Liverpool will hope to gain a first-leg advantage as they host FC Porto in the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp has seen his Liverpool side maintain their chase of the Premier League title, with the Reds two points ahead of Manchester City, who have a game in hand. Now, the focus will turn towards the Champions League, where FC Porto await them.
FC Porto are in a similar predicament, tied on points with SL Benfica for the top spot in Liga NOS. The Portuguese giants have seldom found a chance to be in the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League, let alone the semis and will be looking to go on a run in the premier European competition.
Liverpool came through by beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena after a stalemate at Anfield. FC Porto, on the other hand, overcame a 2-1 deficit in the away leg to then win 4-3 on aggregate after a good result at home.
FC Porto’s last visit to Anfield in the Champions League yielded a 0-0 draw for the two teams, although it was more or less an inconsequential game, with the Portuguese giants having conceded 5 goals in the first leg. Jurgen Klopp will hope for a similar first-leg advantage for his Liverpool side this time around, especially with focus on the Premier League title race as well.
Team News & Tactics
Jurgen Klopp will continue to rotate his midfield as he did against Southampton. Jordan Henderson played a match-winning part coming on against Southampton and should start against FC Porto. Andrew Robertson’s suspension means James Milner will return to the back four, creating space in midfield, which should be filled by Fabinho.
The back four should not see any other changes apart from Milner coming in on the left. Georginio Wijnaldum should be the third man in midfield. Alternatively, Jordan Henderson played well when being allowed to take advanced positions on the field, which could see Naby Keita being handed a start.
We expect Klopp to be a bit conservative and keep Wijnaldum in the starting eleven.
In attack, we could see no changes, at least for the first leg, with Klopp hoping to drive home a good advantage in the home fixture itself. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will reprise their roles but we could see one or more of them come off early on in the second half to maintain fitness.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Milner; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Sergio Conceicao is in a bit of a bother as far as his key personnel is concerned. Pepe and Hector Herrera are suspended and will be big misses. But, Alex Telles being a doubt will be a massive concern for the Porto manager. The defender missed the weekend game and the manager will hope he can recover in time to start against Liverpool. Vincent Aboubakar is the only other absentee.
With Pepe not available, Eder Militao will come into a central position, making room for Maxi Pereira or Jesus Corona to be deployed at right-back. The Uruguayan is more attacking in nature and is likely to help FC Porto transition defence in attack in a better manner. Alex Telles should be fit enough to start on the left.
Jesus Corona has a good record in the Champions League this season and will take the field on the left side of the midfield, with Otavio on the right. Oliver Torres will come in for the suspended Hector Herrera and partner Danilo Pereira in central midfield.
Moussa Marega has been on fire in the Champions League this season and will look to add to his tally of 6 goals, with Tiquinho Soares his partner.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Casillas; Maxi Pereira, Militao, Felipe, Telles; Otavio, Danilo Pereira, Torres, Corona; Marega, Soares
1. Liverpool have lost just one match in all competitions this season at Anfield.
2. Liverpool have failed to register a clean sheet in any of their last 5 matches in all competitions but have kept three in four home matches in the Champions League this season.
3. FC Porto have kept just one clean sheet in the 2018-19 Champions League.
4. Liverpool are yet to score a Champions League goal from outside the box this season (12 goals).
5. Moussa Marega has scored in six consecutive Champions League matches this season.
Player to Watch
Many have stated that the former Real Madrid star is a shadow of his former self. While that might be partly true, Casillas will be keen to prove his doubters wrong and show he still has it in the bag. Up against a feared attacking trio, Casillas will definitely be tested by Liverpool.
The Reds humiliated Porto last season in the Champions League and it might be down to Casillas to prevent a similar number of goals being scored this time around.
Liverpool FC 2-1 FC Porto
Jurgen Klopp has seen his side sneak in victories recently, despite looking their best on the pitch. While that bodes well for the Premier League title race, it also means that Porto will fancy their chances of having a go at Anfield. The Portuguese giants will look to attack the defence, which has shown a bit of let-up in their shape of late.
The Reds should sneak in another win, owing to their record at Anfield. But, Porto should get one away goal to set the stage for an enticing second leg in the Quarter-Final tie.