Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Paris St Germain and Liverpool FC at the Parc des Princes on November 28, 2018 in Paris, France(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Champions League: 6 Key Men Who Must Step Up for Their Side on Matchday Six

The last round of Champions League group stage fixtures is upon us this week, as many of Europe's elite brace themselves for their fate as the continent's premier footballing competition ends its preliminary stage.


For some, it's a case of nailing down that first-place finish, and the accompanying seeded spot in the last-16 draw. For others, more crucially, it's sink or swim time, as one match will determine whether or not they make it into the next round.


Here are six clubs who have the most to play for on the last day - and the big-game players they need to show up in order to succeed.

1. Liverpool - Mohamed Salah

Liverpool find themselves in a peculiar situation ahead of their match with Napoli on Tuesday. If they concede a goal, they will have to score at least three to advance, as only a win by 1-0 or two clear goals will give them any chance of making the latter stages of the tournament. 


That is where Mohamed Salah comes in, fresh off his hat-trick against Bournemouth at the weekend. He's very much back in form, and he's the big-game player who represents Liverpool's best chance of progression should they find themselves needing to rack up the goals. 

2. Manchester United - Paul Pogba

United have already booked their place in the last 16, but given that they have the head-to-head advantage over Juventus, should they overcome Valencia and the Italians fail to beat Young Boys, then Jose Mourinho's men will advance as group winners. 


They'll want to maximise their chances of that eventuality, and Paul Pogba turning in a high-calibre performance would go a long way to doing that, given how influential he can be at his best. 

3. Inter - Mauro Icardi

Inter will book a place in the last 16 if they beat PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham fail to conquer Barcelona at Camp Nou, but they will know they can only focus on holding up their end. 


Step forward Mauro Icardi, who has had a signature blistering start to the 2018/19 season with 11 goals in 17 games - three from five in the Champions League.


They'll need him to carry that form into Tuesday's showdown with Eredivisie leaders PSV, who have proven they are a sturdy opponent for anyone in their Champions League campaign.

4. Manchester City - David Silva

In Kevin de Bruyne's absence, David Silva has stepped up and made himself, somehow, a more important player than he was before.


The Premier League champions might have a stranglehold on Group F as things stand, but Lyon could nick top spot if City slip up and lose to Hoffenheim, and they win against Shakhtar.


Given his vast experience, Silva will understand as well as anyone the importance of winning the group and securing that seeded place in the draw - and his side might well need him to make sure it happens. 

5. PSG - Kylian Mbappe

PSG need a win to absolutely guarantee their place in the last 16. Given just how potent their attack has been so far this season, and that they're playing Red Star Belgrade, it could be a pretty tough match from the Serbs' perspective. 


Central to that attacking prowess is Kylian Mbappe, European football's new golden boy, who has 14 goals in 16 appearances for the French champions so far this season - a better goals-to-games ratio than either Neymar or Edinson Cavani.


If he turns up anywhere near his best, then PSG shouldn't have too many issues in booking their place in the knockout stages. 

6. Tottenham - Christian Eriksen

Spurs are faced with the small task of matching or bettering Inter's result against PSV if they are to advance to the last 16 - but they have to do so at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, which isn't ideal. 


Getting the supply to Harry Kane will be central to any hopes of overcoming the La Liga champions, and to that end they desperately need the creativity of the likes of Christian Eriksen at his best. 


When he's on it, Eriksen can unlock any defence and embarrass any midfield, so he will be vitally important for Spurs' promotion hopes.