PSG prepares for Liverpool with Saint-Etienne thrashing

              PSG players celebrate their 4-0 win after their French League One soccer match between Paris-Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain’s margin is so big that the reigning champions don’t even need Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to thrash rival French teams.

PSG got ready for next week’s Champions League opener at Liverpool with a 4-0 win over Saint-Etienne at the Parc des Princes on Friday, extending its perfect record to five league games.

Mbappe served the first of his three-match ban while Neymar was rested by coach Thomas Tuchel after playing with Brazil in a friendly game against El Salvador midweek in the United States.

Without his two star players, Tuchel gave Julian Draxler a start, a move that paid off as the German international put the hosts in front with a header in the 22nd minute after a long pass by Marco Verrati.

Edinson Cavani made it 2-0 in the 51st after being fouled in the area for his third goal this season, and Angel Di Maria added the third near the end with a powerful left-footed shot from a tight angle. Substitute forward Moussa Diaby completed the win with his first goal in the top tier in the 84th.

PSG handed 10-time champion Saint-Etienne its first loss this season and extended its lead over second-placed Dijon to six points. Dijon hosts Angers on Saturday.

Tuchel, who was appointed this summer as a replacement for Unai Emery, set a new club record by becoming the first coach to win his five opening league matches in his first season.

Earlier, Nice defeated Rennes 2-1 with goals by Allan Saint-Maximin and Pierre Lees-Melou.