Liverpool face FC Porto in a re-run of last year’s round of 16 tie


Liverpool host Porto in what will be the seventh time that the two have ever met as either side look to take an advantage into the second leg of their Quarter-Final in Portugal.

History isn’t in the away sides favour as they have never beaten the Reds drawing three times including the last time the two met as the then round of 16 competitors drew 0-0 at Anfield.

Of course, prior to that the English side scored all of their five goals that would send them through to the Quarter-Finals of last year’s competition as Liverpool reached the final last season losing against Real Madrid after a round of 16 win at the Estádio do Dragão.

The hosts go into this first leg with it being the third time in ten seasons that the English side have made the last eight, back in the 2008-2009 season the Merseyside club lost 7-5 to Chelsea in what would be their first Quarter-Final appearance during the last ten years until they beat Manchester City 5-1 over two legs to progress to the Semi-Finals and then final in last year’s competition.

Their Portuguese counterparts match the English side on the number of times in the last ten seasons that they have reached the Quarter-Finals. Coincidentally, like Liverpool, Porto were one of the remaining eight sides in the 2008-2009 campaign they lost 3-2 to Manchester United and have since only remained in the last eight on one more occasion prior to this tie.

The last time this was achieved was five seasons ago in the 2014-2015 campaign but again this would be where the 28-time Primeira Liga champions journey would end as they lost in the second leg of against German giants Bayern Munich. Despite winning the first leg 3-1, Porto would get knocked out after losing 6-1 in the second leg which meant the game ended with Munich winning 7-4 on aggregate.

Liverpool go into the game having remained unbeaten in the last 14 matches which has seen the English club beat Watford 5-0, while they overpowered Munich in the last round of the Champions League and recently beat Tottenham at home. This run has seen them be contenders for the title for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.

Even though Manchester City have a game in hand over their bitter title contenders, Liverpool’s continual ability to come from behind to win games sees them going into this game top of the league with two points ahead of City with five games to go.

As for the away side they are in their own title battle as they are currently joint leaders with SL Benfica as they both have 69 points which is seven ahead of next best side Sporting CP. Porto, however, haven’t been as fortunate as their English opponents in their recent form as they lost a crucial match to the earlier mentioned Benfica.

That loss was their first in the league though and doesn’t really complicate their title run with their rivals, however losing the match after having a one nil grasp over the game would have dented their confidence, they have been back to winning ways with five wins in six games.

So far this season Liverpool squeezed through Group C on the final match of the group after they beat fellow challengers Napoli 1-0 to secure passage into the knockout stage, while last round they drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich at Anfield before winning 3-1 in Germany.

FC Porto cruised through to the knockout stages getting a possible 16 points out of 18 matches in a group containing FC Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow. They did, however, face trouble in the round of 16 as they lost 2-1 to AS Roma in Italy, it took an Alex Telles penalty in extra-time of the second leg to send the Portuguese side through.

The problem for the away side is that they have failed to win any of their last 12 away knockout games, with their last being a 1-0 win over Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna back in May 2004.

Jurgen Klopp stated his side are in a great position at the moment:

“The future could be ours – maybe not ours alone, but we could have a hand. We feel in a good moment. We feel that each of our players is fantastic. We are on fire

“In training you can see we are really in a good moment, but other teams are as well. We all play for a lot.”

Porto boss Sérgio Conceição spoke about Liverpool’s home form and the difference in budgets between his side and Liverpool:

“I have confidence in my players and in the strategy, we use, but let’s face it, Liverpool, are a very strong team at home.

“They are a very powerful team playing against them we are going to have difficulties as their team has a budget that is four times higher than that of FC Porto, but we do not look at it, we look at it from day to day and from quality. and to study as many fragilities as possible.”

The hosts will have to be without Scottish left-back Andy Robertson as he is suspended for this tie meaning Klopp will have to choose between James Milner or Alberto Moreno to fill the void left by the fan favourite.

Klopp’s side only have one injury concern for this one and it is that midfielder Adam Lallana is a doubt for this first Champions League leg as a minor muscle injury meant he did not play former side Southampton on Friday.

Conceição has a serious selection problem as defender Pepe and captain Hector Herrera are both suspended with the Portuguese side already stretched meaning he has only 16 fit outfield players for this European tie.

Left-back Alex Telles could return to the FC Porto line up for the first time since injuring his right hip while taking the winning penalty which put his side through in the last round around a month ago.

Mohamed Salah is yet again this season Liverpool’s top goal scorer as the Egyptian has netted 21 times for his side and is currently joint top scorer in the Champions League with Sadio Mane on three.

Francisco Soares leads the list for scoring the most goals for the LIGA NOS side as he has scored 20 times for his side, while Moussa Marega second in the charts with 17. Marega is the joint second top scorer in the Champions League and has scored in six consecutive UEFA Champions League matches.


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