Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has spoken in length about our Champions League tie with FC Porto this evening.
His Reds take on the Portuguese giants away from home at 7:45, in what could be a season defining game.
If we lose badly, we could fall out of the competition and only have 11 Premier League matches remaining in which to secure top four – a travesty considering how talented Klopp’s team is.
But Liverpool are the favourites according to top betting sites of progressing, thanks to the wonderful attacking talent we have at our disposal.
Mo Salah (29 goals), Sadio Mane (9 goals) will flank Roberto Firmino (20 goals) up top!
Here’s what Klopp told the official website about the game:
On it being nine years since the club’s last Champions League knockout game:
“It’s a chance, but that was clear before. When we sit on the plane, we want to go to the next round. I think the lads have already done a lot of things that are special and new, but at such a heavyweight club like Liverpool it is normal that everybody will compare everything with the past, other legends and stuff like that. It’s normal. It’s just nice to be involved, nice to have the opportunity to go to the next round. I don’t think anybody thinks we are already there – Porto are a really strong side. This game needs everything from us. It’s still possible and that’s so cool. It’s a fantastic competition and we deserve to be in it. We chose the most difficult way with our qualification, but we are in it and it’s a cool moment again.”
On European experience helping the team’s development:
“They are important experiences for the team, but they are not the only things that are important. You cannot let your European experience grow and the rest is not important. As a team you grow with all games you play, difficult circumstances, strong opponents, showing good reactions after unlucky or deserved defeats – it all helps you grow. We just need to be open for it and not close our eyes if something doesn’t work in our favour; we need to stay open and learn from it. That’s what we’ve done so far and hopefully we can show that again. This is a tough opponent.”
While it’s Klopp’s forwards who are the most lauded, his defence and midfield will have to be equally on their game if we’re to leave Portugal with a positive result.
Loris Karius is expected to keep his spot between the sticks, while Joe Gomez should be fit enough to enable Trent Alexander-Arnold to come out of the side at right-back.
At left-back, it’s expected that Alberto Moreno will replace Andrew Robertson, despite the Scot’s excellent form. He’s barely put a foot wrong in recent weeks, but Klopp likes to rotate, especially when playing at the weekend as well as midweek.
£75m Virgil van Dijk is surely guaranteed a centre-back spot, but Dejan Lovren could come in alongside him after sitting out the Southampton win. This means Joel Matip will return to the bench.
With Emre Can suspended, Jordan Henderson should come in and captain the side in the holding midfield role.
Gini Wijnaldum will play just to his left, and with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struggling recently, James Milner is favourite to make up the other role.
If we’re right, Klopp’s team to face Porto will look like this: Karius; Gomez, Moreno, Van Dijk, Lovren; Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum; Mane, Salah, Firmino