The final bout of Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain during an exciting meeting at the opening night of the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, after Lionel Messi's latest hat-trick gave Barcelona a winning start.
There were dramatic late goals in Europe, including for Inter Milan against Tottenham Hotspur, and winning starts for some of the leading contenders, with Atletico Madrid competing to defeat Monaco.
But the heavyweight meeting of the night was at Anfield and the group C-match between the defeated finalists of last season and the ambitious PSG met expectations.
Liverpool was rewarded for their excellent start because they had scored two goals after 36 minutes, Daniel Sturridge got the opener before James Milner scored a penalty.
But the French champions got the team back before the break by Thomas Meunier – the goal was allowed to remain, despite Edinson Cavani being sidelined in the build-up.
The two most expensive players in the world then combined for the 83rd-minute equalizer that seemed to tie PSG into a draw, Neymar helped Kylian Mbappe to score.
However, those two had not played well yet and Mbappe was beaten the winner in the second minute of the injury time just before Firmino came in as the replacement.
"I can not say enough good things about Bobby." "Getting off the bench after his weekend injury is unbelievable," said Klopp from Firmino, who was nailed in the eye by Jan Vertonghen at Spurs weekend.
PSG now follows Red Star Belgrade, which marked its return to the big time with a 0-0 draw against Napoli.
The beautiful free kick from Messi
UEFA has introduced a handful of previous kick-offs this season in every Champions League-midweek and it was still light at the Camp Nou when Barcelona started in group B with PSV Eindhoven.
Messi has made clear his determination to go all the way through Europe this season and the Argentinian scored the first goal of the group stage 2018-19 from a brilliant free kick of the first half.
Barca ran off with the game in the second half, with Ousmane Dembele scoring a stunner before Messi added two more to complete his eighth Champions League hat-trick, a more than Cristiano Ronaldo, and a 4-0 win.
"Messi makes the extraordinary routine," said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, whose side had let Samuel Umtiti leave late.
The Spanish champions then go to London to face Tottenham Hotspur, who suffered a 2-1 injury at Inter Milan.
After losing their last two Premier League-games, Spurs was on its way to a welcome victory via Christian Eriksen's second half-opener, who entered via a poor defense.
But Mauro Icardi's brilliant late-volley brought the hosts on a level and Matias Vecino headed in a stoppage-time winner for Inter, back in the Champions League for the first time since 2011-12.
"We suffer a little, but that is no excuse," said Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
After winning the Europa League last season, Atletico Madrid focuses on Champions League-glory with the final to be played in their own stadium.
They started their campaign by beating Monaco 2-1 in Group A, Diego Costa and Jose Maria Gimenez got their goal after Samuel Grandsir placed the hosts in front.
In the same group, Christian Pulisic celebrated his 20th anniversary in style by scoring a fortunate late goal that Borussia Dortmund gave a 1-0 win for Club Brugge.
The bitter competitor of Dortmund, Schalke, started with a 1-1 tie against FC Porto in an eventful Group D meeting.
Breel gave Embolo the German team a second half lead and shot past Iker Casillas, who has now played in a record time of 20 separate seasons in the Champions League.
That was after Alex Telles saved an early penalty for the visitors. But Porto, who won the Champions League in Schalke & # 39; s Gelsenkirchen stadium in 2004, came in second when Otavio later made a new penalty.
In the meantime, Garry Rodrigues and Eren Derdiyok secured an equal score and Selcuk Inan scored a penalty, as Galatasaray Lokomotiv beat Moscow 3-0 in Istanbul.