Porto vs Liverpool
| Tuesday, September 28th |
Champions League | Estádio do Dragão
8PM BST / 3PM EST
For better or for worse, in the modern game there is little time to dwell on a bad result — or bask in the glow of a good one — and following their disappointing draw at Brentford on Saturday, Liverpool will be looking to bring all three points back with them from Portugal.
Porto has been a generous opponent to Jürgen Klopp over the past few years, with the Reds knocking the Dragões out of the competition in their runs to the final of both 2018 and 2019. This does not, of course, make them easy opposition, but for those who believe in omens, this trend isn’t a bad one.
Drawing at Atlético Madrid in the first round isn’t a bad start, although Porto only sit second in the Primeira Liga, behind a Benfica side that has won seven straight in the league, and a narrow win at Gil Vicente at the weekend won’t have bred too much confidence ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
With the exception of centre-half Chancel Mbemba, who misses out through suspension, Sérgio Conceição can call on a full squad, including Colombian speedster and top scorer Luis Díaz, and Iranain striker Mehdi Taremi.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson; Firmino; Mané, Jota, Salah
For the Reds, Harvey Elliott is the only long-term injury absence, with Naby Keïta back in training and Thiago expected to return after the international break. An unchanged back four could be on the cards, although Kostas Tsimikas getting a start over Andy Robertson may not be entirely out of the question, and Ibrahima Konaté or Joe Gomez could get in the side as Klopp continues to control Virgil van Dijk’s minutes.
The 4-2-3-1 could be an option, and the idea of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho sitting in a pivot as Roberto Firmino backs up Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah is a tasty one. If not, James Milner, Curtis Jones or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will replace one of the front four in a more traditional 4-3-3 set-up.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “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.”
Sérgio Conceição: “We have to be as competitive as Liverpool an opponent who, for me, is the best team in the world at some moments in the game – and I’m not exaggerating Liverpool’s value. It’s up to us to counter that opponent’s power and expose some of the opponent’s weaknesses, because they also exist..”
The Officials (RUS)
Referee: Sergei Karasev
Assistant referees: Igor Demeshko, Maksim Gavrilin
Fourth official: Vladimir Moskalev
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER), Vitali Meshkov
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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.