Last season, Liverpool faced Porto in the Champions League knockout rounds and beat them 5-0 on aggregate. Which means that, for many, drawing them again was met with at least a little bit of celebrating.
That’s not how Jürgen Klopp and the players saw it, though, with Gini WIjnaldum in particular stepping up to warn that Porto could pose a very different—and much larger—threat this season than they did last year.
“This season it will be difficult and different to last,” Wijnaldum noted. “We will analyse them and see how we have to play against them. The first game we played against them last season was a really good game.
“The first goal we were a little bit lucky, but after that we had a lot of confidence and played a really good game. It was one of the best we played last season. It is going to be more difficult than last season because they know how we play.”
They know how Liverpool play from first hand experience, and they will also expect to have players available that they didn’t have last season, when injuries hit them hard just as they prepared to take on the Reds.
In goal, Iker Casillas will be expected to start. He missed the first leg last time around, when Liverpool scored all five of their goals. He played in the second game and it ended nil-nil with the Portuguese side putting in a far sturdier performance.
They will also have the imposing Moussa Marega leading the line, the Champion League’s in-form striker with six goals to show for seven appearances so far this season. Last year, he wasn’t an option for them.
“Every game is different,” Wijnaldum added. “For them and for us. Both teams have to adapt to the situation. We can be a threat for everyone—but everyone can be a threat for us.”