The Reds go looking for a second group-stage win in Portugal
Liverpool head to Portugal to face FC Porto in their second Champions League group stage fixture of the season. The Reds beat AC Milan last time out, while their hosts this evening held Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw, the first of no doubt several intriguing results in what will be a very tight group.
Jurgen Klopp’s side remain unbeaten in all competitions this term and are top of the Premier League, a point clear after six games – and face reigning champions Manchester City at the weekend. Before that, though, they’ll want to get the job done on the European scene and put themselves in a strong position in Group B, which means trying to take all three points at the Estadio do Dragao.
The Reds’ boss is unconcerned by his team’s defending despite conceding three to Brentford in an enthralling draw at the weekend, though noted an improvement was required on Tuesday night:
“It’s not that much of a concern because I don’t think you should make these things bigger than they are – but we have to show a reaction, that’s for sure. It’s really tricky to win a football game when you are not defending on your highest level and that’s what we didn’t do. We spoke about it and we know we cannot do it like that. I think we have sorted it but we have to show it tomorrow.”
Follow all the build-up and live action from Porto vs Liverpool in the Champions League below:
Liverpool and Barcelona primed for a taste of Portugal’s talent factory in Champions League
An associate of Jorge Mendes revealed that when England’s powerhouses or Spain’s big two would travel to Portugal for European commitments, the agent would joke, “here comes the bank”.
It wasn’t one of those “funny like a clown” lines, more befitting the “it’s funny ’cause it’s true” file. Eleven of the 25 most expensive exports from the Primeira Liga were directly transferred to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City.
That detail only scratches the surface of investment La Liga’s giants and the Premier League’s top six pour into the country’s football, with one talent spotter that surveys the region for City saying it feels “like there are more scouts than players in Portugal”.
Two of European football’s traditional powers will have front-row seats during Champions League action to some of the talent their scouts have been surveying
Klopp on Porto
Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, is not taking his previous wins against Porto for granted and expects a difficult match for his team tonight. Under Klopp Liverpool beat Porto 6-1 over two legs in the 2018/19 Champions League but Klopp believes Porto have changed. He said:
“Porto always change a little bit because they obviously have players going out and players coming in. Still the same manager. It’s not an advantage at all that we won the last two games there, absolutely not, because you only have to think of yourself in the position of the opponent – the first thing you want to do is make sure similar things will not happen again.
“So that makes the job not easier for us. But it’s not about that, we are not like that, we don’t think about the last two games we played there, we think about this game.”
Conceicao not looking to past results
Porto’s manager Sergio Conceição is well aware of Porto’s negative record against Liverpool which include two heavy home defeats under his command.
However, Conceicao is not keen to look at the past saying: “Only three players of our current squad faced Liverpool in 2019. It will be a different game and the outcome depends on our strategy and the way we are able to apply it.”
Porto vs Liverpool
Porto have never beaten Liverpool in competitive football. They sides have met six times with Liverpool winning four and the other two matches ending in draws.
The most recent matches have belonged to the Reds who thumped the Portuguese side 6-1 on aggregate in the 2018/19 Champions League quarter-finals.
Porto are no pushovers though. They drew 0-0 against La Liga champions Atletico Madrid in their first Champions League group game this season and reached the quarter-finals last season where they were knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea.
Porto vs Liverpool – Team news
Porto XI: Diogo Costa, Pepe, Marcano, Luis Diaz, Uribe, Taremi, Zaidu, Corona, Otavio, Sergio Oliveira, Toni Martinez
Liverpool XI: Alisson; Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Jota, Mane
Jurgen Klopp makes one change to the Liverpool team that drew 3-3 with Brentford at the weekend. Trent Alexander-Arnold has a sore groin and sits out the game with James Milner taking his place at right-back.
Porto vs Liverpool – Recent results
Liverpool have scored three goals in each of their last five matches across all competitions. They’ve won four of those five games with the fifth ending in a 3-3 draw against Brentford in the Premier League last time out.
On matchday one of their Champions League campaign the Reds faced off against AC Milan. A Fikayo Tomori own-goal gave them the lead at Anfield before two shock goals from Milan put the visitors in charge at the break. Mo Salah found the target just after half-time before Jordan Henderson blasted home a 69th minute winner.
Are we in for something similar tonight?
Porto vs Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliott are both sidelined with long-term injuries for Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp reported no new injury concerns and said he will be taking a full squad to Porto.
Jordan Henderson is in contention to make his 400th appearance for the club and would become only the 27th player to achieve that feat.
Porto vs Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to the Estadio do Dragao to face Porto this evening. Victory will give them a perfect start to their Champions League campaign and keep them at the top of Group B.
Official team news is expected shortly.
Porto vs Liverpool: Live Champions League action
Evening all and welcome to the Independent’s live coverage of FC Porto against Liverpool in the Champions League.
The Group B encounter sees both teams happy the starts they have made so far in Europe; the Reds saw off AC Milan while Porto held Atletico Madrid on the road to a 0-0 draw. While they exited early last year amid a host of injury issues, Liverpool are among the front-runners for many to succeed on the continental stage this term and their unbeaten start to the campaign domestically certainly attests to that.
Porto have made a similarly decent start, second in the Primeira Liga after seven games without defeat, and they’ll be optimistic of keeping that positive run going here after keeping out Diego Simeone’s men two weeks ago. However, the Reds have a great recent record against Porto – they knocked out their hosts tonight in the last 16 back in 17/18, en route to being runners-up, and then again in the quarter-finals a year later, going on to win the Champions League. By contrast, Porto have never beaten the Reds.