Porto face tall task to overturn first leg deficit against Liverpool


After last Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over FC Porto, Liverpool take a healthy advantage over to Portugal. The tie is firmly in control of the Premier League heavyweights as they look to secure their passage to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

When at the Estádio do Dragão last time out the game ended 5-0, so there is hope that there is more in store for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they seek to get back to the final for a second straight season. A feat no English team has achieved since Manchester United in 2008 and 2009.

History is also on the English team’s side as they haven’t lost to Porto in Portugal when playing in a European competition drawing two and winning the last time. Not to mention the reds have won ten of their previous 14 European Cup quarter-finals.

Liverpool come into the game off the back of an important win over Chelsea, in winning that match it meant the English side have continued their unbeaten run to 16 matches.

Porto did bounce back from their loss to Liverpool by beating Portimonense 3-0 as goals from Yacine Brahimi, Moussa Marega and Hector Herrera completed the victory which leaves them level with SL Benfica in the battle for the title.

As Sérgio Conceição’s side have never beaten the English outfit they are going to have to rely on the belief that they want it more than last year’s finalists as well as calling back to how previous sides did it to cause one of the upsets of the tournament.

Though with Iker Casillas in the net, the chances of the reigning LIGA NOS champions causing an upset doubles as with the Spaniard has the most clean sheets in the competition’s history with 59. Since joining his current side, Casillas has kept eight clean sheets in Europe, including the 2016-2017 qualifying campaign where they beat AS Roma.

If FC Porto were to progress to the Semi-Finals of this season’s tournament it would be the first time since that famous 2003-2004 winning campaign which saw Jose Mourinho lead the team to glory. Of Course, everyone knows that Liverpool got to the final losing 3-1 to Real Madrid last campaign.

Conceição whose manager of the Portuguese side spoke about the difficulties in playing Liverpool:

“I like the way Liverpool play. Sometimes, they are the best team in the world,” he said. “The technical team will establish the game plan, then it’s up to the players to put it into action. They are responsible for everything good that has happened so far.

“We have to work for defensive organisation and we are 100 per cent focused and aware of what our opponents are doing. It is not difficult to analyse Liverpool, but it is difficult to counteract because they have so much individual and collective quality. They’re great.

“There is no greater motivation than to be competing in a quarter-final and to make a historical turnaround.

“We have a two-goal deficit to make up against a very strong team who are quick on the break. Getting the attacking balance right is fundamental.”

Klopp issued a warning to his side via the club’s website:

“It’s clear, 2-0, what would we do? That’s the simplest question to ask, we should go for everything. If we were 2-0 down and going into the home leg, would we think we were out? No way. That’s exactly what Porto are thinking.

“They always have a high intense game in the highest intense atmosphere. From the first kick they will go with a clear direction.

“We can compare it a little bit to the City game last year when we were 3-0 up and everybody thought, ‘halfway through’ or whatever.

“We go there to win the game, that’s the plan. It’s not easy, we know that, but we should not think about anything else because that’s always the aim.”

The hosts will be in a stronger position for this second leg. Captain Hector Herrera and defender Pepe will both return to the team following serving a suspension that meant they missed the last leg.

Liverpool will be missing defender Dejan Lovern (illness) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the later getting very close to his return to senior football following a year hiatus from the sport following a knee injury.

There is good news for the away side though as both Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson could feature in this match. Though there is doubt’s on captain Jordan Henderson’s fitness as the midfielder was forced off in the Anfield sides 2-0 win over Chelsea with an ankle injury, he will make the trip and face a fitness test ahead of the game.

For the hosts Francisco Soares has put the ball in the back of the net the most as the Brazilian has 20 goals this season, behind him is their UEFA Champions League top scorer Marega he has 18 after his goal at the weekend.

After his wondergoal against Chelsea at the weekend, Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s leading goal scorer with 22 goals and he is the joint scorer in Europe for the reds with Sadio Mane on three at the moment.


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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here: https://twitter.com/BrandonPrangell

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