostas Manolas is questionable to miss after picking up an injury on international duty with Greece. Patrick Schick and Javier Pastore are doubtful. Real Madrid have a full squad available for this showdown.
Key to the Game: Real Madrid are the heavy favorites and will need to keep Roma on the backfoot to win this match. Roma has been known to struggle under pressure, so offensively the Serie A side needs to throw players upfield and hold possession.
Player to Watch: Gareth Bale has scored three goals for Real Madrid so far, and his added two assists as well. The Welshman provides a deadly left foot and will be hard for Roma to quiet down.
Quote: “We will measure ourselves with the best team in the competition,” Francesco Totti said. “I will not say if we have to play with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 because in the end that has little importance.”
Manchester City vs. Lyon
(Wednesday, 3 p.m. UniMas)
Injuries of Note: Sergio Aguero (ankle) and Benjamin Mendy (knee) are both doubts for Manchester City, while Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo remain long-term absentees. Lyon have no injury concerns as they travel to the Etihad.
Key to the Game: Wing play will be huge for both sides and truly who wins that battle will win this match. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling will be opposed by Memphis Depay and Bertrand Traore. The nod goes to City but Lyon could very well park the bus against the dangerous EPL attack.
Player to Watch: Nabil Fekir was close to a move to the Premier League, but the French midfielder chose to stay with Lyon. At 25, Fekir still has a lot to prove and already has a goal in league play this season.
Quote: “Last season we scored 106 goals, the best ever, so there are no doubts about our ability to score goals,” Pep Guardiola said. “The important thing is to create chances, to create to be in there half of the field.”
Here’s all of the other UCL group stage matches this week:
Barcelona vs. PSV – 12:55 p.m., TNT
Inter Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur – 12:55 p.m., UniMas
Club Brugge vs. Borussia Dortmund – 3 p.m.
Red Star Belgrade vs. Napoli – 3 p.m.
Galatasaray vs. Lokomotiv Moscow – 3 p.m.
Schalke vs. FC Porto – 3 p.m.
Ajax vs. AEK Athens – 12:55 p.m. TNT
Valencia vs. Juventus – 3 p.m. UniMas
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Hoffenheim – 12:55 p.m.
Benfica vs. Bayern Munich – 3 p.m.
Viktoria Plzen vs. CSKA Moscow – 3 p.m.
Young Boys vs. Manchester United – 3 p.m.