Big Match Focus: Liverpool v FC Porto


Liverpool will be looking to put on another show when they welcome FC Porto to Anfield on Tuesday for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

UEFA Champions League
7 March 2018
Round of 16, second leg
Kick-off: 03H45 HKT
Venue: Anfield

Referee: F. Zwayer
Assistants: T. Schiffner, M. Achmuller
Fourth official: R. Foltyn

Head-to-head summary

Liverpool 5 3 2 0
FC Porto 5 0 2 3

Previous encounter

FC Porto 0-5 Liverpool 14/02/2018 (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool goalscorers: S. Mane (25′, 53′, 85′), M. Salah (29′), R. Firmino (69′)

Players to watch

Any one of the Reds’ attacking trident have the ability to hurt Porto as was witnessed in Portugal when Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all got on the scoresheet in a 5-0 rout. The trio have contributed 19 goals between them in Europe alone this term.

Salah continues to amaze after scoring in each of his last seven matches across all competitions, which sees him keeping pace with Tottenham ace Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot – both have bagged 24 goals in the Premier League.

The Dragons need their best players to stand a chance of causing the unlikeliest of upsets in midweek, but Tiquinho will miss out, while there are doubts over the fitness of Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega.

All three players have been amongst the goals this season, with Aboubakar and Marega both on 20, while Tiquinho has notched nine.

Team form and manager quotes

Jurgen Klopp’s side thrashed the Primeira Liga leaders 5-0 in the first leg at Estadio Do Dragao, where Sadio Mane led the way with a hat-trick.

The Reds carried that form over into the Premier League as they beat West Ham (4-1) and Newcastle (2-0) to move up to second in the standings.

They are now six games unbeaten in all competitions since suffering back-to-back defeats against Swansea (1-0) and West Brom (3-2) in the league and FA Cup respectively.

Klopp is expecting a big response from the Dragons in the second leg after admitting his team took their chances in Portugal while the hosts didn’t.

“We were very effective, but Porto are a fantastic team and the Portuguese league is a fantastic league,” the German said in his pre-match press conference.

“We won 5-0, yes, but only because we scored with virtually every chance we had. If we hadn’t, and if Porto had scored their two chances, the result would have been different.

“I would want to see a real reaction from my team if I was the boss of Porto. I fully expect a reaction from them. We will have to play very, very well to win the game.”

Sergio Conceicao’s troops appear to have shrugged off the European hammering after they embarked on a five-match winning streak in the league to open up a five-point gap on the chasing pack.

They netted 15 times during that good run while only conceding three, with both Tiquinho (five) and Moussa Marega (four) in a rich vein of goal-scoring form ahead of the trip to Merseyside.

Conceicao is calling for a big push from his players to save some face in what is likely to be their final outing in Europe for the campaign.

“We’re a competitive team, a team that always looks to score goals and play in a balanced way. In Portugal we’ve got the best defence and the best attack. Tomorrow we’ll need both those attributes, but we need to be more consistent than we were in the first leg,” he told the press on Monday.

“The five-goal margin is not a true reflection of the difference in quality between the two teams. They were incredibly effective in front of goal in the first leg, but things could have gone differently. We want to get a much better result tomorrow.”

Team news

Klopp confirmed he will make a few changes to his starting line-up, with a possible eye on Saturday’s clash with fierce rivals Manchester United.

But there is still no place in the matchday squad for either Georginio Wijnaldum or Ben Woodburn as they continue to recover from illness.

Vincent Aboubakar missed the first leg through injury and the FC Porto striker remains doubtful to feature in England.

The visitors will also check on the fitness of Marega and Ricardo, but they must do without Alex Telles, Danilo and Tiquinho.