Liverpool vs. FC Porto
| Tuesday, March 6th|
Champions League | Anfield
19:45 GMT / 14:45 EST
After a small hiccup back in January — including a loss to now-resurgent Swansea and an FA Cup exit at the hands of relegation locks West Bromwich Albion — Liverpool have been in fine form, rattling off five wins in six, in all likelihood securing their place in both the Champions League quarter finals and the Premier League top four in the process.
Porto, on their end, have done their best to shake the battering they received in their own backyard courtesy of the Anfield outfit, and have won four straight with a 15-3 goal difference. Tiquinho Soares and Moussa Marega have been in rich form, scoring five and four goals, respectively, as the Dragões have tightened their grip on first place.
Unfortunately for Porto, the former picked up a thigh strain in the club’s clash with Portimonense last weekend, while left-back Alex Telles limped off the pitch with a knee injury the week before, and the two starters join Danilo Pereira on the treatment table. Top scorer Vincent Aboubacar has made his return, however, providing some much needed firepower for a Porto side looking to overturn a 5-0 deficit from the home leg.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Milner, Lallana; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Despite Jürgen Klopp’s assurances that the tie is not won and that he will put out a strong side, it is expected that the German will at the very least rotate his squad heavily ahead of the trip to Old Trafford on Saturday. While stability at centre-half may be favoured, maintaining energy at the fullback positions should be prioritised, and with Joe Gomez’s defensive capacities superior to Trent Alexander-Arnold, it makes sense for the former Charlton man to sit the midweek game out. Nathaniel Clyne could be in line for a return to the pitch.
There are options in midfield, and managing captain Jordan Henderson’s fitness is paramount, as is the energy and endeavour of Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. As such, Klopp may look to Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner to carry the burden in midweek, assisted by Adam Lallana looking to start only his third match of the season.
Up top, the tremendous three have started every single game since January 5th, and there is no indication that trend is going to turn anytime soon. With 68 goals between them on the season, one would back the threatening trio to up their tally should Porto come out aggressively in an attempt to overcome their five-goal deficit.
The Officials (GER)
Referee: Felix Zwayer
Assistants: Thorsten Schiffner, Marco Achmüller
Fourth official: Rafael Foltyn
Additional assistants: Daniel Siebert, Sascha Stegemann
Kickoff is set for 19:45 GMT/ 14:45 EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.