For the second season in a row, Liverpool will face FC Porto in the Champions League. Last season, they made easy work of it, but Virgil van Dijk doesn’t think that means it’ll be that simple this time around.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult anyway,” he told the official site, when asked whether last term’s result may make this tie trickier due to the added motivation it could provide to Porto.
“I think the game we played over there, we won 5-0, it was obviously a bit of a strange one. Nobody really expected that result, but obviously we deserved to go through in that round.
“It’s going to be tough again and they obviously don’t want the same as what happened last year. They’re in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and that’s not for no reason. They deserve to be where they are right now so it’s going to be unbelievably tough to beat them.”
While they have been dominating things in the Premier League, their Champions League form hasn’t been as impressive. They barely made it out of their group, and did just enough to eliminate Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.
Van Dijk realizes this, saying, “This year has been up and down in the Champions League, in our campaign, but now obviously it’s a knockout and you have to do it over two games.”
The first round sees Porto visiting Anfield on Tuesday. Last season Liverpool whomped them 5-0, and their home form has remained extremely impressive. Another blowout would be a big relief to Liverpool fans who have been dealing with a lot of heart attack-inducing performances recently. But any victory would be good enough, as a starting off point to take back with them when they travel for the second round.