Liverpool take a 2-0 lead with them to Porto on Wednesday, with Jurgen Klopp‘s men looking for a drama-free route into the Champions League semi-finals.
Porto vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – 8pm (BST)
Estadio do Dragao
Champions League Quarter-Final, Second Leg
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
What an extraordinary Reds side we are watching.
Their level of consistency and quality is like nothing seen since the 1980s and they still have a chance of producing one of the greatest seasons in the club’s history.
Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea was another seismic result in a thrilling campaign, responding to Man City admirably and returning to the Premier League summit.
The big matches keep coming thick and fast, with Wednesday’s trip to Portugal the next chapter in Liverpool’s latest European journey.
The win at Anfield last Tuesday felt relatively serene, but there is still work to do if Klopp’s men are to reach a third European semi-final in four seasons.
Porto will still be stinging from last season’s 5-0 humiliation at Estadio do Dragao and they should be a different proposition this time around.
The Reds will likely have to fend off some early pressure from the hosts, but one away goal will leave them needing to score four, which would surely be too much.
Liverpool go into the game as second-favourites to win the Champions League, outlining what a force they have become with Klopp at the helm.
An exit at the hands of Porto would be a huge shock, and as long as sloppiness doesn’t creep in a mouthwatering semi-final meeting with either Barcelona or Man United should await later this month.
The prospect of facing one of those two should be enough to keep Klopp and his players as focused as possible.
Andy Robertson missed the first leg through suspension, but the left-back will return to the side on Wednesday evening.
Dejan Lovren has not made the 21-man squad because of illness, as the centre-back’s constant unavailability continues to be an issue, but Adam Lallana returns.
There are no other fitness concerns for Klopp, however, who may just think about rejigging his team slightly in order to keep his players fresh.
James Milner is always an option at right-back if Trent Alexander-Arnold is given the night off, with the veteran’s versatility priceless.
Or the fit-again Joe Gomez could even make a first appearance since December.
Gini Wijnaldum has been rested for the last two matches so it would be a surprise if he didn’t return to the fold, perhaps at the expense of Jordan Henderson.
There is the option of leaving out one of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in order to ease their workload, risky though it may be.
Divock Origi has been effective from the substitutes’ bench of late and could come in, with Xherdan Shaqiri also pushing for a rare start.
Porto have no new injury problems from the first leg, but key duo Pepe and Hector Herrera are back after serving suspensions at Anfield.
Liverpool Squad vs. Porto
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Mignolet, Kelleher
Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Moreno
Midfielders: Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Wijnaldum, Milner, Lallana
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Origi, Shaqiri, Sturridge
This Fixture Last Season
Liverpool made the trip to Estadio do Drago in February 2018 expecting a tough examination, in what was their first Champions League knockout tie since 2009.
The Reds produced one of their most emphatic away European performances in history, however, on a special night for the travelling supporters.
After seeing off some early pressure Mane fired his team in front, with the aid of some questionable goalkeeping from Jose Sa.
Salah doubled the lead after reacting quickest from Milner’s post-struck shot, juggling the ball sublimely before tapping home.
Mane got his second from a rebound early in the second half, following a blistering counter-attack, and Firmino made it 4-0 from Milner’s cross.
It was left to Mane to put the icing on the cake late on, lashing home from distance to complete the rout and seal a memorable hat-trick.
Estadio do Dragao
Address: Via Futebol Clube do Porto, 4350-415 Porto, Portugal
Did You Know?
Liverpool have won their last seven games in all competitions since the frustrating goalless draw at Everton on March 3.
At least one of Salah, Mane and Firmino has scored in every one of those games, as the Reds’ front three come alive at just the right time.
Twelve of Liverpool’s 18 goals in that time have come from the trio, with Mane leading the way with six, Firmino bagging four and Salah getting the other two.
The other scorers have been Naby Keita (two), Virgil van Dijk (one), Henderson (one), Milner (one) and Toby Alderweireld, who scored that glorious late own goal for Tottenham at Anfield.
Porto – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-0 vs. Portimonense
Lost 2-0 vs. Liverpool
Won 2-0 vs. Boavista
Drew 1-1 vs. Braga
Won 3-2 vs. Braga
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-0 vs. Chelsea
Won 2-0 vs. Porto
Won 3-1 vs. Southampton
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. Fulham
TV & Live Blog Info
Porto vs. Liverpool is live on BT Sport 3 from 7.15pm (BST), with kickoff at Estadio do Dragao at 8pm.
Ben Twelves is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, bringing you pre-match content from 7.15pm and minute-by-minute updates during the game.