Premier League top-four contenders Liverpool return to Champions League action this week in Portugal where they will be attempting to take an important step towards the quarter-finals against Porto.
Portuguese heavyweights Porto are set to welcome Liverpool on the back of a three-match winning run but will still have to deal with a great number of injuries that could very much influence the game against Liverpool.
Porto finished the group stage of this season’s edition of the Champions League as runners-up in Group G behind Besiktas and above RB Leipzig and AS Monaco. The 2004 Champions League winners will not keep their hopes too high against the free-scoring Liverpool but will be determined to put in a great show and try to earn a respectable result ahead of the return match in Liverpool. Porto played four times against Liverpool this far but failed to register a single win – with two defeats and two draws. Porto’s overall record against English sides is not something to be proud of in all honesty with Portuguese losing 16 of 33 games vs English teams.
Felipe is serving his red-card suspension, whereas Porto’s top Champions League scorer Vincent Aboubakar has picked up a knock and could be forced to sit through the game. What is more, there is a big doubt over the availability of Andre, Ezeh, Fabiano, Marcano and Pereira.
Salah the Unstoppable
Liverpool’s season thus far has been exciting – to the very least – bringing plenty of drama and joy for the Reds supporters. Jurgen Klopp’s heavy-metal football has earned plenty of plaudits but also brought about criticism for German’s apparent inaptitude to deal with his team’s defensive frailties.
The arrival of Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton did solve a great deal of the issues at back, however, and Reds did manage to keep a clean sheet in two of their last three appearances. The 2-0 win at Southampton last weekend will have been a positive kick to the team’s morale ahead of the trip to Porto against which Liverpool have yet to lose in four encounters. The Reds will be keen to continue their fine form from the group stage during which they scored 23 to sit atop of Group E, but will be vary of their collapses against Sevilla. Luckily, they will have the in-form Egyptian Mohamed Salah at their disposal, who scored in all of his last four matches for Liverpool to take his tally to 22 Premier League goals in 26 games.
Adam Bogdan and Nathaniel Clyne remain long-term absentees for the English side, whereas Emre Can, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez are also unavailable due to their respective injuries.
Liverpool boast a positive record against Porto and travel to their first leg in Portugal buoyed by the flying form to their key players. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are once again expected to be on top of their game and Portuguese giants face a proper challenge trying to stifle them.
Top pick: Liverpool 2.38 (11/8) @BetFred
Alternative pick 1: Mo Salah to Score Anytime 2.63 (13/8) @PaddyPower
Alternative pick 2: Mo Salah to Score & Liverpool to Win 3.50 (5/2) @SkyBet