Champions League Preview: Can Porto Surprise Jurgen Klopp’s Reds?
FC Porto are in strong determination to take revenge on Liverpool as they have a score to settle with the Anfield side.
Liverpool vs Porto is undoubtedly an exciting game to watch where both sides would be fighting for a win. Liverpool are playing their first knockout game in the Champions League after nine years, taking on FC Porto in their last sixteen first leg clash this week.
The Champions League have in itself a high level of ecstasy, and the match between these two heavy-weights will undoubtedly increase the euphoria, and one can expect plenty of goals in this clash.
Sergio Conceicao’s sides are unbeaten in 20 Premier Liga games so far this season – 16 wins and four draws. Currently, FC Porto are one point below the League Leaders Benfica with two games in hand.
The Dragons are on a hunt for a domestic double and are evidently brewing with confidence. Their last six matches have seen them winning the five games and drawing one with no defeats.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have won four out of their last seven matches with two losses and a draw. The Reds will be looking for a change in their line-up after their recent star player Phillipe Coutinho being sold off to Barcelona while Emre Can is suspended for this mouthwatering clash.
Coutinho is a great player and when he left that put a greater responsibility on everyone else to perform but it is our job to deal with that responsibility.
The Reds progressed to the knockout round finishing as group leaders unbeaten (W3 D3), while Porto finished second in the group stage (W3 L2 D1).
With Liverpool carrying the more significant threat, especially in attack, they will most likely be able to secure a win. Over the years the level of Portuguese football has seen a degrade in sublime quality. The leagues do not have household names anymore, and now it is even hard for people to name Porto’s three players that used to be a different case before a few years.
Liverpool are quite a little lack-luster in their defense, but with their attacking players, they will be looking forward to counter-attack Porto ruthlessly.
The meetings between these two sides all happened within last two decade. There have been altogether four games between these teams with Liverpool winning two matches, and the rest two games saw both sides unable to secure a victory.
The first encounter between these sides was on 08 March 2001 where they played goalless draw. Following the UEFA cup, the teams again met on 15 March 2001 where Liverpool won with a 2 -0 scoreline. Another clash between these teams happened in 2007 when it remained 1-1 after the full-time whistle in the first leg. The second leg saw Liverpool with a victory of 4-1 over Porto.
UEFA Champions League Squad Change
In: YordanOsorio, GonçaloPaciencia, Majeed Waris
Out: Joao Costa, Jorge Fernandes, Hernani, Miguel Layun, Ruben Macedo, Federico Varela
Felipe is serving a one-match ban in the first leg; Andre Andre and Danilo will incur a suspension with their next bookings.
In: Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings, Virgil van Dijk
Out: Philippe Coutinho, Jon Flanagan, Marko Grujic, Daniel Sturridge
Emre Can serves a one-game suspension in the first leg; Alberto Moreno is a booking away from a ban.
Key Players to Watch
The Dragons have their responsibilities shouldered upon their star man Vincent Aboubakar. The Cameroon international has scored five goals in the group stages in his five appearances for the club. Aboubakar has 26 goals in all competition this season and has been working hard to increase his figures.
In addition to the Cameroon international, the likes of Jesus Corona, a fleet-footed Mexican forward, marauding left-back Alex Telles and Yacine Brahimi, their super-talented Algerian player, have many admirers across Europe.
Danilo, who has played excellently this season, will most likely miss the first leg match between Liverpool with an injury.
Mohammed Salah will be the key player for Liverpool as he has been enjoying an excellent run of form. The renowned striker has 28 goals in all competition. A leading competitor of top scorers in the Premier League, the inform Liverpool talisman Salah, has 22 goals to his name. In the Champions League, the striker boasts five goals in his six appearances for the club.
Beside Salah, SadioMané will also be a star turner in this game. The player has three goals and an assist with his name in the Champions League. He will be the primary provider of goals to the Liverpool side, and his playing will definitely bring a boost to the Reds in securing a victory.
Porto vs Liverpool Key Stats
Porto vs Liverpool lineup (Predicted XI)
Porto Lineup (4-5-1)
GK: Jose Sa
Def: Ricardo (RB), Ivan Marcano (CB), Felipe (CB), Alex Telles (LB)
Mid: Hector Herrera (CM) Danilo Pereira (DM) Andre (CM) Brahimi (CAM) Marega (CM)
Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Def: Moreno (RB), Klavan (CB), Lovren (CB), Gomez (LB)
Mid: Chamberlain (CM), Milner (CM), Wijnaldum (CM)
Porto vs Liverpool Prediction
Liverpool start off with a threat to Porto and is apparently the favorites, but with the form that Porto have, it will be a highly competitive match. We can expect goals in the enthralling game between the two sides.
Goals should come from both sides, and we predict the result would be a 1-1 draw.